Circle of Excellence

The RHF Accessible Cities Award Circle of Excellence showcases five special places in Canada that exemplify best practices towards universal access. The five places chosen for their exceptional accessibility and inclusivity are:

 

Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg, MB

  • The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a world class destination located on Treaty One territory in the heart of the Metis nation. Careful archeological, design and planning methodologies were employed to ensure a respectful outcome reflective of barrier-free goals to access for all people.
  • Exhibits and programming are accessible by design. There are over a dozen methods of communicating the human rights message with visitors including:
    • Staff and volunteers speak 70+ languages;
    • Tactile and colour contrasting lettering, Braille, ASL translation on all screens;
    • Apps for android and smart phones and near field communication tools;
    • Open captioning;
    • Signage in French and English; and
    • Universal key pad options throughout the displays.
  • The building also boasts a number of state-of-the-art physical access features including:
    • Accessible washrooms with large turning radiuses;
    • Universal toilet rooms complete with adjustable transfer benches;
    • Accessible entrance, power doors, elevators, ramps and low level reception desks;
    • Accessible resting areas like the reflection ponds;
    • Accessible benches with optional back rests and variable widths between arm rests;
    • Complete access to the outdoor courtyard; and
    • Accessible ATM with audible plug-ins, and display plug-in options
  • Architects: Antoine Predock, Antoine Predock Architect Studio and Grant Van Iderstine,Architecture 49 
  • Owner: The Government of Canada  
  • Construction by: PCL Construction

 

Richmond Olympic Oval, Richmond, BC

  • The Richmond Olympic Oval provides universal access to state-of-the-art sport, health, wellness, culture and entertainment opportunities for users of all physical abilities. As an Olympic venue facility, the Oval was built for the Games, but designed for legacy, serving community, regional and national sport hosting and training needs of athletes of all abilities. The Oval was also purposely designed to be inclusive for both athletes and spectators. 
  • The integrative and inclusive nature of programming at the Richmond Olympic Oval benefits people with disabilities and raises awareness of the general public, challenging preconceived notions about ‘disability’.
  • Accessible features include:
    • Accessible parking and transit;
    • Accessible ramps and paths to barrier-free entrances and exits;
    • Extra-large capacity elevators that lead to all three programming levels;
    • Accessible washrooms, change rooms, team rooms, and locker rooms;
    • Adaptive equipment and accessible fields of play (track, courts, rinks, climbing wall, paddling centre); and
    • Inclusive signage, wayfinding and communications.
  • Architect: Cannon Design Architecture, Inc 
  • Owner: City of Richmond  
  • Construction by: Dominion Fairmile Construction Ltd.

 

Walterdale Theatre, Edmonton, AB

  • The Walterdale Theatre is a non-profit amateur theatre that puts on several shows a year for approximately 150 patrons. The theatre building was a Fire Hall until 1976 when it was converted into a theatre that would accommodate all types of people with different abilities. It is now considered a Provincial Registered Historic Resource.
  • Wanting to make it a barrier-free environment for the Hard-of-Hearing (HOH) community, the theatre invested in an audio frequency induction loop system that allows HOH patrons to pick up audio directly by hearing aids, without the need for a special receiver. This was done both at the ticket counter and in the theatre proper.
  • The theatre has also gone beyond what is required for those with mobility challenges. A great deal of time and money was spent adding 2 accessible stalls in each bathroom and improving accessible seating to now accommodate at least 20 wheelchair user patrons at each show.
  • Architect: David Murray Architects 
  • Owner: City of Edmonton  
  • Installer for loop technology: Lee Ramsdell, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association- Edmonton Branch
  •  

    Celebration Square, Mississauga, ON

    • Located in the heart of downtown Mississauga, Celebration Square is a major destination for people who live, play and work in Mississauga
    • Celebration Square is a central space for civic and cultural events. It is an age-friendly, universally designed space that provides fitness, entertainment, relaxation, and enjoyment for all ages and abilities including a playground, yoga classes, closed captioned movies, seniors’ events, ethno-cultural and Canada Day festivities, and a weekly Farmers' Market .
    • The Square includes universally designed features such as:
      • Accessible tables in the outdoor patio area;
      • Accessible main stage with a ramp;
      • Accessible back of house washroom and change facilities for performers;
      • Sloped ramps throughout the site to deal with the grade differences;
      • VIP pavilion area with automatic doors and a universal washroom;
      • Accessible garden, a quiet contemplative area with plants and flowers;
      • Interactive water feature (splash pad area in the Summer), becomes a rink in the Winter;
      • Universal toilet room in upper square;
      • Colour contrasted striping on the stair edges throughout the site;
      • A dedicated elevator was installed from the underground parking area with push button access to the elevator vestibule area;
      • Accessible parking spaces;
      • Colour-coded and thematic wayfinding in the underground parking;
      • Location maps, LED lighting and a designated specialized TransHelp stop area.
    • Architect: CS&P Architects Inc. 
    • Owner: City of Mississauga  
    • PCL Construction

     

    François Dupuis Recreation Centre, Ottawa, ON

    • François Dupuis Recreation Centre is a state-of-the-art, one-stop shop for the fitness needs of Ottawa’s east end citizens.
    • A variety of programs for everyone in the family are offered in three multipurpose rooms.
    • This space was nominated as it was the first recreation centre that utilized the City of Ottawa's Accessibility Design Standards, first edition (2012) that incorporates accessibility as a design principle.
    • The recreation centre has numerous accessibility features including:
      • Accessible parking and entrances, and counters;
      • Accessible washrooms and change rooms;
      • Slip-resistant surfaces;
      • Directional, tactile, high contract and large-letter signage;
      • Accessible pools and dry sauna;
      • Accessible fitness room and equipment; and
      • Two community activity rooms equipped with assisted listening devices.
    • Architect: GRC Architects 
    • Owner: City of Ottawa