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Best Cities for Canadians with Disabilities

You may have seen this map, which looks like where Canadians go after Christmas, but in fact is something quite different.

And the article:

Ranking Names Best Cities For People With Disabilities

The US survey considers 23 variables.  Can we do something simpler for Canada?  Here's what I came up with.  A bit of a dog's breakfast of data, but probably not far off:

  • Population:  Bigger is surely better, with more access to jobs and teaching hospitals
  • Population Density:  Compactness means services are handier, transportation networks closer
  • Provincial Disability Rates:  If people with disabilities are already there, services must already be in place
  • Seniors:  Ditto people over 65
  • Receiving Adequate Care: Ditto
  • Cost of Living:  Cheaper is better (2002 = 100)
  • Income Gap - difference between median incomes for people with disabilities and median family incomes for CMAs - smaller is better, but Wow! Look at those numbers!

CMAs are ranked on the 7 variables, ranks are averaged, and then ranked again.  So all variables are given equal weight

Most of the variables in the US survey are at least indirectly accounted for except:

  • Climate - This is Canada.  Geez.
  • Health insurance - ditto


Here's the map, dozen best in green, dozen worst in red.  Vancouver is best.  Halifax, where I live is tied for 8th.  Edmonton is worst.



And a table to play with.  Click a header to sort.

Here are the data sources:


Priscilla Pointon


My good friend Maurice Mandale pointed me to DISABILITY: A NEW HISTORY, a BBC radio production with twelve 15 minute episodes. I haven't listened to them all, but in episode 6 we are introduced to Priscilla Pointon.

This from the episode:

"Priscilla Pointon is a poet who is inventing herself as she speaks, and what comes out of her mouth, extempore as she calls it, is a mixture of innocence and feistiness. She made herself the centre of society in Chester, England between about 1760 and 1770.
As a blind poet she wrote about all sorts of different things. She wrote about her life, she wrote about everyday events in her life.

She writes about needing to go to the toilet when she’s visiting friends who’ve given her punch and wine and beer. And she says they’re all, ‘great diuretics’. And she’s surrounded by a group of men who have sent the maids out so there’s no one to take her to the loo."

Priscilla could very well be sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Halifax, facing the problem posed by HRM's failure to consider washroom access as part of its new by-law.


Waiter! Fetch me a chamber pot, if you please.


Priscilla Pointon - Address to a Bachelor on a Delicate Occasion



You bid me write, Sir, I comply,
Since I my grave airs can't deny.
But say, how can my Muse declare
The situation of the fair,
That full six hours had sat, or more,
And never once been out of door?
Tea, wine and punch, Sir, to be free
Excellent diuretics be:
I made it so appear, it's true,
When at your house, last night, with you:
Blushing, I own, to you I said,
'I should be glad you called a maid.'
'The girls,' you answered, 'are far from home,
Nor can I guess when they'll return.'
Then in contempt you came to me,
And sneering cried, 'Dear Miss, make free;
Let me conduct you - don't be nice -
Or if a basin is your choice,
To fetch you one I'll instant fly.'
I blushed, but could make no reply;
confused to find myself the joke,
I sat silent till Trueworth spoke:
'To go with me, Miss, don't refuse,
Your loss the freedom will excuse.'
To him my hand reluctant gave,
And out he lead me very grave;
Whilst you and Chatfree laughed aloud
As if to dash a maid seemed proud.
But I the silly jest despise,
Since well I know each man's that's wise
All affectation does disdain,
Since it in prudes and coxcombes reign:
So I repent not what I've done:
Adieu - enjoy your empty fun.

Idiots becoming Lunatics

Here are the figures on certain disabilities from the Census of Nova Scotia, taken March 30, 1861, under Act of Provincial Parliament--Chap. XIV--XXIII VIC. (1862)

.............The returns of the Deaf and Dumb show nearly the same number, compared with the population, as in 1851. Some Counties return a less number than in 1851; but this may be accounted for by there being a number in the Deaf and Dumb Institution at Halifax, from the country, and all of which are included in the number from Halifax. There is 1 of this class in every 1100 of the population. In Canada in 1851, there was 1 in 1372, and in the United States 1 in 2395 of the entire population. The proportion of Deaf and Dumb in Great Britain, is 1 to 1590 of the population, in France, 1 to 1212, in Prussia, 1 to 1364, and in Switzerland, 1 to every  503. The average proportion of this class throughout the civilized world, is estimated at about 1 in 1550 of the population. 

The report of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb for 1860, kindly furnished me by the Rev. James Cochran, M. A., the Secretary, who has always taken a deep interest in its management, shows that 42 of this unfortunate class attended the school during the year, 6 of whom belonged to Halifax, 7 were from New Brunswick, and 29 from various parts of this Province— viz.: 7 from the County of Pictou, 4 from Colchester, 4 from Annapolis, 3 from King's, 4 from Cape Breton, 2 from Queen's, and 1 each from Cumberland, Hants, Digby, Sydney, and Guysborough Counties. 

In 1851 there were 136 Blind persons returned; the present Census returns 185; showing a somewhat larger proportionate increase than that of the population. There is no means of ascertaining from the returns, how many of these 185 were born blind, or how many became so from disease or old age; it is probable that not more than one-half, if so many, were born blind. I would suggest the propriety, in taking the next Census, so to arrange the schedules that such distinctive information may be obtained. 

The number of Lunatics returned shows that this class of unfortunates, during the last decade, has increased in a greater ratio than the population. In 1851 there were 166, being only 1 in 1660 of the whole population ; while the returns for 1861 show 340, including those in the Hospital for the Insane, being 1 in 970 of the population. 

A reference to the abstract at the close of the Census report, will show the number of Lunatics belonging to the several Counties, including those in the Asylum. It is difficult to account for this disparity, otherwise than by supposing that they were not all returned in 1851. The number of Idiots does not exhibit a like proportionate increase with that of Lunatics. There were 299 Idiots returned in 1851, and 317 in the present Census. Probably some who were returned in 1851 as Idiots, are now returned as Lunatics.

That explains everything.