Media Advisory - Lieutenant Governor cuts ribbon for new Vice-Regal suite accessible entrance and launches art exhibit



    TORONTO, April 28 /CNW/ - The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant
Governor of Ontario, hosted a reception today, with members of Ontario's
accessibility community in attendance to celebrate the new accessible entrance
to the Lieutenant Governor's suite, and to inaugurate Connections, an exhibit
of 16 Ontario artists with disabilities curated by the Abilities Arts Festival
which will be on display in the Lieutenant Governor's Suite for six months.
    His Honour was joined by the Honourable Steve Peters, Speaker of the
Legislative Assembly in a ceremonial ribbon cutting in front of the accessible
entrance followed by a reception in the Lieutenant Governor's Suite.

    A PHOTO AND THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR'S REMARKS ARE ATTACHED.


    
                                 REMARKS BY
                       THE HONOURABLE DAVID C. ONLEY,
                       LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF ONTARIO,
                    ON THE OCCASION OF THE RIBBON CUTTING
                      CEREMONY FOR NEW VICE-REGAL SUITE
              ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCE AND LAUNCH OF NEW ART EXHIBIT
    

    I am delighted to welcome you to Queen's Park on this auspicious
occasion.
    As some of you may remember, back when the news of my appointment as
Lieutenant Governor broke, several commentators noted the fact that I, a
long-time champion of accessibility, would be moving into Vice-Regal offices
that were inaccessible. And, they were right -- the Lieutenant Governor's
suite was inaccessible. I am being intentionally cautious in noting that the
inaccessibility was within the suite itself because the Legislative Assembly
building, as a whole, is accessible, and has been for many years now.
    Within the first week of my appointment, the Legislative Assembly
responded with vigor and care to the accessibility considerations of the
building as they related to my new role. They began with the Legislative
Chamber not only because that is where I would be sworn in as the 28th
Vice-Regal representative of Ontario, but it is also where a variety of
constitutional duties would be carried out such as Throne Speeches,
Swearing-In of governments, granting Royal Assent to bills and much more.
    Once the Chamber itself was addressed the Assembly turned its attention
to tackling accessibility issues within the Lieutenant Governor's Suite. And,
that is what we are celebrating here today.
    In fact, the Ontario Public Service has been diligent in adapting public
buildings to accommodate people with disabilities, under the terms of the
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act for a long while now. And
the Lieutenant Governor's Suite, as a stand alone section of Queen's Park, was
to be no exception. Now, after several months of occupying temporary
accommodations in another part of this building, I am pleased to mark the
re-opening of fully accessible quarters for The Queen's representative in
Ontario.
    Henceforth, not only will I be able to access the Lieutenant Governor's
Suite by an outside entrance that leads to an attractive vestibule, that leads
to the brilliant elevator, that leads to three floors within the suite. But,
other Ontarians who have accessibility challenges, will also take pleasure in
having a direct entrée into the suite so that they can take part in events and
other occasions being hosted here.
    This is indeed a tremendous day for the Lieutenant Governor's Office and
for this graciously elegant building that houses parliament and the vice-regal
offices.
    I can remember the days when I was invited to events here and I could not
attend because the only entrance to the suite was the long flight of stairs
that until now was the only official entrance to the suite.
    I am very grateful to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the
Honourable Steve Peters; the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Ms. Deb
Dellar; the Sergeant at Arms, Mr. Dennis Clark and, the Director of Precinct
Properties, Mr. Brian Brethour and his team, especially Ms. Ann Pexieto, and
Mr. Denis Heroux. Your recognition of the need and your willingness to address
the accessibility issues of the suite was extraordinary. The high calibre
approach to the planning, coordination and implementation phases of this
project was most impressive. I thank you deeply for all you have done!
    And I can think of no more appropriate event to celebrate our
accessibility, than the launching of this wonderful new art exhibit,
Connections, containing works by selected Ontario artists with disabilities.
    It was the Honourable Hilary M. Weston who began the tradition of using
the Lieutenant Governor's suite as a showcase for Ontario's contemporary
artists. At first, it was viewed as a revolutionary idea - moving
centuries-old Ontario art to make way for both new and established art forms.
    Since the first exhibit in 1999, thousands of visitors on tours through
the Suite have been intrigued, informed and one can only hope, at times
provoked, by the art displayed here. Visiting dignitaries and heads of state
have had the opportunity to view works of Ontario artists that they might not
otherwise have seen. And their reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
    In the coming months, visitors will be greeted by the stunning works of
16 artists from across Ontario that embraces us in these rooms today. That
each of these artists also has a disability is noted in the catalogue, but I
think you will agree that fact is irrelevant. Every one of these pieces is
worthy of exhibition on its own merit in keeping with the talent and insight
of its creator. These include the three pieces on the mantle over the
fireplace in this room. They were each presented to me during visits to
schools in recent months by gifted young people with a disability who created
them.
    I am grateful to all of the artists for allowing us the benefit of their
unique perspectives, their perceptive nuances and their insightful "take" on
the world.
    In the name of The Queen, I congratulate our artists for being selected
for this exclusive exhibit. I thank Sharon Wolfe for curating this exhibit,
and I commend the Abilities Arts Festival for bringing a new dimension to
Toronto's diverse arts scene, through the promotion of inclusiveness.

    Thank you.

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: Ms. Nanda Casucci-Byrne, Office of the
Lieutenant Governor, (416) 325-7780, www.lt.gov.on.ca

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