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  • Writer's pictureFiona Scott

Finding Canadian Experiences for Everyone; It's All About Perspective

As any traveller that has mobility challenges already knows, there are many details to review to ensure that all components of a trip are going to be fully accessible for everyone. This is what takes most of our time in building new packages for our clients. It's exciting to uncover a new experience, while often frustrating to learn of the needs to make it accessible. Hoteliers, tour companies and transit operators are fearful of costs, but recognize that quite simply, it's the right thing to do.

Woman stands in a bathroom to the right of the sink, showing where on the wall the mirror should reach in order to meet accessibility standards. Woman's reflection can be seen in the mirror. She is wearing black pants and a Cowichan sweater with waves on it.
SoulFly Experiences team member Nicole shows required height level for a bathroom mirror.

Educating people in what inclusion really means, requires absolute truths and acknowledging all needs. For this reason, we are very frank in our conversations with operators. There's no point in dancing around the toilet with etiquette concerns. Let's just tell it like it is. Things needs to change.

Our site inspections often reveal upgrades that are far more expensive than they need to be. Had the builders or designers been fully aware of requirements in the beginning of their work, there would be little to no cost implications for accessibility. But as accessibility becomes an after-thought to many able bodied professionals, the adaptations become more challenging. And this is where every accessibility advocate will re-iterate that there needs to be a shift in perspective to get it right in the beginning. Shouldn't everything just be designed for full inclusion in the first place?

It's a work in progress! We love those moments when we see the lightbulb go on. When an individual tells us that their sister recently used a walker to get over a balance issue and faced all the challenges of having a shower. Or when an elder recently joined a tour, and had to turn back at the most beautiful part of the walk because there were too many steps leading up to a viewing platform. These are the 'aha' moments that make us feel great, as it's a step closer to understanding, change and full inclusion.

Cartoon of a man shoveling snow off of school entrance steps. A child in a wheelchair asks if he can shovel the ramp, and the man responds that he will after clearing the steps. Children add that if he clears the ramp first they can all get in.
Understanding the accessibility perspective

So to our partners that have blushed when we've asked them to sit on the toilet (bracing themselves with the wall support that's too high): we know you initially rolled your eyes at our suggestions. But when you then embraced us with gratitude after we sent you clients (post upgrades!), THAT made our day.

And to our potential clients that are reviewing whether our Canadian experiences are really worth it? Yes, they are! And if they're also a work in progress, we promise to tell you like it really is.


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