CLD hosting a good Masquerade for a good cause

October 15, 2014   ·   0 Comments

What a town this is! A person’s choice of fun never seems to end here in Orangeville and, very often, the chance to support a really important project is woven into the fabric of the party.

So it is with the upcoming Great Pumpkin Masquerade being hosted by Community Living Dufferin (CLD) on Friday October 17. This outrageous get together of all of you who love to dress up and go to the ball is in aid of the purchase of a new wheelchair accessible van.

The association does have such a vehicle but it is “on its last legs,” said Karen Murphy-Fritz, Executive Administrative Assistant of CLD.

CLD has held parties like this before to great success. The plan has always been to sell tables to people and their families and friends to come as a themed group. This year, though, they decided to invite everyone to come, whether as a whole table of eight or just a few –or two – or you on your own- come and enjoy meeting a crowd of people who are doing great work and, this evening, having a fabulous time doing it.

It is a simple matter of eat, drink and be merry as your favourite character or creature. There will be a buffet provided by several local restaurants, including the newly minted Rustik (formerly 199), Forage, Lavender Blue, Pitta Pit, The Chocolate Shop and Starbucks at the time of going to print. Still, once you are lining up at the trough, as they say, other establishments may have joined in.

Ms Murphy-Fritz assured us that all the elements are there to ensure the revelry is all. D.J. Splash will be pumping the music for you to dance your feet off all evening; a wine and beer cash bar will provide the inhibitions eliminator; a silent auction will augment the fund raiser and give you a chance to take something home, as will the small vendors’ marketplace. And the psychics will be there to connect you with other worlds by reading your palms, tarot cards and whatever else they might bring with them.

As for entertainment, CLD invited the mayors from around Dufferin –just before the election – how could they refuse? They have been asked to each bake, make, assemble from “scratch” pumpkin pies on their own – which will be judged at the party. Celebrity chefs – forget them! – we’ve got Mayors!

The funding object of the do is, as mentioned, in a “brand new initiative,” a new wheel chair accessible van which would belong to CLD for the purpose of transporting people who are wheelchair bound to entertainments and shopping; they go bowling at specially equipped alleys; they have been horseback riding as well.

So much of what the rest of us think of as normal, as a right: we jump in the car and go, without needing to think about the cumbersome impediment of a wheel chair. It is impossible for those of us who are able bodied to imagine the burden.

Hence, the mantra of CLD is and has been, under others names, to assist and enrich the lives of people with disabilities. While there are some buses for local transportation and some with wheelchair accessibility, municipalities cannot provide pick up on residential streets, especially not to individuals’ homes. The only way for those people is to be provided with transportation specific to their needs by others, who are interested in their particular lives.

The vehicle in question is sold by Sparrow Hawk out of Waterloo. They specialise in the requested modifications on a regular van.

A wheelchair accessible van must have its roof lifted for higher headspace and a mechanical wheelchair lift installed at the rear.

For this van, “the modifications will accommodate seating for three wheelchairs and four passengers,” Ms Murphy-Fritz told us.

The price is upwards of $65,000, which includes the van itself.

The history of CLD goes back to the 1950’s when Rev. Walter McCleary founded the Association of Retarded Children by “opening the first school for developmentally disabled children,” according to a published history.

Over the next two decades, the association expanded its work of providing services for persons of all ages with disabilities.

In the 1970’s, the association opened its first group home, which could accommodate eight people. Since then, 13 fully staffed group homes have been established, as well as a family home program.

In 2010, by a unique partnership with Theatre Orangeville, CLD and the theatre raised $3.4 million to build the CLD’s own building on County Road 3, East Garafaxa. This houses all the administration offices and other rooms, plus the workspace for QPAC, an assembly and packaging business, which provides paid employment for many members of the community CLD serves.

These premises also provide a home to Theatre Orangeville’s set construction workshop, storage and rehearsal hall.

That is all you need to know about this zany party on October 17 from 8:00pm until the witching hour of midnight. It is taking place at Horizons Event Centre on Hwy 10.

For tickets, call CLD on 519-941-8971 ext 165 or order online at

On the back of Ms. Murphy-Fritz’s card, it says: “Our Mission: To support and encourage people with disabilities throughout their lives to pursue enriched, healthy connections within their community in collaboration with their families, staff and other community partners.”

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