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December 3, 2008
Toronto celebrates International Day of People with Disabilities 2008
Mayor David Miller proclaimed International Day of People with Disabilities today at Villa Colombo. The event is Toronto’s way of marking the day that the United Nations designates worldwide annually on this date. The United Nations’ 2008 theme is “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Dignity and justice for all of us."

“We come together to renew Toronto’s commitment to the goal of becoming a barrier-free city,” said Mayor David Miller. “The City needs your experiences and insights to realize our vision of an inclusive city.”

A focal point of the annual event is to celebrate achievements by “unsung heroes.” Councillor Adrian Heaps (Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest), who is Chair of the City’s Disabilities Issues Committee, and presented scrolls to the “unsung heroes” said, “I’m tremendously honoured to be able to recognize these outstanding individuals for their achievements and contributions.” The eight individuals honoured were Crystal Chin, Frank Nyitray, Donna Jodhan, Mazin Aribi, Mary Lynn Higgins, Tony King, Kelly MacDonald and Bill Shackleton.

Councillor Adam Giambrone (Ward 18 Davenport) spoke to an audience of approximately 250 participants about the Toronto Transit Commission’s current and future plans for improving accessibility.

The Master of Ceremonies of today’s event was Danny McCoy, the founder of the Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario and a Paralympian in Sydney 2000.

An open forum gave participants an opportunity to discuss how the Toronto Government can further enhance access to services. The event also provided information about community and City services and programs that support accessibility.

The City of Toronto acknowledged the organizational supporters of this year’s event: Anne Johnston Health Station, Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre, CNIB, the Centre for Independent Living Toronto (CILT), Epilepsy Toronto, Friendly Spike Theatre Band and Possibilities - Online Employment Resource Centre.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Councillor Adrian Heaps, Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest, Chair of the Disability Issues Committee, 416-392- 0213,
Randy Firth, Vision Health Promotion Specialist, CNIB, 416-518-6643,



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