Rolling Stones Concert Most Accessible In Canada's History
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 1, 2003
TORONTO, ONTARIO--Ontario March of Dimes organizers say that Wednesday night's Molson Canadian Rocks Toronto concert, featuring top rock groups including the Rolling Stones, set two Canadian records: It was the largest paying audience for a one-day show in the nation's history (450,000 people), and it was the most accessible for people with disabilities.
More than 2,000 concert-goers with disabilities -- an estimated 600 of those in wheelchairs -- used the "Accessibility Rocks" section set up at Downsview Park. The section was designed with many accessible features, including a raised platform for wheelchairs, accessible restrooms, attendant care workers, and an on-site wheelchair repair technician who repaired 10 wheelchairs during the event. Those using the accessible area were allowed to bring one friend or attendant into the designated section.
"This was a great opportunity for all event organizers to gauge just how many people with disabilities are interested in attending large public events, if only they could be accommodated," said Paul Raina, manager of government and corporate relations for Ontario March of Dimes.
"There is no reason why this should be the first and last time an entire section is created for people with disabilities," Raina said in a press statement. "I hope the organizers of the next big event that comes to our city, or the country for that matter, use this prototype to meet the needs of people with disabilities. When everyone works together, the way they did for this event, anything is possible."
Organizers said Molson Sports and Entertainment, the Rolling Stones, and MP Dennis Mills pushed to make this the most inclusive event in history. The concert was organized to remove the stigma Toronto has faced since the SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak this spring.
Press release with links to photos in PDF format:
"Stones Concert Sets New Standard for People With Disabilities" (Ontario March of Dimes)
Special Needs FAQ for Rolling Stones Concert