Mobilize March -- Travel Blog

Day 45 — I said “Toronto Maple Leafs” in Ottawa and lived to tell the tale

It was back to business as usual here in Ottawa today. Once again, I was back on the road, back in the rain, traveling from the Rideau Centre to City Hall with local disability advocates. Because of the rain, our group was pretty small again, but we made it safe and sound with lots of honks from supporters along the way.

Upon arriving at City Hall, we were greeted by the media and several other advocates who didn’t want to brave the rain with us (I absolutely don’t blame them!). It was great to see everyone out and I actually ran into an old friend who is apparently going to Carleton now and has gotten into disability advocacy here. I’m really proud of the work he’s doing over at Carleton–I knew that kid was destine for big things!

The meeting got started and unfortunately the disability-portion of the meeting didn’t come until the end. This meant sitting through a very slow, albeit interesting, discussion on the future governing structure of OC Transpo. These preliminary agenda items took up so much time there was only about 20 minutes for public inquiry on Paratranspo at the end of the meeting, meaning that may of the speakers were asked to hold their comments until the next meeting in July. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to talk to the Transportation Committee and express my concerns with the current accessible transportation system in Ottawa. I feel things went pretty good–I even got it on record that I’m a Toronto Maple Leafs fan…in Ottawa!


Today was a very productive day and I’ve made even more new friends. It was great to see members of the Ottawa disability community come together to voice their concerns and demand change–together, we are stronger.

Tomorrow we have a pretty light morning, leading up to our final meeting of the trip with MP Steven Fletcher. I’m a little nervous about this meeting as it will be my first time to Parliament Hill, but at the same time I’m unbelievably excited–it’s going to be a blast! It will be really interesting to hear what the Conservative Government is doing right now about accessible transportation in this country and hopefully I can use my meeting with Minister Fletcher as a stepping stone to future conversations with the Federal government about increased funding and support for the disabled population.

Man. I can’t believe tomorrow is our second last day. Time has FLOWN!

– Jeff

By Jeffrey Preston

Born with a rare neuromuscular myopathy, Jeff has spent his life dedicated to advocating for himself and others with disabilities. With a PhD in Media Studies from Western University, Jeff's research focuses on the representation of disability in popular and digital culture. Jeff is currently an Assistant Professor of Disability Studies at King's University College @ Western University in London, ON.