Integration & Inclusion in Boundary Country – Part 2 – Christina Lake
Accessibility – Christina Lake
Outdoor adventures are abundant in Christina Lake, as are the positive vibes and willingness to adapt and expand knowledge about accessible experiences. Be sure to stop in at the Christina Lake Welcome Centre. The staff here are eager to tell you about the peaceful pace of life in Christina Lake and the recreation and activities it has to offer.
Spend some time at the Welcome Centre in the open and spacious main lobby area where you can plan your next adventures while enjoying the best quality coffee you have ever tasted, Oso Negro, from the Pony Espresso Bistro. Before heading out, tour the local art gallery and gift shop inside the Centre. Be sure to experience the amazing 3D floor painting by getting your picture taken teetering on the edge of trestles and waterfalls.
Accessible washroom facilities are available, making your visit to the welcome Centre fully inclusive and accessible!
Get checked in for a night or two at the New Horizon Motel, where you will be pleasantly surprised at the accessible features that their accessible guest room has to offer. A large open and spacious room with two queen beds, a huge accessible washroom with a wheel-in / no-threshold shower, a higher height toilet with grab bars, and a wheel under sink vanity. It is also equipped with a kitchen, a sitting area, and an outdoor patio with a BBQ. For ease and convenience, the accessible parking space is located just outside the guest room door.
KVR Great Trail
Now that you are all settled in be brave, courageous, and get wild and adventurous with Wild Ways! This is an experience that at first glance may not seem “accessible,” but when partnered with real, authentic, and passionate individuals who have a desire to learn how to become inclusive, this is where the magic begins!
With a plan in place and support from the entire group, Josh and his crew at Wild Ways were up for the challenge, transporting and integrating a paraplegic and her handcycle into the group cycling adventure on the KVR Great Trail, Paulson to Christina Lake. For a user-friendly experience on this section of the trail, a handcycle with off-road tires and e-assist is recommended, like the Sport On XCR adaptive mountain bike or the Bowhead Reach adventure cycle. Either would be perfect for this ride!
If you don’t have your own handcycle or adaptive mountain bike, contact Kootenay Adaptive Sport Association or CRIS Adaptive Adventures for rentals and support.
Next on the adventure itinerary is a boat tour of Christina Lake. Experience an afternoon in the sun with family and friends touring the warm, crystal clear waters of Christina Lake with Captain Bob Freeman on his Tintanic! This is a pontoon boat that Bob has designed universally. Inside it is open and spacious with seats around the perimeter, allowing wheelchair users to transfer on to if they choose.
Call Captain Bob Freeman @ 250-442-7546
Accessible loading and offloading take place at Schulli Resort’s dock. Once getting across a small section of sand, which is never all that wheelchair accessible, and over a small threshold onto the dock, it’s a barrier-free, level and easy access into the boat.
Plan ahead and order lunch from the Christina Lake Marina Grill & Deli, which can be picked up en route and enjoyed on board. Then head out to explore the northeast lakeshore rock cliffs in search of indigenous pictographs. These are the legacies of the Kettle Valley indigenous peoples that offer a glimpse into their stories and a past that remains largely unspoken. It was an incredibly inspiring feeling to have been able to get up close and view these historic sites.
As you can see, this adventure through Boundary Country was packed full of inclusive and accessible experiences!
Although all of our physical environments may never be completely accessible, we can create an emotional connection where acceptance, integration, and inclusion can ignite the realization and the understanding of “why” our physical spaces and environments need to be accessible.
To some degree and at some point in everyone’s life, we will all require an accessible feature to continue our adventures alongside family and friends. Some of these requirements are more apparent than others, but we all have them.
Let’s make it our collective responsibility to support and uplift everyone in our communities regardless of their age, ability, gender, or culture. This can begin with an inclusive attitude and mindset, allowing that to be the catalyst towards building and creating physical environments accessible for everyone to enjoy.
Happy Exploring – Happy Adventures!
By Sonja Gaudet
Sonja Gaudet is a retired 3 X Paralympic Gold Medalist and a Canadian Order of Sport Inductee 2020/21. She lives in Vernon with her husband Dan and their two adult children Alysha and Colten. Sonja’s role with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and Spinal Cord Injury BC aligns with her passion for exploring and experiencing accessible adventures throughout the Okanagan region.