Oh Canada! Our national anthem refrain! And a great introduction to our blogs on accessibility in Canadian destinations. We are Canadian (as our name Access Holidays Canada attests) and most of our blogs have been on travel outside of Canada. But, this is Canada’s 150th anniversary of becoming a country. It is also the 100th anniversary of our fight in the First World War under the Canadian flag which many say is the actual recognition of Canada, both nationally and internationally, as a separate country – although we are still a partner in the British Commonwealth. We cannot think of a better time to include some thoughtful, insightful blogs about places in Canada we have been fortunate enough to experience. Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world so many Canadians have not traveled throughout the country – many have never left their home province! So join us as we discover some of the diverse areas of Canada.
Now for some facts:
- Canada’s population is 35 million
- 2/3 of the population live within 100 km. of our Southern border with the USA on 4% of the total land mass
- Canada covers 9 million square km. of land
Access Points in Canada
When speaking to people outside of North America, Canada is understood to be a very accessible country. This is true in most of the larger cities; however, Canada is very large and the population is mainly situated in the southern part. Throughout the major cities, there is quite good accessibility. The vast majority of Canada, however, is rural agricultural land, forest, natural resource areas.
The federal government has had accessibility codes for federally regulated industries, such as inter-provincial transportation and federal employment standards, for quite some time. There have only been a few provinces with any legislated provincial standards until recently. The federal government is now developing a Canadians with Disabilities Act to provide a country-wide standard, which should be law by 2018.
Transportation: Airplanes, inter-provincial buses, trains, and ferries are covered under the federal accessibility guidelines. There is information on line regarding what accommodations can be expected. https://www.otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/accessibility
Cities have accessible transportation options such as accessible taxis, accessible public transportation, and accessible private transportation which can provide shuttle services or day trip / tour services. Disabled parking passes and accessible transportation passes from other jurisdictions are accepted; however, sometimes this service must be pre-arranged. In order to access a smaller, more rural setting, it will be more expensive as the adaptive services will likely come from the bigger city.
Hotels: The larger cities and smaller towns have some hotels, inns, and B & B’s that are accessible. As with any venue, it is always wise to speak with the actual hotel, not book based on what their website says.
Accessibility data bases: Many local and provincial disability groups have compiled information on their local areas regarding accessibility regarding local transportation options, hotels, restaurants and attractions. Some of the better known are Accessible Niagara , Keroul, which has developed an accessibility guide to destinations in the province of Quebec and the Rick Hansen Foundation, headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.