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Delivering universally accessible design, the Toronto Parapan American Games has left a lasting legacy for inclusivity at sports venues. Having aimed to create the most accessible games ever, our inclusive design consultancy, Human Space, worked with the Planning, Design and Compliance team on the Athlete’s Village and four of the new sports venues for the Canadian edition of the event.

Following in-depth conversations with a wide array of stakeholders, subtle - but vitally important - design details emerged throughout the planning process. From multiple handrails positioned at various heights to universal washrooms accommodating for mobility devices and sport chairs of various sizes, the venues rejected a one size fits all approach in favour of evidence-based design options.


Here we summarise the top five considerations for when designing for accessibility for sports venues:

1. Accessible service counters

Including ticket windows, concessions, and retail, as well as waiting areas, and queuing guides.

2. Accessible amenities

Such as universal design washrooms with adult size change table installed, as well as accessible drinking fountains or water bottle filling stations.

3. Spectator areas

That provide designated clear floor spaces, accessible, adaptable and companion seating, and mobility device storage and charging areas.

4. Service animal areas

Including relief areas and tethering hooks.

5. Areas of rescue assistance

Or protect in place or temporary emergency waiting areas, which are spaces where people can safely wait for rescue assistance during an evacuation.