Building Magazine


Awards of Excellence in VisitAble Housing announced

Earlier this year, The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (CCDS) launched the three-year national initiative called Collaborative Knowledge Building and Action for VisitAble Housing in Canadian Cities Project (otherwise known by the much-shorter title “VisitAbility Project”). This project was funded by the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program — Disability Component, and is a movement to change home construction practices so that virtually all new homes offer a few basic accessibility features making the home easier for people with mobility difficulties to live in and visit.

Although there are a few interpretations of VisitAbility, three essential features are commonly identified for VisitAble housing:

1)      No-step entrance (at the front, back or side of the house)

2)      Wider doorways and clear passage on the main floor

3)      A main floor bathroom (or powder room) that can be accessed by visitors who use mobility devices

One of the components of the Project was the initiation of The Awards of Excellence in VisitAble Housing, from which the Jury Committee selected the outstanding projects from around the country. The winners include:

Single Family Detached Homes
First Prize – Platinum Living

This home was built for an individual to accommodate her disabilities. Air-quality was also paramount, as she also has multiple chemical sensitivities. This project called for innovative solutions within a tight budget. It is a smaller home with a simple design that matches the character of the neighbourhood and adheres to green principles. For more information on this project, please click on the attached link: Platinum Living

Single-Family Detached Homes
Second Prize – Sands of Time

This home was carefully designed and built to accommodate future wheelchair accessibility. Throughout the design process, the current and future needs of the client were considered and accommodated. This energy efficient high performance home delivers superior value and comfort to the homeowner while maintaining a beautiful, classic design appeal. For more information on this project, please click on the attached link: Sands of Time

Multi-Family Unit Development
First Prize – Place La Charrette

Place La Charrette showcases VisitAble and even exceeds into Universal Design in multiple apartment and bungalow layouts within the same housing project to enable a much more inclusive and family friendly environment for tenants and their guests. For more information on this project, please click on the attached link: Place La Charrette

Multi-Family Unit Development
Second Prize – River Point Centre

River Point Centre plays a crucial service for Manitobans facing addiction issues. The 30 transitional housing units that are a part of the centre offer a convenient home for residents as well as a welcoming environment for all visitors. River Point Centre is a great example of a VisitAble housing project. For more information on this project, please click on the attached link: River Point Centre

Special Recognition – Heritage Project
Government House Rehabilitation

Government House, home to the Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor is a highly visited residence. Until the renovation, the house was not universally accessible. The 3-year renovation included installation of an elevator, accessible washrooms and paths of travel. The renovations make a strong public statement about visitability and inclusivity in Halifax. For more information on this project, please click on the attached link: Government House Rehabilitation

 Honourable Mentions

The following projects received Honourable Mentions. Please click on the name of each residence to see more information about them.

Crosbie Home

Roscoe Home

Faid Home

Gauthier Home

Good Samaritan / Habitat for Humanity Residence

Irene Baron Eden Centre

Vickers Ave

Marie Rose Place



Steering Committee

  • Alan Tate, Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB
  • Anne Sinclair, Architect, Halifax, NS
  • Glen Manning, Principal at HTFC Planning & Design, Winnipeg, MB
  • Mark Iantkow, PhD Candidate and accessibility consultant, Calgary, AB
  • Youn-Young Park, Project Manager, Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, Winnipeg, MB
  • Allen Mankewich, Communications Coordinator, Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, Winnipeg, MB

Jury Committee

  • Monica Giesbrecht, HTFC PLANNING & DESIGN, Manitoba
  • Paula Bowley, Paula Bowley Architects Inc., Ontario
  • Trevor Hoover, Home Builder, Habitat Studio, Alberta
  • Janice Rieger, Interior Designer, Alberta
  • Cal Schuler, Spinal Cord Injury Alberta, Alberta
  • Warren Reed, James McGregor Stewart Society, Nova Scotia
  • Peter Sobchak, editor, Building Magazine, Ontario

For more info
rmation about the project and VisitAble housing, visit

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