Tips & Advice

Handicap parking: Accessible parking at Toronto parks & rec centres

Zolo analyzed more than 300 public parking lots operated by the City of Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation division — less than 5% of parking spaces at these facilities were designated for those with disabilities
Handicap parking. Disability parking spaces permits

Toronto is an amazingly fun place to live and with more than 1,400 parks and close to 900 recreational facilities for the public to enjoy it’s an awesome city to live, work and play — provided you can find a place to park.

Zolo analyzed more than 300 public parking lots operated by the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation division. The analysis found that less than 5% of parking spaces at these recreational facilities were designated or reserved for those with disabilities. 

This is a problem. According to Statistics Canada roughly 15% of Ontarians aged 15 or older identify as having some form of disability — slightly higher than the 13% of the nation’s population that identifies as having a disability. To put this in perspective, that means 1 in 7 Canadians report a disability. According to StatsCan, about a quarter of the disabilities relate to pain, flexibility or mobility. Next time you’re at a red light, count the cars. If there’s more than six, chances are one of the drivers identifies as having a disability.

Since Toronto is Ontario’s largest city, it’s reasonable to expect a proportionate amount of its residents live with physical disabilities. Some back-of-the-napkin math puts the estimates that at least 115,000 Toronto residents — or roughly 4% of the city’s population — must negotiate life and parking while dealing with accessibility issues.  

Now, compare this to the number of designated disabled parking spots in Parks & Rec facilities and everything seems in order, right? Not quite. From our analysis, we found that some lots have no accessible parking at all; of those that do offer designated disabled parking, half of the city-owned parking lots offer less than 4% — falling well below the demographic need. 

Turns out only three recreational facilities had parking space parity: Barbara Frum Community Centre, Stanley Park and Harrison Pool. But even those numbers can be deceiving. For example, Harrison Pool has just two parking spots — 1 regular, 1 designated for the disabled — but it qualifies as having a high-ratio of disabled parking spots. 

The facility with the highest number of accessible spots is High Park, with 31 accessible parking spaces. But when you compare this to the 551 public parking spots available in the park (and spread out across 19 lots) those 31 spots seems a bit meagre. Still, we give the park and its facilities top marks for making 5.63% of their total parking spots designated for the disabled — an above average ratio for the city.

Velanie George, the program coordinator for the StopGap Foundation, says these designated spots are especially needed for people with mobility issues.

“A lot of people who request accessibility parking might have a vehicle that’s standardized to accommodate things like wheelchairs or mobility devices.” As a result, these vehicles, and their drivers, often need larger space.  As well as being larger, these vehicles often have deployable ramps that require space in front for wheelchair access.

“It can be quite an inconvenience if there’s not enough space,” says George.

Park NameParking SpacesAccessible Parking SpacesTotal Parking SpacesAccessible Spaces (by %)
Van Horne Park892912.20%
Woodbine Park711167272.20%
The Elms Pool And Community School - Building Grounds441452.22%
Westway Park431442.27%
Sunnydale Acres Park431442.27%
Bluffer's Park727177442.28%
L'amoreaux Sports Complex510125222.30%
Scarlett Woods Golf Course852872.30%
Fergy Brown Park842862.33%
Eglinton Park12531282.34%
Lambton Park822842.38%
Runnymede Park15441582.53%
Scarborough Heights Park381392.56%
Oriole Park - North York11131142.63%
East Toronto Athletic Field11131142.63%
Humber Bay Park West358103682.72%
Neilson Park - Scarborough17651812.76%
Edgeley Park702722.78%
Prairie Drive Park351362.78%
Cummer Park13941432.80%
Marie Curtis Park17251772.82%
East York Curling Club - Building Grounds682702.86%
Goulding Park10131042.88%
Kipling Yard672692.90%
Irving Paisley Park672692.90%
Agincourt Park30093092.91%
Ourland Park331342.94%
Maryvale Park331342.94%
Banbury Park9831012.97%
Pelmo Park652672.99%
Etienne Brule Park9731003.00%
Oakridge Community Recreation Centre - Building Grounds642663.03%
Park Lawn Park321333.03%
Lawrence Park And Ravine321333.03%
Birkdale Ravine321333.03%
Colonel Samuel Smith Park632653.08%
Bayview Arena Park632653.08%
Humber Sheppard Park933963.13%
Mcdairmid Woods Park311323.13%
Sunnybrook Park866288943.13%
Scarlett Mills Park24582533.16%
Lakeshore Boulevard Parklands12041243.23%
Masseygrove Park903933.23%
West Deane Park602623.23%
Viewmount Park301313.23%
Esther Lorrie Park301313.23%
Dennis Flynn Park301313.23%
L'amoreaux North Park17161773.39%
Cedar Brook Park572593.39%
Neilson Park - Etobicoke843873.45%
Trinity Bellwoods Park281293.45%
Downsview Park And Lawn Bowling Greens11041143.51%
Bond Park16261683.57%
Wexford Park271283.57%
Amos Waites Park271283.57%
Morningside Park269102793.58%
Habitant Park803833.61%
East York Community Centre - Building Grounds532553.64%
Budapest Park18471913.66%
East Point Park262102723.68%
Leaside Memorial Community Gardens - Building Grounds15761633.68%
Byng Park10441083.70%
Cosburn Park522543.70%
Humber Valley Park261273.70%
Summerlea Park10041043.85%
Iroquois Park251263.85%
Rosebank Park14961553.87%
Jenner Jean-marie Community Centre - Building Grounds492513.92%
Armour Heights Community Centre - Building Grounds482504.00%
Cherry Beach Clarke Beach Park18681944.12%
Ellesmere Park934974.12%
Caledonia Park934974.12%
Cherry Beach Sports Fields11651214.13%
Todmorden Mills Park924964.17%
King's Mill Park924964.17%
East Don Parkland452474.26%
Adams Park13461404.29%
Taylor Creek Park17881864.30%
Northwood Park894934.30%
Angela James Arena - Building Grounds663694.35%
Fairbank Memorial Park643674.48%
Dieppe Park643674.48%
Victoria Village Arena - Building Grounds19091994.52%
Rennie Park422444.55%
Cassandra Park211224.55%
Scarborough Village Recreation Centre - Building Grounds207102174.61%
Cedar Ridge Park412434.65%
Baycrest Park814854.71%
Earl Bales Park384194034.71%
Jack Goodlad Park804844.76%
Fenside Park603634.76%
Norseman Community School And Pool - Building Grounds402424.76%
Botany Hill Park201214.76%
Annette Community Recreation Centre - Building Grounds201214.76%
Mcgregor Park192102024.95%
Falstaff Park382405.00%
Ledbury Park191205.00%
Heron Park186101965.10%
Goldhawk Park13071375.11%
Amesbury Park216122285.26%
Colonel Danforth Park11871255.60%
Highview Park10161075.61%
High Park520315515.63%
Mitchell Field Park654695.80%
North Kipling Park805855.88%
Skymark Park483515.88%
Seneca Village Park161175.88%
Sir Adam Beck Park473506.00%
Lawrence Heights Community Centre - Building Ground624666.06%
Antibes Community Centre - Building Grounds453486.25%
Highland Creek Community Park302326.25%
Flagstaff Park302326.25%
Stephen Leacock Park10471116.31%
Elm Park - North York11881266.35%
Smythe Park876936.45%
Glen Long Park574616.56%
Port Union Community Recreation Centre - Building Grounds11281206.67%
Don Russell Memorial Park564606.67%
Knob Hill Park282306.67%
Hendon Park282306.67%
Whitfield Parkette141156.67%
Moss Park141156.67%
Thistletown Multi Service Centre - Building Grounds695746.76%
Gord And Irene Risk Park12491336.77%
Ron Watson Park403436.98%
Galloway Park262287.14%
Northwood Community Centre - Building Grounds766827.32%
Mccormick Park252277.41%
Fountainhead Park252277.41%
Franklin Horner Community Centre - Building Grounds726787.69%
Riverlea Park363397.69%
Berner Trail Park121137.69%
Albion Arena - Building Grounds118101287.81%
Bellbury Park232258.00%
Oakdale Park343378.11%
Warden Hilltop Community Centre - Building Grounds222248.33%
Birkdale Community Centre - Building Grounds818898.99%
Roding Park404449.09%
West Acres Senior Centre - Building Grounds202229.09%
Seven Oaks Park202229.09%
Grandravine Park788869.30%
Tallpines Park192219.52%
Horner Avenue Seniors' Centre - Building Grounds192219.52%
Broadlands Park3253713.51%
Parma Park1221414.29%
Ancaster Park1221414.29%
Rosetta Mcclain Gardens3163716.22%
Islington Pioneer Cemetery921118.18%
Stan Wadlow Park3384119.51%
Allan Gardens62825.00%
Stanley Park 33650.00%
Barbara Frum Community Centre - Building Grounds33650.00%
Harrison Pool - Building Grounds11250.00%
Don Valley Golf Course660.00%
Christie Pits Park660.00%
Booth Yard660.00%
Humbertown Park880.00%
James Gardens990.00%
Rotary Peace Park10100.00%
Moatfield Farm Park10100.00%
Glen Agar Park10100.00%
Irving W. Chapley Park15150.00%
Hinder Area21210.00%
Trethewey Park East23230.00%
Rockford Park25250.00%
Royal Crest Park26260.00%
Ramsden Park27270.00%
Bayview Village Park29290.00%
Northline Parks Yard - Building Grounds30300.00%
Moccasin Trail Park30300.00%
Gihon Spring Park30300.00%
Prince Of Wales Park31310.00%
Silver Creek Park32320.00%
Wanita Park33330.00%
New Toronto Seniors' Centre - Building Grounds33330.00%
Warden Woods Park35350.00%
Willowdale Park38380.00%
Smithfield Park40400.00%
Rivercrest Public School - Building Grounds40400.00%
Leaside Park45450.00%
Ravina Gardens48480.00%
L'amoreaux Hydro68680.00%
Main Sewage Treatment Playground69690.00%
Humber Bay Park East85850.00%
Mccowan District Park94940.00%
West Humber Parkland1101100.00%
Wedgewood Park - Etobicoke150150.00%
Raymore Park180180.00%
East Mall Park230230.00%
Valleyfield Park300300.00%
Etobicoke Valley Park300300.00%
Cloverdale Park330330.00%
Queensway Park500500.00%
Weston Lions Park11201120.00%
Sir Casimir Gzowski Park51535180.58%
Allan A. Lamport Stadium Park36033630.83%
G. Ross Lord Park42344270.94%
E.T. Seton Park73477410.94%
Tam Heather Country Club Grounds37443781.06%
Wishing Well Park921931.08%
Herbert H. Carnegie Centennial Centre - Building Grounds36643701.08%
Confederation Park888108981.11%
Coronation Park - York17721791.12%
Birchmount Park40354081.23%
Eglinton Flats31543191.25%
Ashbridges Bay Park23032331.29%
Malvern Park27642801.43%
Humberwood Park13821401.43%
Sherwood Park681691.45%
Rowntree Mills Park25642601.54%
Keelesdale South Park19231951.54%
Centennial Park - Etobicoke17232817511.60%
Tom Riley Park30653111.61%
Milliken District Park41774241.65%
Tam O'shanter Golf Course17531781.69%
Derrydowns Park581591.69%
Trace Manes Park571581.72%
Flemingdon Park16631691.78%
Canadian Ukrainian Memorial Park551561.79%
Pine Point Park21542191.83%
Edwards Gardens42884361.83%
Charles Sauriol Conservation Area531541.85%
Birch Park531541.85%
Downsview Dells Park21042141.87%
West Rouge Park15731601.88%
Woodbine Beach Park31063161.90%
Edithvale Park9921011.98%
Thomson Memorial Park492105021.99%
Cedarvale Park932952.11%
Memorial Park - North York912932.15%
Major Abbas Ali Park902922.17%
Blantyre Park902922.17%
Commander Park17941832.19%

About this data:

Origin:

This data accessed was from the City of Toronto’s Open Data Catalogue, and was last updated  in September 2016.

Caveats:

  • Only parking lots designated “Public” were used
  • Records that were missing some or all relevant data were omitted
  • “Handicap” columns with blank values are assumed to be zero;  a Toronto open data representative has been contacted for clarification, and we will update this story if necessary.

David Weisz
David Weisz

Toronto-based David Weisz specializes in data-driven journalism. Prior to joining Zolo, he worked at the Toronto Star, Queen's Park Briefing and Global News. He teaches data journalism at Humber College and the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs' Fellowship in Global Journalism.

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