Ask 14-year-old Arrisan if he’s excited to be on summer holiday and you might not get the answer you’re expecting.

“Not really,” the Grade 9 student said with a shrug, standing by the Eaton Centre food court on a recent afternoon.

Arrisan, who declined to give his last name, said he prefers the structure of school — where he “actually learns something.” He spends the summer hanging around the city, exploring and occasionally acting as a tour guide for out-of-town relatives.

Andrea Cohen is the executive director of a large network of community health centres in low-income neighbourhoods.

She said lack of access to summer activities is a “huge issue” among parents.

“I think those are the instances where disparity in income really becomes pronounced,” Cohen said, noting that while some middle- class kids are able to benefit from a family cottage, trips out of town, or camp, kids from low-income families may end up spending summer on the couch.

“It’s a constant reminder of the have-nots,” she said.

In some cities, subsidies are available for summer camp. Toronto, for example, still has spots for subsidized summer camps offered throughout the city.

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