The Surrey Arts Centre is the first municipal facility in B.C. to receive the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) Accessibility Certified Gold designation. The city is also home to the most RHF-rated public facilities of all municipalities in Canada.
The RHF rating system, which was designed to bring a national accessibility standard to Canada, is used to determine the accessibility of commercial, institutional and multi-family residential buildings.
“The City of Surrey believes in providing equal opportunities for all and we are proud to receive the first RHF Accessibility Certified Gold rating for a public space,” said Mayor Linda Hepner. “This certification reinforces our belief and commitment that our innovative programs ensure accessibility and inclusion are considered in order to inspire participation, create social connections, and foster lifelong learning.”
According to the Rick Hansen Foundation, currently 1 in 7 Canadian adults identifies as having some sort of disability, which may include mobility, communication, sensory, vision and/or hearing challenges. With an aging population, this is anticipated to increase to as high as one in five Canadians by 2036.
Accessibility features at Surrey Arts Centre include a lowered box office counter, wayfinding signage including directional arrows to ramps, free use of wireless listening devices for those who require hearing amplification and VocalEye described performances.
“Removing barriers and ensuring accessibility to physical surroundings, services and overall experiences ensures that everyone is able to fully participate in city programs and services, including important cultural opportunities,” said Councillor Judy Villeneuve, chair, City of Surrey Culture Development Advisory Committee. “Fostering community connections and having open and accessible facilities is a critical aspect of enjoying a high quality of life.”
The Surrey Arts Centre, located at 13750 88 Avenue, hosts live performing arts presentations at Surrey Civic Theatres Main Stage and Studio theatres, and is home to the Surrey Art Gallery and Surrey International Children’s Festival. It also features interactive public artworks, art courses for all ages and, in October, will host Surrey’s Inclusive Employer Awards.