Sat. Feb 24th, 2024
Beach Accessibility in Ontario Parks

Beaches can be an accessibility challenge for park visitors who use walkers or wheelchairs. Due to soft sand, the wheels and legs of walkers can sink, making them difficult to maneuver.

As part of our commitment to making parks as accessible as possible, more parks are offering beach accessibility measures to help visitors explore our shores.

One of these parks is Pancake Bay, located on the shores of Lake Superior.

Pancake Bay Beach

Pancake Bay is home to over 3 km of the most beautiful white sand beaches in Ontario. Now, those beaches are even more accessible to park visitors.

Pancake Bay recently purchased two new all-terrain wheelchairs to help park visitors access the water.

Man in a large wheelchair with family on the beach

All-terrain wheelchairs have large wheels for easy movement over the bumps and potholes of a sandy beach. This way, visitors in wheelchairs can reach the water’s edge.

The other chair, a Mobi, is available for water use, meaning visitors can enjoy the cool blue waters of Lake Superior while in the park. It is floating, versatile and easy to use with the help of a helper.

Wheelchair pushed through water.

If you are interested in renting the chairs, call ahead and the park will reserve one for you. If you are a guest of the camp, you can visit the entrance checkpoint to request the chair.

Chairs are available free of charge. Park staff will leave your wheelchair anywhere in the park you need it.

beach mats

Beach mats are another way to help ensure that all visitors can enjoy the beaches.

Beach mats are portable, non-slip mats that are placed along beaches to allow easier movement with walkers, wheelchairs or strollers.

Beach mats placed along the sand leading to the water.

Five parks in Ontario have beach mats available to visitors: Sandbanks, Wasaga Beach, Quetico, Bonnechere and Long Point.

At Sandbanks, mats are laid out on July 1st for use throughout the summer. The mats are placed in front of the beach tent.

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park acquired its beach mats through an accessibility partnership with the City of Wasaga Beach. They are placed along the sand from early summer to fall and are maintained by park staff.

Beach mats spread out on Wasaga Beach. Beach mats at Wasaga Beach

In Quetico, an accessible trail winds through the Dawson Trail campground and leads to Grassy Beach. This trail leads to beach mats at the water’s edge.

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Long Point also has mats that help visitors overcome the sand dunes to access the beach.

Bonnechere beach access mats help all visitors enjoy the beach and get to the water’s edge.

Additional beach accessibility

Other Ontario parks working to make the boardwalk more accessible include:

Awenda Provincial Park

Park visitors with accessibility needs can get directly to the beaches of Georgian Bay with Awenda’s all-terrain wheelchair.

As long as there is someone to push the chair, you can navigate the most accessible trails, the boardwalk, and reach the beach. Some visitors also use the chair to move around the campsite.

This is a free service for visitors through the park office. Park staff can also meet you with the chair where you need it and collect it later.

Awenda also has waterfront accessibility on Kettle’s Lake. Visitors in wheelchairs can follow the platform to the water’s edge to enjoy a view of the beautiful lake or catch panfish.

Bonnèchere Provincial Park

Bonnechere beach access mats help all visitors enjoy the beach and get to the water’s edge.

Wide bright blue walkway to the water on a sandy beach

The park also acquired two “WaterWheels.” These all-terrain floating wheelchairs allow people with physical limitations to relax and enjoy the water with family and friends.

water wheelchair

WaterWheels are available throughout the operating season at the Davenport Centre/Park Store for visitors to sign out, free of charge.

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

Wasaga Beach has four wheelchairs: two all-terrain and two Mobi chairs for use in the water. All wheelchairs were purchased through a partnership with the city of Wasaga Beach.

Floating wheelchair at Wasaga Beach.

The user of Mobi wheelchairs must wear a life jacket at all times. It can be used in Beach Areas 2 and 5. One is available at the park office and the other at Nancy Island. All-terrain wheelchairs can be found at the same locations. All wheelchairs are available free of charge, but a deposit is required.

Wasaga Beach also has an accessible boardwalk in Beach Areas 1 and 2. All of the new comfort stations are accessible, with ramps and walkways for park visitors. There is one located in each beach area.

There is also an accessible fishing ramp in Beach Area 1. A platform has been built over the river so park visitors can fish from the edge.

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Sandbanks Provincial Park

Sandbanks also has beach wheelchairs available for park visitors. Wheelchairs cannot enter the water, but visitors can use them to get around the sandy beaches.

All-terrain beach wheelchair parked on the sidewalk.

Wheelchairs are available for rent at the Woodyard Rental Concession. Visitors wishing to use the chairs must fill out a form; however, chairs do not require a deposit.

Rondeau Provincial Park

This year, Rondeau received a new beach wheelchair available to park visitors. This chair can be used on the beach and in the water.

To rent the chair all you have to do is call the Visitor Center. Park staff will deliver the chair where it is needed and collect it later.

Stay tuned in the coming months as Rondeau will also receive a new all-terrain wheelchair.

Quetico Provincial Park

You can access Quetico’s beautiful Grassy Beach with a floating wheelchair or an all-terrain wheelchair available for loan at the Heritage Pavilion at Dawson Trail Campground.

These chairs are available free of charge and require a helper to push them. Chairs can be used to access the Boardwalk Trail, which runs from the Heritage Pavilion along the French River to the beach.

Port Burwell Provincial Park

Port Burwell has an all-terrain wheelchair available for your use. Chair rental is free for park visitors and can be used on park beaches.

Do you prefer a graph?

Park Floating Transport Wheelchairs Beach/trail transportation Beaches with wheelchair access mats Accessible playground equipment
He goes 2 1 1
Blue Lake 1 1
Bye 2 1
Brontë Creek 1 1 accessible swing
Driftwood 1
Esker Lakes 1
ferries 1 1 accessible swing
Grundy Lake 1 (path that used to be a road)
Kettle Lakes 1
Killarney 1
killer bear 1 1 3 (Installed in fixed locations for the summer)
The Upper Lake 1
Long stitch 1
neys 1
North Beach 1 1
pancake bay 1 1
Pinery 2 The canoe launch is accessible with the slope towards the water, although there are NO mats.
port bruce 1
Port Burwell 2
Peninsula 1 1
Quetico 1 1 1
Rene Brunelle 1 accessible swing
Rondo 2 1 1
Samuel de Champlain 1
Sandbanks 1 2 1
Turkey Point 1 1
Wasaga Beach 2 2 5