Paralympic athletes break obstacles in Canada’s Great Trail

A group of Paralympic athletes are working through a partnership to help break down barriers for people with reduced mobility and make the Canadian Grand Trail easier to pass.

Trans Canada Trail has partnered with the Canadian Paralympic Games and AccessNow, an online platform that uses crowdsourced information to detail the accessibility status of locations around the world.

Together, they planned 13 sections of the Great Trail (formerly known as the Trans-Canada Trail) across the country, looking for existing obstacles, and noting areas that are already well accessible.

This information will be added to the AccessNow app in June so that people can decide which path to take. Eleanor McMahon, President and CEO of Trans Canada Trail, said her team, funded by Parks Canada, is currently “screening” the findings. The staff plans to share information with trial partners in municipalities across the country to see if remedial work can be done.

Watch | Map the Great Trail:

Canadian Paralympic swimmer Camille Bérubé helped map the capital sections of Ottawa and Gatineau, Quebec, hoping to raise awareness of sections that may pose challenges to some users. 0:30

McMahon said: “We want to improve the road and encourage more Canadians with mobility challenges, disabilities, and physical disabilities to enter this road.”

“Ideally, we want everyone to use it.”

The big trail spans 27,000 kilometers across Canada. McMahon said that during the pandemic, its usage has increased by 50%. She said that the partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Games is at the right time because the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have just been postponed and athletes have time at their disposal.

Map capital pathways

Camille Bérubé, 26, was one of the athletes who helped by mapping the capital trails in Ottawa and Gatineau, Quebec. The Canadian Paralympic swimmer was born with a disability in his legs due to cancer. She said that she didn’t think twice about volunteering time.

Richard Peter, who participated in the fifth Paralympic Games with the Canadian wheelchair basketball team, drew his footprints on the breakwater in Stanley Park in Vancouver. (Submitted by the Canadian Paralympic Games, photo by Alexa Fernando)

“I hope this is more autonomy and more awareness. I think many people are not necessarily aware of the obstacles that people with disabilities encounter every day. This is not only about the disabled, but actually everyone.” She said, Refers to families with baby strollers and elderly people.

Berube said that in Ottawa, the road is almost passable except for the Rideau Canal lock. However, due to the hills, Gatineau became more difficult.

“The purpose of cartography is not necessarily to completely change the landscape, but at least so that people can realize according to their own ability level, [they can] Held on a specific day. “she says.

Watch | The driving force to make the trail easier to pass:

Trans Canada Trail President and CEO Eleanor McMahon (Eleanor McMahon) said that the organization has worked with the Canadian Paralympics and AccessNow to identify broken roads, uneven roads and other troublesome areas that may cause problems Users with different mobility needs cause trouble. 1:02

Outdoor barrier-free facilities are important

Maayan Ziv, the founder and CEO of AccessNow, said that it is very important for her to contribute to this project, because the past year has indeed proved the importance of being able to get out of physical and mental health.

She said: “When we talk about education or health care, accessibility issues often arise, but when we talk about outdoor activities or sports and leisure, we don’t always talk about it.” “For me, it’s very ubiquitous. important.”

Ziv said that once tracking is enabled on the AccessNow app, people can share their experiences through accessibility. She said this is important because it will provide up-to-date information on the accessibility of all experiences in Canada, including outdoor activities.

Paralympic athlete Ben Brown painted the trail on the Harvest Moon Trail in Wolfville, New South Wales (Submitted by the Canadian Paralympic Games, photo by Paul Darrow)

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