New dad George Smitherman has become familiar with the challenges of navigating a baby stroller on the TTC.

But yesterday the mayoral candidate took a different set of wheels to the subway, climbing in a wheelchair to emphasize the need for greater accessibility in the city and on transit, something he says should be a higher priority for Toronto.

“People who have mobility issues deserve to be able to use 100 per cent of Toronto’s transit system,” said Smitherman.

Smitherman wheeled himself through the subway system from Kipling to Jane station with Peter Athanasopoulos of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, which held its Chair Leaders event yesterday.

CPA got about 50 politicians using a wheelchair for the day to increase their awareness of the barriers faced by people with physical disabilities.

Athanasopoulos, who regularly travels the subway in his wheelchair from Eglinton to Union station, says the TTC’s accessibility has improved in recent years, though some stations remain inaccessible, and the gap between the trains and the platforms remains a hazard given how quickly riders must board and exit the subway.

“To map your itinerary from one place to another you really have to be creative in figuring out where the wheelchair-accessible stops are and where the wheelchair-accessible buses are,” he said.

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