October 31st… Pumpkin carving day! 

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With imaginative (and sometimes horrifying) creations popping up everywhere, I can honestly say that I have been the most inspired by Scott Richard and his pumpkin sculpture masterpieces! No, he hasn’t decorated our clinic with his pumpkins (although I wish he had), however they’re all over his twitter  and Facebook for everyone to admire.

The kids in his neighborhood must love his ‘crazy carved face filled’ door step. We loved his stuff also, and so we got in touch with him about displaying his work here in our clinic. Happily he was interested in the idea and willing to help us put some color to our walls.

Scott is a self-taught Toronto based sculptor/painter, originally born in Peterborough and raised in British Columbia. He’s been a sculptor of various genres for the past 8 years, with his choice of medium being polymer clay, castilene and wax. His specialties include imaginative creations of the fantasy genre, and pet busts! That’s right… Scott can sculpt the likeness of your pet down to the single hair. Recently he’s also begun painting with acrylics on canvas. He may seem quiet on the outside, but his inspiration is boundless it seems.

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Last month Scott stopped by the clinic for the grand opening of our NeuroChangers gym and posed for a pic by one of his landscape paintings. Thanks again Scott for allowing us to admire your art each day! Your pieces have helped create a welcoming and cheerful environment for all our clients!

Happy Halloween!

Michelle Wolfe, RMT

Access TO

Recently I had a conversation with a client about an exciting new restaurant. This lively, classy restaurant/bar offered delicious and healthy food with an outgoing, interesting atmosphere. As I continued to rant and rave about this impressive find, I advised my client who uses a wheelchair to check this place out. Unfortunately, after making the suggestion, I remembered the 30 step hike up-stairs I took to get into this restaurant, and I couldn’t recall an elevator. I rationalised that this restaurant must have an elevator in order to have access for those who need it.

ImageThis sparked a sad and frustrating topic of conversation. My client had experienced this dilemma on many occasions and began to enlighten me about his personal restaurant horror stories. Generally when planning to experience a new restaurant, he would call ahead to be sure of the accessibility; however, not everyone in the service industry is aware of the specific needs of those in a wheelchair. He has experienced many makeshift ramps, one which he chose not to use due to the incredibly dangerous angle. Many places are very crowded which makes one uncomfortable and self-conscience about “constantly being in the way.” Another client had experienced an entire evening in a pub feeling anxious and stressed over the lack of wheelchair accessibility in the bathroom. Sadly the night ended in embarrassment and a wet lap for this client.

Since hearing these stories I have become more observant for wheelchair accessibility in restaurants. It’s disheartening to notice many places that my clients are not able to have a comfortable or enjoyable experience due to wheelchair inaccessibility!  In this day and age, every public venue should have accessibility to washrooms that accommodate everyone.  It’s 2013 people, every restaurant should have safe and reliable accessibility, it’s called basic human rights!

I’ve researched a blog called Access TO which focuses on wheelchair accessible places in the GTA. Each entry reviews restaurants or cafes that have been thoroughly investigated on its accessibility for those with less mobility and using wheelchairs. Generally each blog post has the name and address of the place and detailed explanation of the accessibility, including measurements of doorways and bathroom stalls, parking and many other important details. The writer has even included attached reviews of the restaurant so one can do further investigation online prior to venturing to the restaurant. This website offers a trustworthy option for discovering exciting, delicious restaurants that are also accommodating for all.

Restaurant owners and workers should consider the challenge it can be for those in wheelchairs to use their venues comfortably and with confidence and make changes if necessary to promote this. Clearly more emphasis, acknowledgement and advocacy are needed to make all public areas more accessible for everyone to enjoy!

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Michelle Wolfe, RMT

How to create a homey clinical environment.

Aim2Walk opened nearly 3 years ago this January. With just 3 passionate, hard working and knowledgeable therapists on the floor, the goal was to make the impossible possible. They had a dream to create the perfect environment for clients to achieve there personal goals.

The clinic was open concept. There were pictures of birthdays, events and achievements hung for everyone to see. Anyone who came to the clinic felt that the atmosphere in that comfortable 4000 sq ft space was contagious and inspirational. Over the past few years, there have been many changes, including an expansion which has grown the clinic into a 10,000 sq ft space!

It was very important to us to make sure this new, larger space, felt just as comfortable and homey as the original smaller space. Faced with 22 foot ceilings and a gymnasium worth of empty wall space to fill, we soon realized we had a serious ‘decorative’ task ahead of us.

What better way to tackle this challenge then with real art! We took on the task of approaching local artist and asking if they’d be willing to hang their work in the clinic. We were happy to discover that there were no shortage of artists willing to jump on board! Once all of the art was up, we felt like we had done a pretty good job. Our efforts were confirmed when a client told me “Wow, it feels so homey.” You can only imagine how happy we all were to hear this.

Each artist is very unique, and I’ll gradually be sharing their stories and their art through future blog posts. I’d like to start off with an artist named Matt Kowalski. I personally claimed these pictures as “mine” because they’re hung down the hall to my massage room.

Matt creates his pieces in his home-studio here in Toronto. His artistic ideas and creations are self taught through experimentation and self learning. He has a passion to photograph things that inspire him, like water, trees, bicycles, surfing, and the unexpected or out of place. Matt works with different mediums but his favorite process (which happens to be my favorite) involves polaroid transfers.

By manipulating composition, alignment, focus and depth of field, he strives to create a slightly disjointed, yet familiar and nostalgic interpretation of reality. If you’re interested in seeing his work up close and personal (which you should be), feel free to come into the clinic and sneak a peak. If you see something you like, just tell us, all of the work is for sale. More information can also be found at www.mattkowalski.ca or email mjkowalski@gmail.com.

Thanks for helping us make good use of all this extra space Matt. Your work helps make the clinic a better, more cozy place!

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ImageMichelle Wolfe, RMT