Rolling my Way Into New Places and New Spaces
Most of the time, I write about how places—and Ottawa in general—are severely lacking in wheelchair accessibility, along with the fact that our city councillors and our mayor continue to ignore the needs of people with disabilities.
Well, this week, I’ll be focusing on a few positives.
For the past week or so, I’ve been exploring while enjoying the (finally) beautiful summer weather.
In my travels, I discovered a few places that I want to share with you. All of the places I want to share with you have one very important thing in common; they’re all wheelchair accessible!
My first stop was the new Bistro on Wellington, located outside of the NCC Info Centre on Wellington Street, directly across from Parliament.
The patio offers plenty of space for wheelchairs to manoeuvre and a fantastic view of the Parliament buildings.
There are two things that I feel that I must mention about this place. First, you must order at the stand if you wish to order something. That could be an issue if you’re non-verbal/communication difficulties, or visually impaired etc. The second thing I will point out is that I didn’t check out the bathroom situation.
Based on my experience in the past, there is an accessible bathroom located on the second floor. The NCC also confirmed to me that the elevator is still there.
Of course, the big question in my mind is, what if the elevator is broken? Nobody seems to like that question, but it’s always on my mind wherever I go. For the time being, I do consider the NCC Bistro on Wellington Street to be wheelchair accessible.
For more details about all four NCC Bistro locations, check out https://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/bistro.
Next on my list is a place that I knew had wheelchair-accessible bathrooms.
I’ve stopped at this place a few times just for that reason. The place that I’m referring to is Queen St Fare which has seven places to eat or drink from that include:
Out of those seven, Q Bar is the only one that stays open after 4:00 p.m.
Queen St. Fare has several regular events, mainly concerts, both free and ticketed.
Last week, a friend and I saw a free concert at Queen St. Fare featuring Justin Duhaime. The show was great, and it’s nice to see that Ottawa has a bar/concert venue that is 100 percent wheelchair accessible. I’ll say it’s essential to easily get to the bathroom at a bar or an event.
For more information about Queen St. Fare and upcoming events, please visit their website at https://queenstfare.ca/
I have saved the best for last.
Before the pandemic, friends and I attended a few events organized by the Ottawa Valley Roller Derby. Most of their events were held at Brewer Arena. Initially, I knew nothing about accessibility at Brewer Arena or if any PWD had ever attended one of their events.
As it turns out, not only was there an accessible entrance, but I also happened to know one of the players.
I quickly got to know the league after I attended a few games.
Unfortunately, the pandemic hit, and everything came to a screeching halt.
Brewer Arena became a massive vaccination site. Needless to say, the brakes were put on hold for the OVRD.
I was sad because it was always a really fun night out, full of action and excitement.
Fast forward to last year. I suddenly started seeing posts on social media from the OVRD saying they had started holding tryouts and practice sessions again.
I was both nervous and excited at the same time. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure if their events would be at the same venue, and if they weren’t, would they be held at an arena that was wheelchair accessible?
As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about.
The first two events were held again at the Brewer Arena. I was unable to attend them due to various reasons.
When I was at Bluesfest, I happened to (not literally) bump into a friend who’s still a part of the Ottawa Valley Roller Derby.
A few days later, she reached out to me on behalf of the Ottawa Valley Roller Derby to ask if I’d be interested in ensuring that their next show, which will be at the McNabb Arena, is wheelchair accessible.
I’m happy to say that, yes, McNabb Arena is wheelchair accessible, and so are the bathrooms.
Here are the details for the Roller Derby Double Header
Date: Saturday, July 29th, 2023
Tickets: $15 – Kids 10 & under get in free. Tickets are available at the door.
Time: Doors open at 5:30 pm. The action begins at 6:00 pm. For those using Para Transpo, I suggest booking your return trip for 9:30 pm.
Location: McNabb Arena (180 Percy Street)
For more information on Ottawa Valley Roller Derby, including their schedule, please visit their website at https://ottawavalleyrollerderby.com/
I hope to see many of you there.
Until next time, keep on rolling.
Header image: Courtesy NCC and Ryan Lythall