Accessability mapping app now part of Ontario Parasport Games in Whitby and around Durham


Published January 11, 2023 at 11:52 am

Durham Region has partnered with AccessNow on an accessibility mapping app to increase inclusion confidence for residents and visitors to the 2023 Ontario Parasport Games.

AccessNow is a free app available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. It allows users to discover accessible and non-accessible pinned locations in 35 countries around the world. Residents and visitors can also search, rate and discover municipal facilities, local restaurants, hotels, shops and attractions on the app.

“As a wheelchair user, AccessNow can help give me confidence that I can access and enjoy restaurants, businesses, and recreational facilities with my family and friends. I’m proud our community is taking leadership in accessible mapping,” said Games Co-Chair Mike Frogley.

His sentiments were echoed by Access Now founder and CEO Maayan Ziv, who said she was “thrilled” to support the leadership initiative that Durham Region is showcasing. “By taking a proactive approach to highlighting the accessibility of spaces throughout the region on AccessNow, citizens, visitors and guests alike will be empowered to enjoy barrier-free inclusive experiences.”

All Games venues have been added to the app. The Region and its eight municipalities have committed to mapping all of their facilities and Durham businesses are being encouraged to add their accessibility information to the app.

The Durham Region 2023 Ontario Parasport Games, which run from February 3 to 5, are being hosted at nine venues across the Durham, including the Abilities Centre in Whitby. More than 300 athletes will compete in 11 parasports, and there will also be three demonstration sports just added: Para Equestrian, PowerHockey, and Floor Curl.

Spectators are encouraged to ‘Be the Roar’ and to bring non-perishable food donations in lieu of admission fees.

“Durham Region remains committed to identifying, removing and preventing barriers,” said Durham Chair John Henry. “We take a lot of pride in working together to make our community more accessible and welcoming, and we are creating a stronger region where everyone can live, work and succeed. AccessNow is a remarkable tool to help us be better together.”

The Games have also collaborated with public libraries in  Ajax, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, and Whitby to provide Sensory Support Kits that are available for loan.

The sensory kits contain an assortment of items designed to reduce stress and anxiety, stimulate learning, and provide comfort in unfamiliar environments. Developed by Autism Canada, the kits contain several tools, as well as an information pamphlet on how to support individuals experiencing a sensory shutdown.

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