Walking into the new Trillium Park, visitors are greeted by a map highlighting the trail’s attractions in both written and braille instructions for people who are visually impaired.
But if you look a little closer — and touch the map — visitors to the downtown Toronto park will soon realize the braille is printed on a flat board and is useless to those who need it.
Rhonda Underhill-Gray is legally blind and said when she visited Trillium Park, she couldn’t help but laugh at the sign.
“This is just a blank canvas to me,” she said.
“While the braille is here, it’s not accessible. It’s simulated braille, so people who could read braille with their eyes can read the braille but there is no tactile braille lettering at all.”
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport said in a statement the signage is temporary.
“Despite best efforts, some of the permanent signage, which will include braille, was not fully installed in time for the opening last month. We remain committed to building an accessible park and we expect the contractor to complete the installation of permanent, accessible signage as soon as possible,” the statement read.
“Ontario is widely recognized as an international leader in accessibility and we look forward to the new park and trail building on that legacy.”
On June 19, a ribbon cutting ceremony marked the official opening of Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail at Ontario Place.
The 7.5-acre urban park and a waterfront trail is part of the Ontario government’s $100-million investment to rejuvenate what was once a key Toronto tourist destination.
Karen Brophy, program lead for literacy with the CNIB, said having braille in public spaces is an essential part of keeping accessibility front-of-mind.
“Having braille in a space like this reinforces they are included,” Brophy said.
“Kids who are coming to this park and wanting to learn their way around independently, braille would give them that opportunity.”
Underhill-Gray said she hopes to see changes made to the signs in the near future.
“If you’re not going to make it accessible, you’re not going to make it accessible,” Underhill-Gray said.
“But don’t pretend it is because it is not.”
With files from David Shum
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