Lifestyle & Parenting

Ensuring Every Body Can Access Canada’s Beaches

May 16, 2024

The unofficial start of summer also marks many Canadians’ first trip to the beach. Bu, of more than 2,500 beaches in Canada, less than 15 per cent are accessible. Changing beach accessibility in time for the May long weekend and National AccessAbility Week is Corona Canada, with its new Accessing Paradise Pledge. In partnership with mobility facilitator and Mobi-Mats representative Wade Watts, the initiative is transforming six major beaches starting in 2024, inviting those with mobility challenges to easily access to notable beaches. The first two beaches to receive accessibility improvements are Wellington Beach in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and Saint-Zotique in Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Quebec. You’re invited to nominate the additional four beaches to receive accessibility enhancements here. We chatted with Wade to learn more. —Vita Daily

Can you tell us more about the Accessing Paradise Pledge and how it aims to improve beach accessibility in Canada?

Corona’s Accessing Paradise Pledge is a commitment from the brand to transforming six beaches in 2024, by implementing increased mobility measures to make enjoying a sunset on a beach this summer possible for more Canadians.

Through our partnership, I have been working with Corona to determine the mobility measures that would be most impactful at these beaches (as somebody who knows first-hand how hard beaches can be to access), and the following measures are being implemented at each beach to improve the experience:

  • Portable Mobi-Mats: Earth-friendly and remarkably effective semi-rigid and roll-out portable pathways made with reclaimed ocean-bound plastics that help create a smooth transition to shorelines.
  • Mobi-Chairs: A floating wheelchair for in-water accessibility.
  • Mobi-Decks: Provide multi-purpose areas with added stability for beachgoers to gather and enjoy the outdoors.

I have helped Corona in selecting the first two beaches that will receive transformations in advance of National AccessAbility Week, and then Corona is calling on all Canadians to nominate a beach they would like to be seen made accessible. Corona will be starting transformations on 4 additional beaches this year.

What inspired the collaboration between Corona Canada, Wade Watts Mobility Facilitator, and Mobi-Mats for this initiative?

As a brand, Corona champions people getting outdoors to be in nature – particularly at sunsets – which as many people know are beautiful from the beach. The problem is, the majority of beaches in this country are not accessible. In fact, through my fieldwork, it is clear: “The Problem is not disability; the problem is accessibility.” I estimate that of the more than 2,500 beaches in Canada, less than 15% are accessible, the majority done by me. Corona sought me out for my focused expertise in the great outdoors accessibility space, and I wanted to understand how we could help bridge this gap and improve beach accessibility as a team, so that more Canadians can enjoy the beach, including viewing a sunset on a beach with their friends and families.

With my support and expertise, along with the great accessibility measures from Mobi-Mats, Corona is endeavoring to make select paradises more accessible for Canadians. This has never been done before, and there is no doubt that together with Corona, we are helping those with mobility challenges who live in and visit our beautiful country to enjoy the amazing beaches and sunsets.

How will the accessibility enhancements at Wellington Beach and Saint-Zotique serve as models for future improvements at other beaches?

Beach accessibility is dependent on the needs of each individual location. With Corona’s Accessing Paradise Pledge, we are aiming to provide easier access to select beaches across Canada with the addition of:

  • Mobi-Mats for easier access to shorelines,
  • Mobi-Chairs for in-water accessibility, and
  • Mobi-Decks to provide multi-purpose areas with added stability for those beachgoers to gather and enjoy the outdoors of the two beaches.

Each beach is different, but these two are our first with enhancements and we will learn and adapt along the way for the remaining beaches we transform. The overall goal here is to provide access to as many people as we possibly can with these measures.

Could you take us through the process of selecting the additional four beaches to receive accessibility enhancements?

Beginning May 15, Canadians can head to to share a beach they believe should be more accessible. As an Accessibility Consultant, I am providing my expertise and knowledge to help Corona identify beaches in need of accessibility improvements, suggesting enhancements that I know would be most beneficial and I will be assisting in vetting the list of submissions using my first-hand knowledge to ensure we can make an impact at the additional beaches chosen.

What specific challenges did you encounter in making beaches more accessible, and how were they addressed?

I have a list of criteria I typically use to measure accessibility that includes several important pieces. The biggest challenge was making sure the full list was addressed so that we could rightfully claim we had made the beaches more accessible. That list is as follows:

  • Access to the beach itself, either by an accessible trail, boardwalk, ramp, etc.
  • Accessible parking close to the location of the Mobi-Mat installation
  • An accessible washroom
  • A guarantee that the installations will be looked after and maintained and have a place to store the equipment over the winter months
  • Mobi-Chair safety and sign out policy and procedures
  • A willingness to continue with accessibility improvements and to have full cooperation from the municipality, including adding to the budget for installation, removal, and maintenance (weekly)
  • Any signage to be installed is to be approved by Wade for wording and words that matter to ensure accuracy

As the Accessibility Consultant on this project, it’s my job to oversee and ensure we’re addressing each criterion at the same time, ensuring the most dignity, independence, and equality.

How do you envision the impact of these accessibility improvements on the overall beach experience for individuals with mobility challenges?

With Corona’s Accessing Paradise Pledge, the hope is that Canadians with mobility challenges, like myself, can experience more beach sunsets on more shorelines, and enjoy time with friends and family on the beach and in the water! The measures we are implementing allow for this, and I am excited to see more Canadians be able to enjoy our beaches this summer and beyond.

In what ways do you plan to raise awareness about accessible beaches and encourage more Canadians to nominate beaches for enhancements during National AccessAbility Week?

Corona has announced its Accessing Paradise Pledge this week in advance of National AccessAbility Week and with my support, we’re reaching out to media nationwide to talk about the pledge and highlight the local impact in Wellington and Saint Zotique to date. We also hosted a launch event yesterday at Wellington Beach to unveil the new accessibility measures to the community, which saw a great turnout!

Additionally, Corona has teamed up with influencers with mobility challenges to be the first to experience the beach transformations, just like I am here in Wellington. These partnerships help to further amplify our mission and encourage Canadians to get involved in the selection process! 

Locals will be invited to learn more about the beach accessibility with signage at each beach to indicate the new accessibility measures to educate and inform beach go-ers on the equipment and how to use it.

All measures, including my own personal outreach efforts direct Canadians to the landing page to ensure we are getting as many people involved in our endeavor and nominating the next beaches we will transform!

Beyond physical accessibility, what other considerations are being taken into account to ensure an inclusive beach experience for all visitors?

Corona’s Accessing Paradise Pledge addresses mobility-specific barriers at select beaches as a starting point for expanding beach access to more Canadians this summer and beyond.

What long-term strategies are in place to sustain and expand the Accessing Paradise initiative beyond the initial six beaches?

I know first-hand that beach accessibility needs to be addressed in Canada. Having personally visited, audited, consulted or educated at hundreds of Canadian beaches from coast-to-coast-to-coast over the years and helped make a majority of the 15% more accessible, I know it’s not going to happen overnight.

The first two beaches that Corona has transformed are part of a larger commitment to improve six beaches this year with its Accessing Paradise Pledge. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with Corona and Mobi-Mats to make a positive impact by expanding accessibility measures at select beaches in Canada.

How can local communities and organizations get involved in supporting and promoting beach accessibility efforts across Canada?

I encourage Canadians to visit and let us know which amazing beach should be next for some great accessibility upgrades and follow us @CoronaCanada on Instagram to stay updated on Corona Canada’s Accessing Paradise pledge. In the meantime, we also encourage municipalities to investigate the current accessibility conditions of their beach to make improvements, allowing greater access to all who live in or visit your communities.


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