Accessibility in U/D

The vision for University District has always been about an inclusive community where people can thrive and connect. Now that the Retail Main Street is establishing itself as a shopping destination and people are flocking to our parks and green spaces, the vision is finally turning into a reality.

University District was built on four pillars: A connected community, mindfully made, complete and urban and university linked. The area is rapidly growing and yet these pillars continue to be front and centre with each addition to the neighbourhood. 

The latest addition to the Retail Main Street, The AdaptAbility Store, is just one reason why U/D has become such a hub for inclusivity. We sat down with store owner, Tara Nelson to learn more about their first brick and mortar location and why they chose U/D.

Why did you choose University District as the home for The AdaptAbility Store?

Tara Nelson: We chose University District because of its close proximity to the Alberta Children’s Hospital, the Child Development Centre, the Ronald McDonald House, Vecova, the Rotary Flames house, and Foothills Hospital. Our store is also right across the street from one of Calgary’s newest inclusive playgrounds! From the first time we came to the University District we sensed a feeling of community and immediately felt at home. With so many great amenities and so much growth potential, we knew it would be the perfect place for our store.  

What types of products can people expect to find at the new location?

Tara Nelson: We will be selling a variety of unique products for children and adults with diverse and special needs. We will have sensory integration tools, developmental tools & toys, adaptive clothing, classroom aids, safety equipment, mobility aids & rentals, sensory room equipment, assistive technology, and daily living aids.

Why is this type of store important to have in the community?

Tara Nelson: Most people have someone in their lives with either a disability or special needs. As much as our store is a place for people with disabilities, it is also here for parents, teachers, aids, therapists, and caregivers.We think that everyone should be excited to shop at our store.

The AdaptAbility Store fits right at home in U/D. Just steps away from Northwest Commons Park and Central Commons Park, Tara and the team can’t wait to be a part of the community. 

Accessing U/D’s Parks

The Northwest Commons Park Playground uses Playcore’s 7 Principles for Inclusive Design and has become a must-see stop for all families in northwest Calgary. In addition to being wheelchair accessible, the park has two double swings – one for an adult and a baby to enjoy and another for two adults or children of all abilities to enjoy. Some of the other accessibility features include a tactile and musical station, a saucer swing, an accessible spinner and a wheelchair accessible sway rocker.  

As for Central Commons Park, when we sat down with lead designer, Heath Mizer, he described how the team used visual triangulation to make everyone feel calm and at ease in the space. Visual triangulation means that people can see every part of the park, no matter where they are located in it. This is an important rule of design when considering how you want people to feel in the space.

In the winter months, Central Commons Park is home to an outdoor ice rink. It officially opened on December 4, 2022 and is a perfect place for families to lace up their skates. The rink is set up for leisure skating so people of all ages and levels can enjoy a day on the ice. Be sure to bring your skates and helmets. If you are interested in renting skates nearby check out our recent blog on  where you can rent them.

The AdaptAbility Store is expected to open in February of 2023! Explore our growing list of retailers here.


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