Gingerbread House Competition
Toronto Rehab, Lyndhurst Centre's annual Accessible Gingerbread House Competition promotes teambuilding and awareness. (Clockwise from top left) Ana Gomes, event co-organizer Charlene Alton, Anne Hu, Zainil Maredia, Amanda Rice-Kimberley, Stephanie Hadi, and Jamie Young. (Photo: UHN)

Happy (accessible) holidays

It was a friendly competition offering food for thought.

For the fifth year in a row, staff teams at Toronto Rehab's Lyndhurst Centre, which provides care to adult patients living with spinal cord injuries, marked the holidays by combining their creative efforts in an annual Accessible Gingerbread House Competition.

"The purpose of the event is to promote teambuilding in a fun and festive atmosphere, while focusing on the importance of accessibility for all," explains recreation therapist Charlene Alton, who organized the event last month alongside colleagues Winnie Wu and Holly O'Brien. The competition was originally created by recreation therapist Nicole Leong.

What makes a gingerbread house accessible? Picture a bar called "Spinal Tap," a ski hill complete with mono sit skis, and a ramp.

First place went to the team on Unit 1B, for a house that took a holistic approach to well-being. Entitled: "Merry Accessible Holidays to All," it included a lift, a therapeutic dog, an accessible pool and garden, and more. Intricate origami trees were contributed by a UHN Patient Partner, making the final product even more special to the team.


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