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

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.

DavidWeisz