Toronto Day 65 - 68 

Toronto was a blast and I enjoyed every minute I was there. I definitely felt a bit of culture shock and it wasn't until our 3rd day there that I really started to feel comfortable. The first thing I noticed was the people seemed to be blind to everything around them and never seemed to look you in the eye. I was smiling and waving to everyone I saw but didn't get my first smile back until I held the door open for a whole family the next day. This was a lot different from where we had come. But to be fair, we had already seen more people by the first evening in Toronto than we had in all of Ontario up until that point. A few days later I'd come to understand that you need to be a bit blind to Toronto. It's too busy to keep track of everything and everyone. You can become numb to it all on some level and begin to feel safe when you're surrounded by it all. 

We did a lot, saw a lot and ate a lot in Toronto but what I really want to talk about is our visits to the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario head office and the Learning Disabilities Association of Toronto District. 

At head office they showed us their main project, three websites they've been working on and adding to for the past 4 or 5 years. 

They have two main programs, LD@home and LD@school, with a french version for their at school program, TA@l'école. 

All three sites provide a huge collection of online resources for parents and teachers. This is an amazing project both in it's wealth of information and it's accessibility. All of the information found on these sites is free to use and share. They also host free webinars and post them for later use. It's quite the groundbreaking project and if you ever wanted to learn more about LD's as well as strategies for both students and teachers, you should check them out. Because LDAO has made this resource free for public use, their reach has gone worldwide. In regions where education and studies on LD's receives less funding, LD@home and LD@school is a valuable resource. Lawrence, the president and CEO at LDAO also mentioned that they have a large number of users in France, Quebec and other francophone parts of the world because this project is one of the first of it's kind. The people we spoke with at LDAO are dedicated to helping increase the public knowledge around LD's and are making strides in providing supports for students, parents and teachers affected all over the world. Truly amazing and inspiring work. Please go check them out, learn something new and share it with someone you think may benefit. 

We also visited a kids camp on the other side of town. They had 4 kids in that day and they were all very excited to meet with us. We talked about all the animals we saw, all the animals we'd see if we biked to the north pole, all of our favorite foods, downhills on bikes, in cars, on scooters, loud music, lions, tigers and bears. Oh my! It was a busy conversation but the most engaging one we'd had in Toronto thus far. 

These kids were bouncing off the walls and seemed to be overflowing with knowledge and experiences they wanted to share with us. These behaviors could be misinterpreted as disrespectful, an unwillingness to learn, or disruptive. In the time we spent with them it became clear that these kids were just excited to react, interact, ask questions and make their own conclusions. All valuable components to learning any subject. We said goodbye and showed the kids the bikes on the way out. 

On the way home I got a flat but we used the transit system enough that we were able to hop on a bus and head to the nearest bike shop. Got everything fixed and were still ahead of schedule. 

We spent the last night in Toronto with an old friend. He showed us his favorite spots to eat, watch dogs in the park and take photos of downtown Toronto. We got home and got ready to head out in the morning.

Until next time, 


Bob Essex