The truth is, the water doesn’t care about what you look like, how old you are, what your physical abilities are, or anything else for that matter.

The water is just happy you’re there.

What makes a beach accessible?

Montrose Beach on Lake Michigan. Photo Credit: uptowner (Flickr: Link)

Swim Drink Fish (the nonprofit behind Great Lakes Guide and partner in Biinaagami) is Canada’s National Operator of the Blue Flag program.

A Blue Flag beach is one that is being managed sustainably, monitored for water quality, and has high-quality services and safety procedures in effect.

A Blue Flag also tells you that the beach is accessible and inclusive.

Photo Credit: Foundation for Environmental Education

Not only are Blue Flag beaches accessible to the elderly and baby buggies, they are also accessible to those who are differently abled or have visual impairments.

Blue Flag beaches feature walkway systems that allow wheelchairs to travel on sand and stone, amphibious wheelchairs* that allow people to go into the water, and special devices that use a phone app to help guide those who are visually impaired.

*All-terrain (ATV) wheelchairs are able to travel over sand, while buoyant Mobi chairs (also known as “amphibious” chairs or “Hippocampe” chairs) can be submerged in water.

Which beaches in Ontario are accessible?

In Ontario, several beaches have implemented mats for wheelchair users, improved accessible boardwalks, and provided all-terrain or amphibious wheelchairs available for use.