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Annie Wang

Integrating Communities: The Abilities Centre

After a highly-successful Annual General Meeting held by the Ontario Progressive Conservatives on May 27-29 in Toronto, it was clear that the countdown to the provincial election has started. While discussion of the newly released “changebook” has sprouted across the province, the conference also showcased an impressive initiative in the Durham Region.The Charity Breakfast event early Saturday morning allowed conference delegates to network and socialize, while contributing to a great cause. Located in Whitby, Ontario, the Abilities Centre “will be a world class recreation, athletic and performing arts facility fully accessible to all persons with a varying degree of abilities and challenges.”MPP Christine Elliott presented a particularly touching presentation on behalf of the team working to turn the vision of the Abilities Centre into reality. The presentation addressed the lack of social opportunities for those with disabilities or developmental challenges after completion of high school. The Abilities Centre seeks to be an internationally-recognized leader in inclusivity by providing barrier-free programming for all.The Abilities Centre will host a variety of recreational programs for a diverse demographic such as, but not limited to: arts, music and drama programs, sports programs, and social clubs. However, the vision for a facility to truly embrace the diversity of the abilities which exist in our communities is not yet complete – fundraising for the final $8 million (of the total $40 million) is still underway. The centre is currently 50% complete and schedule for a grand opening in Spring 2012.To learn more about this initiative and the progress of this decade-long vision, please visit www.abilitiescentre.org Read More

Exclusive Interview with MPP Frank Klees

We are often familiar with a politician’s full resume and qualifications, but rarely do we get a true glimpse into his/her persona and character. So the following interview with MPP Frank Klees (Newmarket-Aurora), conducted on June 10th, 2011 is a conversation about childhood, family and life lessons.1.Tell me about your childhood. Do you have any particularly vivid memories? Did you ever get in trouble?Happy to talk about my childhood- I was born in Germany and immigrated to Canada at the age of five. We were not wealthy. My father was a craftsman who worked on construction sites away during the week. I would go to meet him at the hill of the train station.I remember one day he walked up the hill with something that looked like a little… moped scooter. It had a small light by the handle that used a battery- this was my prized possession. When the decision was made that we would immigrate, I had a hard time parting with the moped bike. I was told I had to give my bike to my friend, who I didn’t like very much. So one day, I decided to run my bike as hard as I could into the curb. The front wheel fell off. And I felt a terrible sense of satisfaction that I had put my bike to rest and my friend was not going to ride this bike. I think my father actually understood because there were no repercussions- he knew that I was trying to separate myself from this very important possession.My father was always very patient and took the time to make miniature tools for me. I was five when he made these tools, which looked exactly like his, but my size. This helped me develop confidence because here was my father, who… Read More