AGM Update – Information about the Venue

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Dear Members, Volunteers and friends of the DSAO;

It has come to our attention that there are some concerns regarding the choice of venue for the Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario’s (“DSAO”) Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (the “RCYC”) City Clubhouse, on November 17th, 2018.  We hope to address these concerns and create a dialog with our members to answer any remaining questions or concerns.   As always, we encourage you to reach out to us with any questions you may have regarding the DSAO and its activities at: [email protected]
The RCYC City Clubhouse at 141 St. George St.(“Clubhouse”), was built in 1984, a time preceding the Ontarians with Disability Act of 2001.   Despite this, the Clubhouse was one of the first public buildings in the City of Toronto to have a stand alone, barrier free washroom incorporated in its design.  The main entrance to the Clubhouse is on St. George and features a two-tiered stairway consisting of 14 steps all together.  The stairway was recently redone in black granite from its original sandstone with the work being completed in the fall of 2016.  At the time of the renovation the RCYC looked at adding a ramp to increase accessibility but were denied a permit to build it because it took too much sidewalk space.   The other three entrances to the Clubhouse are on Prince Arthur Ave. and include a member’s entrance, the side entrance and the underground garage.  The member entrance has four steps down to access the door whereas the side entrance and underground garage have an accessibility ramp.  All entrances provide access to a newly built elevator (2016) which services each floor and the garage.  In addition, the Clubhouse has just completed a renovation where a second barrier free washroom was added (2018) on the third floor.
The event will be hosted in the main floor dining room (Bistro 1852) as well as the model room and the bar (The Crown & Beaver). To access these facilities, those with mobility aids such as walkers, wheelchairs or scooters will need to enter via the side entrance and proceed up the elevator.   There will be a small reception starting at noon that will go until the meeting is called to order at 1 PM, this will allow for members to gradually enter Bistro 1852 and avoid a bottleneck at the elevator.  Members who are waiting for the elevator will be waiting in the member’s reception area and aided by volunteers at all times. We also anticipate that members will be leaving at different times.

There are many advantages to hosting our AGM at RCYC:

  • Individual, barrier free washrooms with automatic door openers at two locations in the club house
  • Enough space to fit all members, we are anticipating a large group to attend, especially for the social event
  • Easy access to the TTC – via St. George Subway Station. We have contacted the TTC had have received assurances that both lines 1&2 will be in service on the day of the AGM
  • Easy parking options – Street Parking is available on Prince Arthur and there is a large parking lot under the OISE Building immediately to the East of RCYC or on Bedford Ave.
  • Easy wheel trans drop off on Prince Arthur Ave.
Other locations contacted were National Yacht Club which was already booked for an event on November 17th and we couldn’t change to November 18th due to the Santa Claus Parade. We also looked at a couple of Condo party spaces like the AGM was hosted in last year.  These are often small and have strong restrictions on the number of people allowed in the room at any one time; we could not find one that could hold the numbers we are looking to achieve. Our last alternative would be to host it at a paid venue like a restaurant, hotel or conference centre but these options are expensive.

We also recognise that traditionally the DSAO AGM has been poorly attended by the membership; to combat that we have arranged for a reception after the meeting in the model room.   This will feature live music and provide an opportunity to meet and socialise with your fellow members as well as members of the RCYC.

Additional Questions: 

  1. How will I get there:  The RCYC Clubhouse is located at the corner of St. George St. and Prince Arthur Avenue, one block North of Bloor, two blocks West of Avenue Rd. and is right next door to the St. George Subway Station which is services by the Bloor/Danforth Line and the Yonge/University Line.  There is lot parking to the East and West of the building as well as plenty of Street parking.
  2. I use a mobility device how do I access the Clubhouse:  You would enter on Prince Arthur, there is an accessibility ramp on the right has side of the parking garage entrance, just left of the member’s entrance.  From here a volunteer will show you to the elevator and provide you any assistance you need in getting to Bistro 1852.
  3. Will I have to wait for an elevator and if so where will I wait: Feel free to arrive anytime between noon and one o’clock, this will alleviate any bottlenecks so there should be no problem in getting the elevator.  If the elevator is servicing someone else you will wait in the member’s reception area inside the club.
  4. Is there a charge for the party: No, there is no charge for the party.  Light food and non-alcoholic refreshments will be provided.  Any additional food or beverages will be purchased inividually by members.
  5. Does the Clubhouse meet the standards set out in the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005):  Yes, this was a large driver in our decision to host the AGM at the RCYC.  The RCYC had been at the forefront of accessibility design and with the recent renovation, the RCYC exceeds the standards in the Act.  In addition, we are using volunteers to provide additional support for our members.
  6. Given that there is one elevator what will happen in the event the building needs to be evacuated: This concern was tabled when we were selecting venues.  On the one hand, the RCYC offers incredible accessibility into the club for all but what happens when you have to evacuate quickly?  This is a problem that plagues every venue, particularly those that play host to groups using mobility devices.  We talked to a number of people on how to manage this and mitigate any risk and the answer they’ve all come back with is “crisis planning”.    To that part, we’ve been working with the RCYC and Toronto Fire Services to formulate best practices in a crisis situation and we are lucky to be in the service area of the same teams who would service the University Health Network.   These responders are well versed in handling emergency situations involving large groups of mobility challenged individuals.  In addition we, along with the RCYC are investigating the feasibility of installing temporary emergency ramps.  That said, we have talked with the people who have built the clubhouse and are assured there was no wood used in the construction of the facility.
  7. What is the dress code:   The dress code is “smart casual” which means you should be good if your shirt has a collar (men) and your pants don’t have holes in them (including jeans).
  8. Do I have to attend the meeting: No, you don’t have to if meetings are not your thing but this is your club, our club, and as such you might want to see and hear what is happening going forward.   That said, if you want to skip the meeting and just join us for the party that’s not problem.  We’d just ask that you let us know ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for you to join us.  Please email us at:[email protected]
We once again want to thank you for a great season and look forward to seeing you on Saturday November 17th