Accessibility Info

The following accessibility information has been compiled and is accurate to the best of our knowledge.

ASL Interpretation

For ASL requests, please email Word Vancouver board member Monica with the specific festival event (date, time, location). Requests must be submitted by Monday, September 18, 2017 to allow time to coordinate with the interpreters. We will do our best to accommodate all requests.

2017 Venues

ArtStarts Gallery | Banyen Books & Sound | Carnegie Centre | Christianne’s Lyceum | Cottage Bistro | Historic Joy Kogawa House | VPL Britannia Branch | VPL Central Branch | VPL nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch

ArtStarts Gallery

808 Richards Street, Vancouver | Website

The ArtStarts Gallery and Resource Centre is wheelchair-accessible. An elevator is available for access to the Mezzanine level. The Cherniavsky Boardroom, ArtStarts Lab and washrooms are located on the Mezzanine level.

Banyen Books & Sound

3608 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver | Website

We are street level so there are no stairs or ramps and the entrance way is wide enough for a wheelchair or scooter. The book half of the store is wide enough to move around in and so is part of the sound side of the store. The doors are not automatic and open inward and have a schlage type handle.

Our bathroom is wheelchair accessible.

Our store has a strong scent for many people because we carry a lot of incense which permeates throughout the shop.

Carnegie Centre

401 Main Street, Vancouver (3rd Floor) | Website

The Carnegie Centre has a wheelchair ramp to the left of the stairs / main entrance.

There is an elevator to access the 3rd floor classroom where the workshops are being held, as well as the programming in the 3rd floor gallery.

All City of Vancouver venues have a no scent policy, and the public washrooms on each floor are within code to suit wheelchairs.

Christianne’s Lyceum

3696 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver | Website

Information coming soon

Cottage Bistro

4468 Main Street, Vancouver | Website

There are no stairs in the restaurant nor any ramps or elevators. The front entrance is approximately 36 inches wide, and the front door has a handle. There are no automatic doors.

There are a variety of tables and chairs—some tall with barstools, and others low. There are chairs without arms and bench seating.

The walkway to the washroom is a bit narrow, and may be a bit difficult to access for those with physical limitations or disabilities. However, Cottage Bistro informs us that they have had people with wheelchairs in the establishment access the washroom just fine.

The washroom doors push inward and are for single-person use only. Anyone can use them (there are signs saying male & female but the two washrooms are identical). The female washroom has a handle and the male washroom has a knob. Both washrooms are large enough to navigate with a wheelchair or mobility aid.

The restaurant is mostly dimly-lit with a stage area at the front.

Cottage Bistro does not have a no-scent policy in place, and as there is a full kitchen restaurant, some smells may permeate the restaurant.


Historic Joy Kogawa House

1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver | Website

Historic Joy Kogawa House is not currently wheelchair accessible. The house was built in 1912, and future renovation plans include making the house more accessible.

Here are some specifications for your consideration:

  • There are 3 steps from the sidewalk to the garden path, each 107 cm in width and the steepest being 23 cm in height
  • There are then 5 steps leading from the path to the front door, each 121.5 cm in width and 8 cm in height, with railings
  • The front door and dining room entry is 85 cm wide
  • The washroom entry is 70 cm wide, with 17 cm clearance on each side of the toilet. There is one washroom available and it is gender-neutral.
  • We have a range of chairs with arms and without arms
  • We welcome assistance animals

Vancouver Public Library – Britannia Branch

1661 Napier Street, Vancouver (Gallery Room) | Website

The Library branch is located inside the Britannia Centre, just off Commercial Drive and Napier Street. You will need to walk about half a block in from the street to see the building, which is at the South East corner of the complex. Within this complex there are concrete stairs and ramps.

The library itself is located all on one floor with no interior stairs or ramps. It is fully wheelchair accessible. The front doors have an automatic button.

The washrooms are gender neutral and also wheelchair accessible.

Vancouver Public Library – Central Branch

350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver | Website

All event venues at this location will have a designated Venue Coordinator. Please see them with any concerns or accommodations on the day of the festival. They will be happy to facilitate any requests to the best of their ability. Most venues will have an audio system set up.


The outside of Library Square is accessible—the city sidewalks have standard curb cuts (ramps) on each corner of Homer Street, Hamilton Street, Robson Street, and Georgia Street. The plaza is bricked paving stones.

Many of the tents along Homer Street are located in the street, which is closed off to traffic. There is ample room along Homer Street to navigate by wheelchair or mobility scooter, as this is also firelane access. There are no tent walls to impede sound or viewing.

The sidewalk along Homer Street has permanent benches, trees, and parking meters which may impede mobility. Vendor tables are placed around the perimeter of the library.


The inside Promenade of the Library can be accessed from the North or South Plaza, both of which have automatic doors available. The Promenade has several businesses with tables and chairs placed alongside the walkway. Vendor tables will also be placed here.

Elevator and stairs are available to access to the downstairs rooms and displays, including the Moat and washrooms. The elevator is located on the Promenade level, across from the main entrance to the Library. Alternately, there is a set of approximately 25 stairs located on the SW side of the Promenade. The stairs are concrete and wide enough for people to pass both up and down, with steel round handrails on both sides.


The Peter Kaye Room, Alma VanDusen Room, and Alice Mackay Room are all located downstairs. These rooms have polished wood laminate flooring, and there is a small lip at the entranceways. The doors are not automatic, but may be propped open depending on the event. There is also a Venue Coordinator for each room who can assist with any accessibility inquiries.


The washrooms, located downstairs inside the Moat, are up to City code and include wheelchair accessible stalls. Washrooms are gendered, with sign “Trans People Welcome”.

There are additional washrooms located inside the library, however on Sunday, the branch does not open until 11:00 am.

Vancouver Public Library – nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch

730 East Hastings Street, Vancouver | Website

The nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch is fully accessible in the physical/ structural sense. The entire library is on one floor, at street level. There are no stairs to enter the building or within the library. The event room is on the main floor. The front doors have automatic buttons. The library has smooth flooring and there is plenty of width in walkways to accommodate different sized wheelchairs or other mobility aids. The lighting in the book shelving area is excellent with fixtures directly over the shelves themselves.

The event will be held in the Wo Soon (Mary) Lee Chan Room, located on the main floor with no stairs or ramps required to enter. Lighting in the programming room can be dimmed, but it is not especially bright in its normal full setting. The room entrance is a large sliding glass door, which is usually open for events.


The library is a shared space and some noise does occur. However, there are no ongoing loud noises such as of fans or machinery. The event room is a glassed-in space but it is not perfectly soundproof.  This is a room where people are typically listening to speakers.


The VPL’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee has a clean air policy for all staff members in all worksites, with respect to keeping our use of scented personal care products to a minimum.  However, we do not apply a similar specific restriction for members of the public.  For example, although there is no smoking in the library, we do not have control over whether a member of the public has this odor on their clothing. We are fortunate to have a reasonably large space, so people have a bit of choice where they sit.


Washrooms are accessible—main floor, smooth flooring, wide pathways, and wheelchair accessible stalls.

Washrooms are gendered, with sign “Trans People Welcome”.  No key necessary and there are lockable stalls inside each washroom. There is also a third washroom labelled Family Washroom (also signed Trans People Welcome).  This is just a single room. Anybody can use the family washroom upon requesting a key from the service desk; it isn’t restricted to families only.

Inspiring words.