National Access Awareness Week

It’s National Access Awareness Week here in Canada.  Not every place celebrates it or even knows it exists but the Ontario March of Dimes here in Niagara knows and does.  They put on an awards ceremony every year to celebrate people who have made jobs possible for the seemingly unemployable, made buildings accessible after architects have done their worst and best of all in my books, acknowledges people with disabilities who have taken on the challenge of making their world a better one by forcing those who aren’t disabled to take a hard look at what they offer up.

I’ll be giving an award tomorrow to a group of individuals who work on a volunteer board concerned with making part of the Old Welland Canal here a recreational venue.  The Welland Recreational Canal Corporation has made docks accessible for disabled rowers, put accessible family-style bathrooms on walking trails and made a unique tourism venue, an amphitheatre built into the side of a hill facing the water, all accessible. The amphitheatre looks out onto a floating stage surrounded by fire pits.  At night, it must be absolutely glorious and it’s all accessible. The venue is called IlluminAqua.

The AccessibleNiagara.com Award, given by me for the last four years to let people know that my website AccessibleNiagara.com exists, goes to these people who have given Niagara yet one more accessible and incredibly neat tourism venue.

If you haven’t seen the website yet, check it out.  It took my colleague, Eileen Zarifinitis, and me 14 months and hundreds of hours to update and we’re pretty proud of it.  We were lucky to get an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant in March 2009 that made things go smoothly and certainly added incentive. I’m still finishing up a few venues but on the whole, it is done…for now.  There are always additions. For an accessible vacation in Niagara including the falls, this is the website to see.

If you know of a website just for people with disabilities in your country would you ask them if they’d link to it? I even have a lovely logo for it but haven’t had time to figure out how to put graphics in this blog yet. Spread the word for us, please.  So many people with disabilities would like to travel but haven’t a clue what is accessible to them.  This website tells them what we have and how to enjoy it on wheels.