Fully accessible nature trail at U of T Scarborough – CBC News Toronto

A new path tucked behind the University of Toronto Scarborough campus was made with all students in mind. The Valley Land Trail is half a kilometer long and slopes down 19 metres, and it’s also fully accessible. We explored the new trail today with the school’s Director of Accessibility Services and saw firsthand how it will make a difference. It’s nice to be in nature smelling the the leaves and the grass and the forest. There’s a specific smell that nature has that, you know, I don’t get to experience very much. The University of Toronto Scarborough is a very large property and we have a 125 acres where students just never made it to. And so we wanted to improve accessibility for our student community. It’s a significant drop so that, they really weaved it within the trees and in between the trees, and that helped to maintain a slope that’s more reasonable. We actually walked this trail many times before it was here, identified key tree species, animal migration patterns and then designed the trail around all of those key orientations. And what we’ve got left now is a trail that doesn’t interfere with migration patterns and really creates a spectacular place for both the human inhabitants of the space, but also the wild animals that live in this area as well. It was important that we have round handrails so that people using them it helps them guide them but also to hold on to. We also have a battery charger halfway up the trail so that if somebody needed to charge their mobility device, they can stop and we have them be able to pull off the path. There’s spots for seating where people can transfer where there’s a backrest. We also have classes down here and our students with disabilities haven’t been able to participate in the same way. We’ve had to be creative over the years in how they get included in this type of classroom when they’re coming down and tagging trees, for example. It’s really about inclusion and ensuring that everybody can experience and participate in our learning environment and and social environment. I came down here in the eighties. Although once I was able to walk down here. Otherwise, I haven’t been as a staff member down in the valley. It’s really excited to be a part of it, to be down here. I’m not just saying that because I work here. It is, it makes such a difference to our community.

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