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FEATURE THE PRINCE OF PLAY By Jeff Tiessen


As a teenager, the idea of working with kids with disabilities was never part of Archie Allison’s career plan.


It took a fortuitous high school co-op placement, just across the parking lot from his Scarborough, Ont., school, to change that. Just one week in the company of the staff, students and participants at world-renowned Variety Village and he was hooked. He knew what he wanted to do with his working life. Archie was instantly motivated


by the infectious spirit of his future place of employment, its welcoming charm and character, the abilities of its participants and their tre- mendous desire to be involved and active. That was 30 years ago. Even as a teen, he explains, it was easy to see how Variety Village tran- scended stereotypes, prejudice and segregation. He was inspired. The student became the teach-


er. And when it comes to inspira- tion, Archie has done more than his fair share of it for others. He has tirelessly pushed, pulled and challenged parents, kids and visiting students and educators alike, all in the name of play. Inclusive play that is, where all kids can join in sport and recreation activities with their peers regardless of ability. As a teenager, the idea of being inducted into the Canadian Disabil- ity Hall of Fame one day was never part of Archie Allison’s career plan either.


Photo by Kimberly Tiessen 22 www.disabilitytodaynetwork.com


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