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Access Award-winner to be announced on December 3

November 27, 2014 -

At a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 3, the City of Kingston, in partnership with the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC), will honour the winner of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities Access Award. 

The public is welcome to attend the ceremony from 1 to 3 p.m. (Awards Ceremony at 1:30 p.m.) on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at the INVISTA Centre, 1350 Gardiners Rd.  Assistive listening devices will be available.  For any other assistive needs, please contact Cheryl Hitchen at 613-546-4291, ext. 4806 or email chitchen@cityofkingston.ca

The 2014 Access Award nominees are:

  • Assisted Living Renovations. Created by Neil Garrison, this company focuses on providing home modifications and renovations to improve accessibility and allow individuals to allow individuals to live in their homes longer, while ensuring both their safety and independence. He partners with customers to develop a plan that suits their exact needs and requirements. 
  • Kingston 4 Paws Service Dogs. This unique not-for-profit service trains dogs for people with a range of disabilities including autism, seizures, PTSD, mobility challenges and more. In addition to assisting their owners in their daily lives, the dogs also enhance public awareness of disabilities when they are out in the community with their owners.
  • The Kingston Sheep Dog Trials Festival. Through securing grants from the Province, the City's Culture and Recreation Special Events team was able to purchase an accessible path mat, assistive listening devices and an accessible seating area for this premier rural event held annually in August. In addition to these items, other accessible features include accessible parking, drop off zones, accessible wagon rides, accessible portable washrooms and an accessible shuttle.
  • Happy Soul Project. "What makes you different is what makes you beautiful." That's the theme of this organization and its founder, Tara McCallan. After her daughter was born with Down Syndrome and other challenges, Tara created the Happy Soul Project to inspire people to look at life and those with special needs differently.  Started and run locally, it brings world-wide awareness and education that those with special needs are capable.
  • Access Champions. Created by Ellen Flanagan, this volunteer-staffed organization strives to equalize opportunities on the Queen's University's campus by addressing challenges and barriers experienced by those in the Queen's community.  The Champions provide guided tours and emotional support – and connect people to needed resources. 
  • Suraj Kumar. As the owner of City Taxi, Suraj purchased the first two accessible taxis in Kingston. These are available on demand 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The taxis provide a perfect complement to the existing Kingston Transit accessible fleet and the Kingston Access Bus by providing another option for those in wheelchairs, allowing them access to all areas of Kingston to work, experience and play. 

Last year's the Access Award was given to Providence Care for its ABI System Navigator Service, which assists people with acquired brain injuries in finding and accessing education and health services.

Established in 2011, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities Access Award recognizes a person, group or organization making a significant contribution beyond legislated requirements, towards improving access for persons with disabilities in Kingston. 

The Access Award helps supports social equity – one of the four pillars of the Sustainable Kingston Plan, the community-built plan to become the most sustainable city in Canada.

To find out more about this award go to www.CityofKingston.ca/accessaward.

Plan your bus trip with Google Transit: www.kingstontransit.ca/tripplanner

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The City of Kingston provides municipal services to 120,000 residents living in this visually stunning, historic city, often ranked one of the best places to live in Canada. In 2014, it was named a Top 7 Smart Community by the Intelligent Community Forum. Our vision – to become Canada's most sustainable city – focusses our efforts on: environmental responsibility, social equity, economic health and cultural vitality. Please visit www.CityofKingston.ca and join the conversation on social media.

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Media contact: For more information contact Cindie Ashton, Media Relations Officer, 613-546-4291, ext. 3116. Or call Communications at 613-546-4291, ext. 2300.