This past summer, I did something I’ve wanted to do for a
long time and visited Western Canada. My parents and I flew to Calgary, where
we rented a minivan—the only thing large enough to contain my walker, the rental
wheelchair, three suitcases and three adult humans—and drove to Vancouver over
two weeks before flying back from there. I saw some of the magnificence of
Canada—the Rockies, the Badlands, the Okanagan Valley—, which I will never
forget. Mainly thanks to the gajillion photos of mountains I now have on my
Of course, being disabled, I always had an eye out for accessibility in the places we visited. In this article I will share our destinations, with the highlights and lowlights from an accessibility point of view. Maybe it will help you in planning a future trip. And if not, you can just enjoy the beautiful photos!
Last September, for my 30th birthday, I was fortunate enough to receive two tickets to the Montreal Formula 1 Grand Prix, on June 9, 2019. And not just any tickets; tickets to accessible stands, built especially for disabled spectators. I didn’t even know such stands existed, so I was looking forward to seeing them!
Using a wheelchair is not something that came overnight for me, it’s not like one day I didn’t need one, and the next morning I did. It was gradual, like everything is with this disease. I was slowly losing my endurance, my balance, my coordination, tripping more often, falling and risking injury. Not to mention slowing down and forcing everyone with me to go slower. Even so, accepting a wheelchair, even for a short amount of time—in an airport, for instance—was a step I took a long time to be willing to make.
I’m Canadian; holding open doors for the people following us
is something of a national sport. Sometimes, it can be very useful for me. If
I’m walking into a building that has no automatic doors. If the door is heavy
and I’m struggling with my walker. If the door is set in a small, closed-in
place in which it would be a hassle to maneuver my walker around to have space
to open it.
“I’ve always been terrible in gym class.”
That’s my go-to response to one of the first questions people ask me when I tell them about my disability: “Have you always been disabled?”