This page was originally published December 5, 2019.
Explore distinctive cities. Immerse yourself in nature. Satisfy your appetites. With British Columbia’s wide range of accessible options, everyone can find an experience they love.
British Columbia is diverse, and so are the options for making the most of your time here.
Communities across BC—from Whistler to Prince George to Kimberley—offer a variety of accessible options. Urban centres like Vancouver and Victoria offer significant infrastructure, making it easy for travellers of varying abilities to have an authentic, local experience.
Feel the transformative power of nature in BC Parks—the second-largest parks system in Canada—where many parks offer accessible features such as adaptive recreation equipment, trail systems, and universal-design considerations. Visit the BC Parks website to learn more about accessibility features in specific parks. One really cool way to experience BC Parks is to rent a wheelchair-accessible trailer and enjoy an RV camping experience.
Head to the mountains, where adaptive snowsports ensure winter adventure is accessible to everyone. Whistler Blackcomb is home to the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program, where trained and certified instructors, guides, and assistants help those with physical and cognitive disabilities access the slopes. In the Kootenay Rockies, Kimberley Alpine Resort has runs and terrain suitable for all alpine disciplines, and the on-mountain Kimberley Athlete Training Centre offers athlete training and sporting events for people with disabilities.
Learn more about accessible services and support offered by BC’s experience providers. As your needs may be specific, we recommend that you speak to staff directly.
For additional assistance in planning an accessible vacation in BC, a tour operator or travel agent may be able to provide customized support. In British Columbia, Travel for All provides specialized trip planning services for individuals with specific requirements when travelling.
To ensure that your home-away-from-home is equipped with every comfort, visit our accessible accommodations page for helpful information relating to mobility, vision, and hearing. Check with your hotel directly before booking to ensure your chosen accommodation fits your specific needs.
Accessible transportation options in British Columbia include air, road, rail, and ferry access.
One of the most accessible airports in the world, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is the main gateway to British Columbia. It has incorporated many resources, universal-design features, and customer support to ensure passengers with various abilities can navigate the airport and travel safely.
There are also options for navigating to and around around Vancouver. Translink is Metro Vancouver’s transportation network that includes a rapid transit system (SkyTrain), bus system, passenger-only ferry service (SeaBus), and train (West Coast Express).
Many of BC’s larger cities feature a range of accessible public transit options. Please visit BC Transit for more information on the options for your specific destination.
BC Ferries is one of the largest ferry operators in the world, providing passenger and vehicle service to many of BC’s coastal destinations including Vancouver Island. BC Ferries offers a variety of accessible services including Induction Loop Hearing Technology, specially equipped washrooms, elevators, and bus and coach services.
For visitors touring the province in a vehicle, there are several car rental agencies that have adaptive devices. In the greater Vancouver area, options include Alliance Mobility and Delta Wheelchair Vans.
If you are an out-of-province traveller with a parking permit (also referred to as placards, blue badges, decals, and disabled parking passes), you can learn more about travelling with your permit from The Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC).
Spinal Cord Injury BC is an organization dedicated to helping people with spinal cord injuries and related disabilities. Their Accessible Travel Guide is an excellent trip-planning resource that covers everything from packing to collecting your luggage at the airport.
Access BC is an initiative that assesses outdoor spaces in British Columbia and features in-depth accessibility specifications for many tourism destinations.
The Rick Hansen Foundation provides helpful resources and programs to enhance accessibility for those living in or travelling to BC.
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) offers programs and services to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.
Aira is a technology service that connects individuals with limited vision to trained agents.
For persons with hearing or speech impairment, there are services available at the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
A person with a disability accompanied by a guide dog or service dog has the same rights to access public places and services as a person not accompanied by a guide or service dog.
BC’s Guide Dog and Service Dog Act establishes a certification program for individuals with disabilities who require the assistance of a guide or service dog for daily living. This certification program is entirely voluntary and does not affect protections for persons with disabilities under BC’s Human Rights Code.
Although certification is in no way mandatory, individuals—including visitors to BC—may opt to obtain a certificate. Having a certificate can facilitate easier access to public places and services, and it enables individuals to use the complaint process provided for under the legislation.
Anyone who plans to visit BC along with their guide or service dog is encouraged to review this fact sheet prior to travel.
With locations in Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria, HME Mobility & Accessibility rentals provides travellers with a variety of products to help make travel around BC easy and safe.
If you require adaptive equipment for an outdoor adventure, please visit the British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS) or Power To Be for more information.
Rent a wheelchair-accessible trailer for a camping getaway from DROPLET trailer.
The Access 2 Card Program is designed for people of all ages who have a permanent disability and require the assistance of a support person. The Access 2 Card provides access to entertainment and cultural and recreation opportunities so individuals travelling with a support person can enjoy these experiences without an added financial burden. When an Access 2 Cardholder presents their valid card at any participating venue partner in BC, their support person receives free admission; the cardholder pays regular admission.
BC offers a wide variety of inclusive winter destinations. BC Adaptive Snowsports provides a list of BC ski areas that offer adaptive ski and snowboard programs.
The Whistler Adaptive Sports Program offers a wide range of summer and winter activities for people with both physical and cognitive disabilities.
Kootenay Adaptive Sport Association, based in Nakusp, offers rentals as well as guided mountain biking experiences through stunning terrain.
The British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society provides opportunities for people with physical disabilities to access outdoor recreation.
Power to Be is a non-profit organization that empowers people living with a barrier or disability to explore inclusive adventures rooted in nature.
Access Now is a crowd-sharing platform where others have mapped and rated the accessibility features of restaurants, hotels, stores, and more.