Did you know that Vancouver regularly gets listed among the top five livable cities in the world and has gained a reputation as the most accessible location in the world for people with disabilities. The Vancouver International Airport is the most accessible in the world. And whether you’re visiting or already living in the city, you will be able to find ease and accessibility if you’re visually, hearing, or mobility impaired. Here are some of the great accessibility innovations throughout Vancouver that will help you explore the beautiful city.
Whether you want to travel by air, water, rail or gravel, you can find accessible transportation that fits your needs. Vancouver’s city travel enables anyone to travel by bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus or West Coast Express. These methods of transportation have lower floors with ramps or lifts, and every station is equipped with elevators. By the end of 2017, Vancouver will also have installed proximity-sensor entrances which will allow for hands-free gate access for those that need assistance.
If you can’t make it to a station or are unable to use public transportation, there is a service called HandyDART that provides door-to-door shared ride services for anyone with physical or cognitive disabilities. Around 15 percent of all taxis in Vancouver are also wheelchair accessible and accommodate the 15 percent of Vancouver residents that have reported mobility restrictions. This means that you generally don’t have to reserve or wait long for a wheelchair accessible taxi.
Commercial properties in Vancouver such as restaurants and stores offer some of the best accessibility and safety provisions for disabled people. In 2013, there was a huge push by the government to make accessibility a priority and as a result, all doorways and corridors are required to be wide enough to accommodate wheeelchairs. Vancouver was also the first city in Canada to ban doorknobs, and now requires accessible levered handles. This has made it easier for everyone to shop, eat, and relax in their favourite places.
If you’re visiting Vancouver, or are simply an adventurer, you will want to partake in many of the adventure sports the city has to offer. After the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Winter games, the city’s sports became barrier-free. If you love to hike, check out one of Vancouver’s five wheelchair friendly hiking trails to include Seymour Valley Trailway and The Galloping Goose.
If you’re up for more of an adventure, check out the Citizens for Accessible Neighbourhoods website for sports such as adaptive kayaking or scuba diving. And definitely don’t forget to head to Whistler for accessible skiing and snowboarding.
Vancouver has become a barrier-free city and whatever you want is yours for the taking. You can relax knowing that you are safe and comfortable while traveling, shopping, dining, hiking, or skiing.