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CNIB brings accessibility app to Victoria Park in downtown Regina
The Canadian National Institute to the Blind has brought a new accessibility program to Victoria Park and City Square Plaza.
It’s the first city park in Canada to become BlindSquare enabled, CNIB said.
Ashley Nemeth, the program lead for advocacy with CNIB, was able to visit the Cenotaph in Victoria Park for the first time thanks to Blindsquare.
"It was really cool," said Nemeth. "I was able to go up to it and touch it and learn a little bit about it."
She can now walk through the park and know exactly where she's going to end up.
BlindSquare technology gives information about businesses through an event app available for free. Information is shared through a voiceover, including business names, general layout, online menus and bathrooms.
"For CNIB the goal of this project was to make downtown more accessible and inclusive for people with vision loss. We also wanted to help community members understand that wayfinding technology like this enables people with vision loss to navigate independently," said Christall Beaudry, executive director of CNIB Foundation Saskatchewan, in a news release.
An anonymous donor helped CNIB put a beacon for the technology on The Copper Kettle, O’Hanlon’s, Pressed, SaskPower, city hall and the Regina Public Library.
"As a long time local business based downtown, we welcomed this great opportunity to make our city centre more welcoming and accessible to those with vision loss so they too can enjoy the wonderful amenities and local businesses our city centre has to offer," said Anna Gardikiotis, family owner of The Copper Kettle and O'Hanlon’s.
There are also GPS points of interest and navigational markers throughout the park, which point out pathways and play areas.
"People who have vision loss (like me) are now able to travel independently in a much safer way and experience Victoria Park in a way they couldn't before," said Nemeth. "For downtown businesses this also brings new customers, the vision loss community, into their establishments. It is a win-win for everyone involved."
Users will also be flagged about activities and changes in the park, like the Farmers Market and outdoor concerts.