There’s nothing like the feeling of being enveloped by the cool, sparkling waters of a lake on a sticky summer day. This is a feeling that we should all be able to experience. Beaches are for everyone—including those with physical disabilities.
The truth is, the water doesn’t care about what you look like, how old you are, what your physical abilities are, or anything else for that matter.
The water is just happy that you’re there.
Earlier this year, Swim Drink Fish (the nonprofit behind Great Lakes Guide) became the Canada’s National Operator of the Blue Flag program.
What is a Blue Flag beach? A Blue Flag beach is a beach that is being managed sustainably, is being monitored for water quality, and has high-quality services and safety procedures in effect.
A Blue Flag also tells you that the beach is accessible and inclusive.
Not only are Blue Flag beaches accessible to the elderly and baby buggies, they are also accessible to those with physical disabilities or visual impairments.
Blue Flag beaches feature walkway systems that allow wheelchairs to travel on sand and pebble, amphibious wheelchairs* that allow people to go into the water, and special devices that use a phone app to help guide those who are visually impaired.
*All-terrain (ATV) wheelchairs are able to travel over sand, while buoyant Mobi chairs (also known as “amphibious” chairs or “Hippocampe” chairs) can be submerged in water.
In Ontario, several beaches have implemented mobimats for wheelchair users, improved accessible boardwalks, and provided all-terrain or amphibious wheelchairs available for use.
Send us pictures of your favourite accessible outdoor space by posting your photos with #greatlakesguide and tagging us @greatlakesguide