Welcome to Access the Valley, a community initiative supported and locally funded by the CV Foundation and the Greenways Trail Alliance. Our goal is to visit local venues and take pictures, descriptions and videos of accessible features of each place and promote them here and on the Greenways Trail Alliance. We are aiming to provide information to tourists and residents with mobility restrictions. Businesses will be added as they are reviewed.
Who are we?
Cassy and Kate are both long time local residents who both benefit from having accessibility in the valley. Kate was born with Cerebral Palsy, and either uses a electric wheelchair to get around independently, or uses the assistance of another person to help her walk. Cassy's challenges are by proxy with the recent injury of her husband after a ski accident left him with a spinal cord injury in 2015. Our unique and varied experiences help us to view the businesses we use with different eyes.
Did you know....?
Kinsmen Beach located in downtown Invermere, has a beach wheelchair available free of charge on a first come first serve basis. Just contact Penny or Max at columbiariverpaddle.com who run the local concessions for access. The rental desk that will get the chair out of storage is there most of the summer hours. Summer hours to be posted soon.
Did you know....?
Local Parapelegic Tanelle Bolt has started the "RAD society". This society purchases and loans adaptive sporting equipment to people with diverseabilities in the valley, so they can participate in sports that they might have otherwise not of had the chance to. Right now, they have equipment like a adaptive trike, that give people who don't have use of their legs, the chance to go biking on a variety of terrain, and a stand up golfer. Let the RAD society introduce you to the world of sports, turning something that you may have thought to be impossible to possible. Tanelle is very determined to get more adaptive sports available in the valley, so keep up to date with her journey through her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/theRADSociety/
Did you know....?
My family and I have donated our wheelchair accessible van to the Columbia House, through it Columbia House Enhancement Society, that helps enhance the lives of seniors and people in the valley who may have mobility restrictions. This van is open to anyone that needs it. Go by the Columbia House (850 10th Ave Invermere, British Columbia) and get in touch with Darla to sign out the van for your choice of period of time. For your 1st time using the van, go by, sign up and bring your drivers license and your RoadStar Assistance. Let "Kate's Van" help expand your surrounding, and give you a sense of freedom in the Columbia Valley.
Did you know....?
A couple of years ago, Elieen Madson Primary School(EMP) got its first accessible playground... and... if that doesn’t make you smile... the story around it just might...There was a girl in Grade 3 who had noticed a boy in her school who was in a wheelchair and who couldn’t play on the playground like she and her friends could... and she didn’t like that... SO... for her birthday party.. she decided not to take presents, but donations for an accessible playground that her friend could play on. Kids, parents, and the staff of EMP thought that was an amazing idea, and they wanted to back her up. EMP searched for grants, local and others to help fund this project and in the spring of 2013, the playground was up and ready to play on. It has a disk swing that is easy for kids with mobility challenges to get on, and a playground that is wheelchair/walker friendly. This is such an important asset in our valley that all kids are welcome and they all deserve to play!! Way to go EMP! You are a very “special place”indeed
Did you know....?
Smith and Anderschuck has a big flight of stairs to get up to its offices, however, they do have a little side room that my chair can go in for quick meetings or to sign paperwork. It may not be the most accessible building, but the staff are always thoughtful and want to help in any way they can! They suggest you call ahead so they can open the door for you!
Did you know?
The Valley Fitness Center now has a portable ramp to assist people who use mobility devices up on the second level. This helps me, as I usually bring my chair to the gym when I go by myself, to the equipment for safety or if I can sit and do an exercise. The staff at Valley Fitness are very friendly, happy to see me, and willing to help me with anything! I need!
Wheelchair Parking and Bathrooms - Downtown Invermere
Participating Chamber Businesses
Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce
We feel so supported by the Chamber about our project. When talking with the staff, we could feel how excited they were about. The Chamber of Commerce is where tourists come for information about the valley and they provide business and marketing support for local businesses. The chamber wants to satisfy all visitors to the valley, and encourage them to come back. They have made significant investments in accessibility to the Chamber offices and conference area, with 3 accessible spots, the have lowered counters and invested in great accessible public bathrooms. We acknowledge and appreciate the Chamber of Commerce for your support of Access the Valley and investing in accessible features.
Restaurants and Coffee Shops
Many people that come to Invermere, stop by to visit our famous bakery. The bakery seems to be the hang out place for both locals and tourists in town. People enjoy coming in to relax and have coffee and a treat with a friend, our stopping to pick up a locally made goods. In the summer time, or during the holidays, the Bakery can be jammed packed...
Kicking Horse Coffee
My mom and I made one of our accessibility visits here as it one of our favorite coffee shops to go to. Kicking Horse is a very trendy place to have a hot drink and tasty treats. You can find Kicking Horse as you drive into town, on the right hand side besides a big grocery store called No Frills. Kicking Horse is unique as its organic coffee is brewed locally, and its free trade brand started in Invermere.
The Invermere Station Neighboorhood Pub
The Station Neighboorhood Pub has a gorgeous view as it looks right over Invermere's Kinsmen Beach. In the winter, people can eat inside by a window seat and watch skaters go by on our famous Whiteway, and, in the summer, they can sit outside, on a large, wrap around deck and enjoy a beer and the sight of kids and families playing down by our pristine Lake Windermere.
Invermere Home Hardware
The Home Hardware is located just as you come in to town from Windermere, right across from Kicking Horse Coffee. People can come to the Hardware and find different tools for any sort of project they may be working on, weather it be indoor or outdoor.
Sobeys Grocery Store
Sobeys is a chain grocery store in Canada, which used to be known as IGA(Independent Grocers Alliance).
In Invermere, tourists spot Sobeys as one of the first big stores they see up on a hill as they drive in to town.
Sobeys is a big space to move around in, and has friendly staff that offer great customer service. They are very much involved in their community, as they donate food to different causes around town.
Inside Edge Boutique and Sports Store
The Inside Edge Boutique and Sports Store is a little store, located in a little corner right across from the Circle Café and, our big blue grocery store, AG (Associated Grocers) Foods. It sells both sporting equipment, and sheik clothing.
Three Bears Gift Shop
Three Bears Gift Shop is a cute and popular store that has lots of beautifully made signs, furniture, knickknacks, and items featuring bears, located in Parkside Place. I could see people who are coming into the valley, and looking for some nice shopping spending a bit of time in this store!
Rainbow Donkey Kids Clothing
Rainbow Donkey is a fun place for the whole family to shop in, and is quite spacious to move around in. If you around town, looking for a place to shop with kids in tow, or looking for a kids birthday, or a baby shower presents, give this store a try.
Invermere Library and Community Center
This year, both the library and the Community Hall moved to a bigger building, which gives people more space to move around. This space seems to attract many people, young children coming to participate in story time, and older people checking out books, or to use the computer. This new big, bright space has large windows letting the sunlight in.
Pynelogs Arts and Cultural Centre
Pynelogs, a historical building that used to be a hospital and then a home for people with diverseabilities is now an art gallery that shows some pretty impressive art from local artists. They have many art shows throughout the year, and, even have started holding movie nights for movies, short films and documentaries.
Copper Point Golf Club and The Ridge at Copper Point
Cassy and I enjoyed our visit to Copper Point Golf Club and the Ridge at Copper Point. It was a beautiful day to eat lunch on their inviting patio, and look out at their goergous and vast golf course.
Participating Non- Chamber Businesses
Circle Cafe and Health Foods
Circle Café and Health Foods is a cozy café located right beside one of Downtown Invermere's local grocery stores, AG Valley Foods. It's located in a little nook called Fraters Landing and is a fun and social place to have a coffee and treat or lunch.
Elemental cycle, the local bike shop, which is also located in Parkside Place, sells bikes and biking and outdoor sports equipment. People can come by Elemental Cycle if their bikes need fine tuning, or they need something fixed on them.
Evolve Fine Used Furnishings
Cassy and I were excited to make a visit to Evolve, as we knew it was going to be a great business for us to review because our friend Spring Hawes, former mayor of Invermere, and Quadrapelegic, previously owned it.
The Mountain Hub
The Invermere Hub is a new business that has come to town this summer. It acts as a quiet space for people to come and set up "office" at a desk with their computer and work. You rent a desk space for a certain amount of time, bring your laptop, and a lunch ( there is a small kitchen with a fridge, sink and dishes), and stay for a few hours. They have free coffee and tea available. What more could you ask for?
Outdoor Trails and Spaces
The Westside Legacy Trail
A couple of years ago, the Greenways Trail Alliance had a vision that one day there would be a trail that would connect Invermere and Fairmont, making it possible for the many avid outdoors people to be able to walk or bike between the two communities, the hope being that it would help further promote active lifestyles for everyone here
I was very impressed with the Kanata Hotel; how nice it looked, and how many accessibility featured they offered, and how courteous the person at the front desk, Sally Davis, was.