Kéroul promotes adapted tourism without limits. Québec for All travel database.
The welcome mat is out for travellers with limitations. Kéroul, a non-profit organization that promotes accessible tourism, has created a travel database called Québec for All. “For all” means for travellers with reduced mobility, or those with hearing and vision impairments.
Québec for All provides details about more than 1,800 establishments certified as “fully accessible” or “partially accessible” by Kéroul. They include cultural and sports venues, nature sites, recreation paths and tourist attractions, plus about 370 lodging establishments, from campsites to five-star hotels.
The platform’s search engine enables travellers to geo-locate establishments that fit their needs. Québec for All covers urban life in Montreal and Quebec City and also the countryside, from the Gaspé in the east, to the Eastern Townships in the southeast, Outaouais in the west and Saguenay and Abitibi in the north.
In addition to the Québec for All rating system, Kéroul runs several travel-centric services at no charge, including an information service, by phone or email, and Facebook updates. As well, for an annual membership fee of $25, subscribers receive Le Baladeur magazine and a newsletter. Kéroul also organizes conferences so people with disabilities can pick up travel tips.
“The accessibility of a tourist establishment is not only about infrastructure,” said Julie-Anne Perrault, Kéroul’s marketing and communications coordinator. “It’s about the experience a traveller will have… the customer service, the assistance and tourism advice.
“All this adds up to make people comfortable and makes a place truly inclusive.”
Some of the adapted activities that Kéroul recommends are: La Grande Roue de Montréal (Ferris wheel) in the Old Port; water-skiing at Camp Massawippi; sailing with the Association Quebécoise de Voile Adaptée in Pointe-Claire; tactile art pieces at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; and paddle boarding with O’sijja.
About 450 lodging establishments are certified by Kéroul as “fully accessible.” These are the best of the best, designed so people with limited mobility don’t have to compromise.
Among them are: Monastère des Augustines in Quebec City, a remarkable makeover of a 17th-century nunnery into a darling boutique hotel with a wellness theme and religious art exhibits; Hotel Monville in downtown Montreal, a high-tech, modern getaway with a robot; ready-to-camp tents at Parc national d’Oka in the Lower Laurentians; Auberge des Gallant in Rigaud, the go-to place for good food and special occasions; and Chalets U, two gorgeous cottages in Austin in the Eastern Townships.
Also at the top of the list is Vita Bella B&B in St-Adolphe-d’Howard. Owned by Tom Silletta and his wife, Line Caissy, it is the only fully accessible B&B in Quebec.
In 2018, Vita Bella received an impressive rating of 9.9 out of 10 in the guest reviews of Booking.com. In 2017, the Quebec tourism ministry awarded Vita Bella its Prix Excellence.
Silletta has an unshakable commitment to the principles of Québec for All. He has coached both the Canadian Olympic cross-country ski team and the Canadian Paralympic team (his athletes won three gold medals in Vancouver in 2010).
Vita Bella, free of obstacles and clutter, has interiors with hardwood floors, extra-wide doorways and carefully positioned furniture.
The three guest rooms have lots of space and super-sized bathrooms equipped with vanities of a certain height, as well as roll-in showers or a tub with a transfer bench and security bars. The closet racks, thermostats and electrical outlets are within wheelchair reach, and the B&B has a phone that lights up, for hearing-impaired guests.
Outdoors, Silletta installed ramps around the property, so all guests can relax at the gazebo, the rock garden, the fire pit and the picnic table.
Vita Bella overlooks Lac Vingt Sous, and the B&B supplies small craft — two canoes, a pedal boat and a kayak.
Source: Montreal Gazette
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