The StopGap Foundation: How a little wooden ramp reshaped an Ontario city

StopGap Foundation was registered as a charitable organization in October 2013, but its roots date back to the fall of 2011. It began as an initiative to raise awareness about barriers in our built environment.

Their first project was the launch of its first Community Ramp Project in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood. Through material donations from local hardware stores, and volunteer labour from inspired community residents, the Community Ramp Project provided a free ramp to 12 businesses with a single stepped entry. The lightweight plywood ramps were brightly coloured to attract attention and were stenciled with the StopGap website address — StopGap.ca — in order to direct those interested to learn all about the project.

Stopgap were part of our 2015 Agents of Change: City Builders cohort. Four years later, and one of their many successes has been transforming downtown Kenora.

A recent article on TVO.org tells the story:

To date, Anderson has worked with more than 50 communities, including Bancroft, Belleville, Port Hope, and Stratford.

“Smaller towns are more nimble,” says Anderson. “The awareness-raising journey is much shorter than it is in a larger centre.”

A local StopGap chapter was established in Kenora to install a ramp in front of now-councillor Mort Goss’s Second Street South shop, Sure Thing, in the summer of 2014.

The ramp had such an impact that, when it came time to spruce up Second Street the next year as part of an ongoing downtown-revitalization process, the city decided to make the accessibility it provided part of its built infrastructure by raising the sidewalks. Anderson says that he’s seen StopGap lead to policy changes in various municipalities but that Kenora is the first to have made this kind of structural change.

“It’s a big win,” says Anderson. “That’s the ultimate dream — to inspire that type of change.”

Read the full piece here.

Keep Reading

A Community Celebration Goes Virtual and We Honour the Toronto Tool Library

Events, Member Stories
It’s snowing and the end of year is in the air as innovators across our community wrap up their work. At CSI, this usually marks the end of year holiday party, an all-out bash famous for its cocktail and cookie competitions and sweaty dance floor.

Dwelly.ca makes buying and renting a home simple and more affordable for every Canadian

Member Stories, Next Economy
The decision to buy, sell or rent a home is an overwhelming one. Dwelly’s mission is to make buying and renting a home simple and affordable for every Canadian. We talked to Broker of Record (and CSI member!) Karim Elbarbary about how he has simplified this complex, thorny experience and dramatically lowed the cost of buying a home.

Inspiring growth and impact

CSI Accelerates, Member Stories
Agent of Change Devesh Tilokani is providing a platform for leaders that inspire growth and action through his Progressholic podcast.
Become A Member