Raise the Flag for Autism on April 2nd in Ontario

What’s a person to do on April 2nd for World Autism Awareness Day?

Blue, and lighting it up blue, for WAAD upsets a lot of people in the autistic communities.

The association with anything Autism Speaks is especially hurtful to many autistic individuals I read and follow.

Then there’s the whole issue of awareness being a pretty underwhelming goal. The #AutismAcceptanceDay5 hashtag for April 2nd will show many examples of what many people really want: acceptance.

You will also see #WalkInRed, which is another way of saying that lighting it up blue is offensive.

Yet, April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and however, people acknowledge it, there is a global conversation about autism that occurs.

If you live in Ontario, there is still another way to open the many conversations around autism. Cities, organizations and schools around the province will Raise The Flag for autism. This campaign is organized by Autism Ontario.

As an Autism Ontario volunteer, donor and member, I am so very grateful for the programs they offer that benefit my children. When Daniel was diagnosed, the parent support groups were a welcome opportunity to meet other parents. As my children grow into adults, Autism Ontario will have programs for my son to help ease some of the challenges ahead. They also offer programs for NT siblings.


Both twins have benefitted from skateboarding lessons, rock climbing, holiday parties, picnics, swimming, sensory-reduced movies and a tonne of other social outings catered to our special family.

I am including a list of cities that are confirmed to be holding a Raise The Flag. The list is being updated constantly on www.raisetheflagforautism.com. You will also find videos, school toolkits, stories and ways to share your stories there.

You will also find a link to donate, because Autism Ontario is a registered charity. Every year, Autism Ontario reaches thousands of autistic children and adults and their families.

Here are cities with Raise The Flag for Autism celebrations:

  • Ajax – Town Hall at 1:00 pm
  • Amherstburg – Town Hall at 12:00 pm
  • Arnprior – Town Hall at 12:00 pm
  • Barrie – City Hall at 11:30 am
  • Brampton – City Hall at 12:00 pm
  • Brantford – City Hall at 11:45 am
  • Burlington – City Hall at 5:30 pm
  • Chatham – Chatham Civic Centre at 11:00 am
  • Clarington – Town Hall at 1:00pm
  • Fort Erie – Town Hall at 9:00 am
  • Georgetown – McDonald’s Restaurant at 1:30 pm
  • Georgian College CICE Program – 1 Georgian Dr at Cenotaph Flag Poles at 11:00 am
  • Grimsby – Town Hall at 12:00 pm
  • Guelph – City Hall at 11:30 am
  • Town of Halton Hills (Georgetown) – Town Hall at 9:15 am
  • Innisfil – Town Hall 11:00 or 11:30 am
  • Markham – City Hall at 9:30 am
  • Midland – Town Hall at 11:00 am
  • Milton – Town Hall at 10:30 am
  • Napanee – Community Living Lennox and Addington at 12:30 pm
  • Niagara Falls – City Hall at 9:00 am
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake – Town Hall at 10:00 am
  • Oakville – Town Hall April 13 at 6:15 pm
  • Orillia – City Hall at 11:00 am
  • Oshawa – Town Hall at 1:00 pm
  • Pelham – Pelham Town Hall at 8:30 am
  • The Pen Centre Mall – St. Catharines at 11:00 am
  • Penetanguishene – Town Hall April 1st at 3:00 pm
  • Peterborough – City Hall at 9:00 am
  • Pickering – Town Hall at 12:00 pm
  • Port Colbourne – Town Hall at 10:00 am
  • Township of Ramara – Brechin Town Hall at 9:30 am
  • Richmond Hill – Town Hall at 11:00 am
  • Sault Ste. Marie – Sault Ste Marie City Hall at 7:30 am
  • Seaforth – Seaforth Public School at 10:00 am
  • Municipality of South Dundas – Seaway High School at 1:00 pm
  • Catharines – City Hall at 2:00 pm
  • Sudbury – Tom Davies Sq. at 10:30 am
  • Thunder Bay and District – Thunder Bay City Hall at 12:15 pm
  • Toronto – Scarborough Civic Centre at 12:00 pm
  • Vaughan – City Hall at 11:00 am
  • Wainfleet – Town Hall at 2:00 pm
  • Wasaga Beach – Town Hall at 10:00 am
  • Waterloo – Creekside Church at 5:00pm
  • Welland – Welland Town Hall at 9:00 am
  • West Lincoln – Town Hall at 12:00 pm

6 thoughts on “Raise the Flag for Autism on April 2nd in Ontario

  1. Thank you for the information about Autism Ontario – it’s good to know! I wonder what your take is on the “wear blue” campaigns in schools….I am really conflicted. Personally, I can’t support Autism Speaks but the reality is that most people don’t realize that’s where the blue symbolism started (or why it’s concerning to support that particular organization). As co-chair of our parent council, I was asked by the principal to promote wearing blue on Thursday to our school community. I explained to her my personal issue with it, but ultimately, I agreed that for most people, the intent in wearing blue is positive and it’s not my call to take something like that out of the weekly newsletter. Still, I’m conflicted. Maybe I just send my kids to school in red and call it a day…


    • I am in the same conflicted situation. People have come to expect blue on April 2nd and it is like trying to move an iceberg. If it has to be about a colour, my hope is that #WalkInRed becomes a big deal about Autism Acceptance and blue isn’t as important because awareness seems like a pretty underwhelming way to change the world.

      I found myself in a situation like yours about blue. A bunch of volunteers connected to an event for April 2nd wanted blue shirts and wanted to talk about lighting it up. It’s a tough conversation to have with people that Autism Speaks has goals that are at odds with a lot of people who are autistic or are their families and allies. And you are right–people want to do something positive. Wearing blue makes them feel they are doing that.

      Last year a coworker asked me why I wasn’t wearing blue. The conversation was a little long and we don’t always have time for those.

      So, no blue for me on Thursday, but I will be wearing red high tops.

      Unfortunately, there is no Raise The Flag ceremony where I live or where I work. Red will have to do this year.


      • Thank you for taking the time to respond and for validating that I’m not the only one conflicted about this stuff! It’s not a simple situation. I think we will all be wearing red in this house on Thursday…maybe it opens the doors for a couple conversations that increase awareness of the need for acceptance ;).

        Liked by 1 person

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