The Tourism Establishment Accessibility Program: a feature on the Ecomuseum Zoo

The Tourism Establishment Accessibility Program: a feature on the Ecomuseum Zoo

Attractions to discover, March 22, 2021 2021-03-22

The Tourism Establishment Accessibility Program (also known as the PAET) aims to provide financial support to tourism businesses looking to transform or improve their infrastructures in order to make them accessible to visitors with a disability. The Ecomuseum Zoo took part in this program and told us how it helped make the attraction more accessible. This feature is produced in partnership with Kéroul and Événements Attractions Québec.

Zoo Ecomuseum
Photo credit: Zoo Ecomuseum

The Ecomuseum Zoo, the only outdoor zoo on the Island of Montreal

Located on the western tip of the island, in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, the Ecomuseum Zoo is a non-profit organization that allows visitors to see many species of Quebec’s wildlife. The animals live in habitats resembling their natural environments as closely as possible. These animals are injured, orphaned or born under human care, they cannot be returned to the wild and their well-being is the staff’s top priority.

The executive director at the Ecomuseum Zoo, David Rodrigue, explains that the Kéroul accessibility program allowed the zoo to carry out relatively simple adjustments that made a big difference.

Automatic doors as the key to accessibility

The Ecomuseum Zoo’s accessibility project included a number of adjustments that were a big improvement overall. Among other things, those adjustments made it possible to improve signage, rearrange the parking lot and make the bathrooms wheelchair-accessible. The heart of the project, however, involved finally having automatic doors installed. “That was 90% of the project. Before that, we would physically open the doors for people ourselves", Mr. Rodrigue mentioned.

In fact, the need to change the manually operated doors was the comment mentioned most frequently by visitors who use wheelchairs.

The new doors, in place since November 2019, were noticed by visitors right away and have been well-appreciated. Those doors are helpful not only for visitors who use wheelchairs, but also for many parents, who now find it easier to get around the site with strollers.

The support of the Kéroul program

The Kéroul grant made it possible for the Ecomuseum Zoo to replace the doors immediately and also allowed them to correct several small details. Without the support of the program, the doors would probably still not be changed.

Mr. Rodrigue offers a word of encouragement to other tourism organizations, emphasizing that the accessibility program was worthwhile and very helpful: "When we took the time to look at Kéroul and what it meant, that convinced us it was possible for us to make the necessary adjustments and to get those doors, which were the biggest piece in terms of costs. Kéroul is there and I encourage people to take the time to contact them.”

An attraction worth discovering again or for the first time

The Ecomuseum Zoo is the ideal destination for all animal lovers, who will be delighted to watch the Arctic foxes, Canada lynx, birds of prey, river otter and many others. The Ecomuseum Zoo’s outdoor circuit, which is entirely accessible, has been open to visitors again since February 12.

Zoo Ecomuseum
River otter at the Ecomuseum Zoo. Photo credit: Victoria De Martigny

Other members of Événements Attractions Québec have also taken part in the Tourism Establishment Accessibility Program offered by Kéroul. You can also read our other articles in this series about the Village du Bûcheron, the Reford Gardens and the Trou de la Fée Cavern.

In partnership with logo Kéroul

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