A Flash Of Adventures On Carden Street

Yesterday, I had an interesting adventure, so I thought I’d share.

Back a bit ago, Steve mentioned the Flash of Cash on Carden Street 2.0. I was pretty happy that there would be another one, because I’d missed the first one. So I planned to be on Carden Street at noon, and be part of this. I’d never been part of one of these flash mob thingies.

I started to get worried about the flashiness of this flash when I wasn’t seeing any tweets about it in the morning. No “hey guys, anyone need a drive downtown?” No “Hey let’s meet at the corner of Carden and Wilson.” But I thought maybe the people I was following just weren’t coming. I wasn’t overly worried.

So, at noon, I wandered up to the corner of Carden and Wilson and stood there looking rather confused. Hello? Is anyone there? I was then approached by an official-sounding man. I think he was police or security or something. He nicely asked if he could assist me in any way. I thought I had better pick my words carefully. In light of all the recent flash robs, I didn’t even want to say flash mob. Plus, you know my history concerning talking to a cop about Twitter. I wonder if that cop still thinks I’m some crazy stalker chick.

Thankfully this guy kind of understood, but told me there was no one anywhere to be found that appeared to be organizing in a group.

So I wandered up and down Wilson Street and heard “Hey! There’s a news reporter!” All excited, I ran to the person who had said that, and asked what that news reporter appeared to be covering. She didn’t know, but walked me right up to her. “She wants to talk to you!” she said, and ran off. There I was, standing next to Nadia Matos.

Hmmm. Not exactly what I wanted to do. I just thought if the reporter was where the action was, maybe that’s where the people were gathering. So here I was, hoping she wasn’t taking some kind of live action coverage of something, and there I was, loo dee doo dee doo, right in the shot. When I asked her my question, she hadn’t heard of it.

Beginning to question my sanity, standing here on this corner of Wilson and Carden, I was wondering what I should do. I really don’t know a lot of the merchants on Carden. Yes, I’m a fail. But I was hoping to learn about a few of them by talking to some other folks who were down to support the merchants. Maybe I’d learn a thing or 6. But since I can’t really stroll up and down the street looking at signs, I was not going to be able to accomplish a lot all by myself.

And that’s when it happened. A guy who had participated in the last flash of cash appeared. I had never been so happy to see him in all my life! I think I scared the poor fellow. But he pointed me in the direction of the organizer of the event, Rob Campbell. And there we were, Rob, his friend, and I. It looks like we were the only ones who showed up to flash our cash. Oh dear dear.

I had planned to go check out B-Chocolate. I’d heard a few good things about it. But damn it all, they were closed this week. I didn’t check before I left! Fail!

So we decided to go eat lunch at Wok’s Taste. I hadn’t been there in years, so I thought that was a good idea.

And that’s when I encountered it. “You can’t bring your dog in here.” I face this so rarely that I’m left sputtering and stammering when it happens. I knew full well that Chinese restaurants and businesses owned by people who have recently immigrated here are likely places where it may happen, but I never know which ones will do it. What was even more shocking was when I said it was a service dog, then a guide dog, then a seeing eye dog, the response was the same. “Too bad!” Uh, no, bzzzz, try again. The law doesn’t allow for “too bad.” I suggest you read The Blind Person’s Rights Act.

The Blind Person’s Rights Act (Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1990) – Chapter B.7; Regulation 83 (Revised Regulation of Ontario, 1990) Ontario laws guarantee a blind person the legal right to be accompanied by a specially trained dog guide in all public accommodations and facilities. No extra charge can be levied because of the dog’s presence. A dog guide user is also guaranteed the right to equal housing accommodations, and no special terms or conditions can be imposed because of the dog’s presence. The Attorney General is authorized to issue to dog guide users a special identification card, which is prima facie evidence that a dog has been specially trained. The identification cards issued by dog guide schools to their graduates also are appropriate evidence of such training. Public accommodations and facilities include stores, restaurants, taverns, hotels, and common carriers such as trains, buses, and taxis, and other conveyances, as well as any other place or facility to which the public customarily is invited.

I also recommend you read about the Accessible Customer Service Standard, which will affect you in 5 months, which also says that patrons with service animals must be permitted to eat in your restaurant and be accompanied by their service animal. Of course the dog couldn’t go in the kitchen, but they must be allowed in your dining area.

I wasn’t sure what to do. I was here to do something nice for the merchants on Carden Street. I didn’t want “flash of cash” to turn into flash a badge. So we just stood our ground. First the lady tried to say we could get takeout and leave. But Rob and his buddy were cool. They insisted that we actually wanted to eat in. That’s when the other patrons spoke up and said they couldn’t turn away a guide dog. Thank you, thank you, allies! I really didn’t want to call the police. I don’t like pulling that card. But I also don’t like people playing ignorance of the law. If you’re going to run a business, know what you legally can do.

We sat down and had a nice meal, and like I told the lady, Trix lay quietly and they never knew she was there.

Some day, I will come back to Wok’s Taste. Maybe I’ll go there with a group of friends. I like their food. I’m not going to stop going there because of that. I’ll just come armed with copies of the law, my Attorney General’s ID card, and a well-charged cellphone. Hopefully I won’t have to use them, but I’ll be ready.

But once the adventure had settled down and we were eating, I had a good time. I had lunch with two cool people who I probably never would have met otherwise. So hey, to everyone who didn’t show up, you lose, I win! Thanks Rob and Mark for the cool lunch and conversation. Maybe my fortune is right and I’m about to embark on a delightful journey.

And Rob, if you do one of these again, I’ll be there if I can. I think that whole idea is pretty neat. Maybe I should slip down there and bet on when Carden Street will be reopened. That’s also a neat idea.

But in all seriousness, those poor businesses are hurting. Whether there’s a flash of cash or not, maybe we should all try a little harder to brave the construction and check out what Carden Street has to offer. If we don’t, it may not have as much to offer as it used to.

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