The case of a 63-year-old cancer patient who was turned away from a Legoland location near Toronto has renewed the debate about the “no adults without children” policies that have become popular in some places in recent years.
John St-Onge of Windsor, Ontario, traveled with his adult daughter to a recently opened Legoland location in Vaughan, just north of Toronto, but the two were refused entry because they were not accompanied by a child, the National Post reports.
“I felt discriminated against,” St-Onge told the Post. “[I was thinking] ‘What, are you painting a label on my back, that I’m a pedophile?’ That’s what really, really, really bothered me. What do you think I’m going to do in there?”
St-Onge, a self-described Lego “fanatic,” took to the children's toy some 30 years ago, when his children were young, but continued developing his interest in the building blocks even after his children grew up. St-Onge now has 72 different Lego sets, with about 50,000 pieces, CTV News reports.
A Legoland spokesperson told CTV it was unfortunate that St-Onge was turned away at the door and not allowed to speak to the manager, as she could have taken St-Onge through Legoland as her guest.
But Legoland "is a child attraction so we do have this in place to protect the families and children that visit," marketing manager Lara Hannaford said.
She noted that Legoland has “adult nights” for just such cases.
The policy is not new and not exclusive to the Toronto-area location; all Legolands enforce this rule.
But the case of St-Onge has renewed the debate about “no adults without children” policies, which have in recent years become popular in some public places.
From London to New York, cities across the world have begun designating certain parks as being off-limits to adults without children. In one widely publicized incident a few years ago, two women were ticketed in a park in Brooklyn for stopping to eat donuts there while unaccompanied by a minor.
In another incident, a 73-year-old New York woman was struck by a ball while in a park, but ended up ejected from the park for being there without a child.
Some airlines, such as British Airways, have policies requiring that lone adult males not sit next to unrelated children on aircraft.
While St-Onge and others argue these sorts of policies are discriminatory, supporters of the policies say there should be public places where children can play free of concerns about sexual predators.