Osooyos, British Columbia: Getting Ready to Roll!

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Osoyoos (officially pronounced /ɒˈsuːjuːs/ os-SOO-yoos;[1][2] commonly mispronounced /əˈsɔɪjuːs/ ə-SOY-yoos) wants to become one of the destinations of choice for people with disabilities. Let me register my vote in the "Yeah!" column.

Wikipedia lists this lakeside community as being often the hottest summer locations in Canada. What a great place for landlocked Canadians to set up a Sailability or Disabled Sailing Association group, accessible beaches, trails for slow walkers and wheelchair users. The rural setting leaves open the possibility of horses and hippotherapy, wheelchair accessible hot air balloons, or just a convenient hotel or retirement properties that fully adopt the principles of Universal Design.

Next on my accessible Okanagan wish list: Kelowna and Penticton.

Osoyoos eyes accessible tourism strategy

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um, I am glad that Osoyoos wants to be a destination of choice, however since my partner was the the minister in charge of tourism BC, there is no policy for accessibility issues at this time, indeed BC is downsizing which means eliminating disaibility toilets and parking spaces at official tourist locations. I can't speak for Osoyoos, but people should know that Canada unlike every other country in the western world does NOT have a disability rights act (though it has been in committee for over 20 years!). So that means that yes, stores can refuse to sell to you if you are disabled, or even let you in, same with food establishments and hotels. Also there is no standard on what accessible means - I took a BC accessible trip to a hotel which had the dining hall down a flight of stairs, the accessible pool UP three stairs and the 'accessible room' required going down 6 stairs to get to the bed. This is just a warning, as US citizens who are used to having rights because of a disability will get a rude awakening.

One place that has been fully rated is the Sunshine Coast (a ferry Ride from Vancouver) in the book by the local author called Sticks and Wheels: a disability guide to the Sunshine Coast and is the most extensive guide I have ever seen, it literally lists EVERY wheelchair door, every disabled parking spot and every park, beach, food establishment and others with maps indicating what can be done by people with canes, with walkers, with manual wheelchairs and with electric wheelchairs - EVERY park - including what bathroom facilities there are. We simply stayed at the hotel where the owner has a daughter with Spina Bifida, then drove to the accessible wheelchair parks and beaches, ate at the resturants, shopped, went up and down, over 70 miles of the sunshine coast going to at least six different provincial parks - right to the ones which WERE accessible and didn't have two steps up bridges and cedar steps down. I would hope that Osoyoos can attract the same level of tourism, by passing bylaws which have at least city enforcement.

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