New Accessibility Initiatives

Article online since April 11st 2009, 13:51

The St. Lawrence Parks Commission has made a number of small but important capital improvements to promote the accessibility of its attractions and parks sites, in preparation for new compliance legislation that takes effect in January, 2010. These improvements focus on increasing physical accessibility of wheelchairs and strollers and should be especially welcomed by the Commission's older guests and families who may utilize assistance devices.

"These improvements are designed to make all guests feel safe and welcome and are consistent with the Ontario Government's Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, which come into force on January 1, 2010. Over the coming year, all staff, volunteers and contractors who interact with the public are required to attend a specially designed training course to increase awareness and sensitivity," remarked Ms. Macdonald. "This will create a more positive customer service environment for guests and break down any perceived barriers that may have previously existed." She added that the new training program entitled "Talk to Me: Serving Customers with Disabilities" will be executed Commission-wide with staff, prior to site openings this season.

"In terms of making more sites accessible-friendly, our facilities were in relatively good shape, but there was definite room for improvement," said Ms. Macdonald. Some of the improvements made to the sites are as follows:

Upper Canada Village


Golf Course

Head Office Administration Building

More information relating to ongoing Accessibility Program improvement at The St. Lawrence Parks Commission will follow. The Commission hopes to pursue improved programs for the sight- and hearing-impaired in the near future. Last year, the Village's test program "A Tactile Tour" for the visually impaired was recognized with an Award of Excellence by the Ontario Museum Association for outstanding contribution to Ontario's museum community.

"We are very dedicated to increasing our visitor experiences," remarked Ms. Macdonald, "and this includes heightening the enjoyment for all of our guests."

The St. Lawrence Parks Commission is an agency of the Government of Ontario and operates facilities in 16 municipalities stretching from Kingston to the Quebec border, including Upper Canada Village, Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada, Crysler Park Marina, Upper Canada Golf Course, Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary and 12 campgrounds and day-use areas including the Long Sault and 1000 Islands Parkways.

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