The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is a Canadian non-profit that provides programs and advocacy for people with vision loss including literary support, mobility training, peer mentorship, career services, and kids’ camps. CNIB’s new CNIB Community Hub is unique, fully accessible space for blind Canadians, their family members, caregivers and friends; the first space of its kind in Canada.
CNIB’s Barrier Buster funding will go towards installing BlindSquare navigation beacons in the retail area around the Community Hub. Beacons link to the BlindSquare app and send information about the surrounding environment, including detailed information on each retail location (e.g., a restaurant beacon may describe the location of tables, washrooms, or staircases) to users. This technology gives blind travelers the knowledge they need to travel safely, confidently and independently.
Within the Greater Toronto Area, there are over 35,000 blind or partially sighted residents. Isolation is one of the biggest challenges for this community as many fear leaving their homes or limit their travel to well-known destinations. The project will give those with vision loss a equal opportunity to enjoy their surroundings.
Our project will fundamentally change the experience of the blind visitor within the Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue area, the neighbourhood adjacent to the Community Hub. Hundreds of blind or partially sighted individuals will visit this location on a weekly basis so installing BlindSquare navigation beacons at every retail space will mean that visitors can independently enjoy all amenities.
The Barrier Buster grant allows us to launch a new and innovative accessibility project that will increase the accessibility for blind travellers to this popular, vibrant Toronto neighbourhood. This project will completely alter the experience for every blind person who visits this neighbourhood, many on their way to the Hub for a training program or social event.