The Relax Recharge Renew program, designed by Tourism Toronto gives local parents of children and adults with special needs a well-deserved break in the Toronto Region. An agency representative must refer families to this program.
Generally speaking, you can expect a casual, relaxed weekend that includes:
Please note that, depending on the donation, the gift certificate for the meal may not include alcohol. If so, any alcoholic beverages will be at your own cost.
Extra incidentals at the hotel (room service, movies, mini-bar, etc.) are at your own expense. You will be asked to provide a credit card upon check-in at the hotel as well as valid photo I.D. If you do not have a credit card you will be required to make a cash deposit.
Choosing to eat at a restaurant or participating in any other activities that are not part of the weekend package will be at your own expense.
What can you do?
The program is reliant on donations from the tourism industry. Tourism Toronto will do their best to provide activities that you want to do depending on the donations available for your weekend. Examples of activities are museums, attractions (like the CN Tower or Ontario Science Centre) and tours. Various restaurants are involved in the program, from diners to fine dining, but generally the restaurants are casual and mid-range.
Where can you go?
Tourism Toronto receives donations from Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto. Your weekend may be in any of these cities.
There are certain weekends where the only option will be a non-downtown weekend due to downtown hotels being booked up.
Who can go?
The program is primarily intended for two people, usually parents, but a sibling or another relative or friend may participate. Only one hotel room will be provided. The program is about taking a break: the individual with special needs is not included in the weekend. The family must make their own arrangements for the care of their child. Respite is a planned break. Please contact respiteservices.com Intake and Information 416 322 6317 x 1 for more information about respite planning and programs.
The Relax Recharge Renew program is restricted to families within Regional Tourism Organization 5 area. We cannot accommodate families from outside of the catchment region. Please see links below to the Ontario government website and a PDF of a map for parameters of the area. Toronto and Peel now have separate application and selection procedures and deadlines.
How do you take part?
Due to the limited number of spaces available, families may not self-refer to this program. Please contact a service coordinator or professional familiar with your child’s diagnosis to assist you with the process. Referral sources may request the Relax Recharge Renew Application Package from Intake and Information 416 322 6317 x 1 at respiteservices.com. Families are randomly selected by lottery each Fall for participation the following year. Only families selected for a weekend and their referral source will be notified by email. Confirmation of their acceptance of the date offered is mandatory. If confirmation is not received, another family will be offered the opportunity. Families who have previously participated in the program are welcome to reapply. However, due to the limited number of spaces available, priority will be given to families who have not experienced a Relax Recharge Renew weekend. Reapplication is required each year for all interested families.
What happens next?
Once the dates of your weekend have been confirmed, please begin making arrangements for the care of your child or adult with special needs. Your name will be added to the Tourism Toronto database and approximately one week prior to your scheduled weekend you will receive a phone call or email from a representative of Tourism Toronto. They will confirm details and plans for your upcoming weekend.
Enjoy your weekend!
Tourism Toronto appreciates receiving feedback (e-mail if possible) from parents who participate in the program to share with the hotels, restaurants and attractions. It’s the best way to encourage continued and new support for the program so that other families can take advantage of it. You can pass this on to firstname.lastname@example.org, your referring agency or directly to Tourism Toronto.
Background information about Relax Recharge Renew
Tourism Toronto is a non-profit, industry association. Members of Tourism Toronto include hotels, attractions and restaurants.
In the summer of 2008, Tourism Toronto approached respiteservices.com with a plan to assist families of individuals with special needs in the GTA. In recognition of the toll, taking care of an individual with special needs can take on a family, Tourism Toronto wanted to provide an opportunity for the caregivers to take a break from their usual duties and relax, recharge and renew themselves. As a result, this program was developed.
Tourism Toronto requests donations from its members who generously provide the accommodations and many of the services for the program.
For more information you can visit www.seetorontonow.com/socialresponsibility.