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Universal Design in Architecture



Cathy and Peter Nissen Home – WeAreAllConnect Architecture – Joe Johnson and Builder – Aztek Homes – Marc Teierle

This barrier free home, at 1440 square feet, is a one-bedroom infill bungalow that is an alternative to condominium living. The minimalist design emerged because the owners’ top priorities were for easy maintenance and barrier-free living. The transition from empty nesters to seniors, and a desire to stay in their home for as long as possible, motivated the design. It has a modest footprint that allows for easy access in which maximum use is made of the space. The limited furniture is due to the many built-in features of the millwork throughout. This structure is designed with accessible spaces for most conditions associated with aging and built to be easily altered later to accommodate those with major disabilities.

Leslie Warick Home – Perry Signature Homes Inc. – Bill Davidson

This project is a private 1750 square foot bungalow designed for a person with a specific disability. The basement and garage are accessible via an elevator. There is a heated, double attached garage. Another objective of this project was to ensure that a beautiful home was the result. The concept was to incorporate the necessary adaptations without making them too obvious.


Saville Community Sports Centre – Founder: David Dorward and Kasian Architect - Craig Henderson

The Saville Community Sports Centre is a multi-sport facility located on the University of Alberta South Campus. There is 9000 square feet of interior space with 12 basketball courts, fitness centre, indoor track, gymnastics facility, fitness studio, 2800 seat main gymnasium, 30 badminton courts, conference rooms, pro racket shop, 10 curling sheets, lounge, and food and beverage services. The facility is home to the Alberta Northern Lights Wheelchair Basketball Society (ANLWBS) and the Edmonton Inferno Wheelchair Basketball Society. The Canadian National Sitting Volleyball team, wheelchair curling, wheelchair tennis and the Faculty of Physical Education student labs for adapted sports also use the facility. The Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) was consulted throughout the design process over the seven plus years it took to raise funds and finalize the finished product.

Facility or Dwelling Designed for Persons with Disabilities

Renaissance Tower – Darlene Lennie – Executive Director – Métis Capital Housing Corporation - Arndt Tkalcic Bengert Architects

The Renaissance Tower is a 90 unit residential facility built by the Métis Capital Housing Corporation. The building is an affordable, barrier free project built in The Quarters, east of downtown Edmonton. The Canadian Paraplegic Association (Alberta) was a partner since its conception and provided input on the 30 barrier free units. Features included a fully accessible rooftop garden, braille on all signage, flush floors throughout the building and suites (including showers), adjustable countertops in select units, 5 foot turning radius in barrier free units, visitability features to all 90 units and a wheelchair accessible underground parkade with a wheelchair wash station.




Paid Employment

Abilities@Work Program – City of Edmonton

In Canada, individuals with intellectual disabilities are much less likely to find employment than those with other disabilities. Recognizing the need, the City of Edmonton formed a partnership with four community organizations that provide training and support to individuals with disabilities who seek gainful employment. Created in the summer of 2013, the Abilities@Work program offers employment to people with intellectual disabilities who are interested in part-time jobs at the City of Edmonton. Eleven such individuals currently work throughout all City departments in a wide range of positions such as records support, data entry, clerical support and manual labour.

Anthony at Your Service

Anthony at Your Service is a small pick-up and delivery business and social enterprise started by family and friends to employ Anthony, a low-verbal man with autism who was, at the time, 24 years old. Compared with other delivery or courier services, Anthony at Your Service offers a way for persons with developmental disabilities to work at activities that suit their interest at times that will not interfere with other schedules, such as medical appointments, regular exercise or volunteer commitments. In addition, many customers are aware that Anthony at Your Service hires only individuals with developmental disabilities. They seem genuinely happy to receive their deliveries and many are very encouraging to the delivery person involved.


DynalifeDX provides Diagnostic Laboratory Services to Central and Northern Alberta and employs a staff of just less than 1200, 6% of which have a disability or medical condition that has required having an accommodation made for them. DynalifeDX has demonstrated their commitment to being an employer of choice by striving to hire the best staff, including those with disabilities. DynalifeDX believes all employees should have the opportunity to work in a positive, supportive and inclusive workplace, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Each employee is hired into a role that has a job description that helps guide the work of the employee.

Volunteer Positions

Provincial Archives of Alberta

The Provincial Archives of Alberta has three volunteers with disabilities working on several important projects and making valuable contributions to the preservation of Alberta's history. According to the Volunteer Coordinator, Jaclyn Laundry, ''The Archives are committed to finding a good fit, matching interests, skills, and abilities. The Provincial Archives have always worked with people with barriers through the years and it is a natural thing to do. Diversity is important." The volunteers that the Provincial Archives of Alberta supports are from the Goodwill Industries of Alberta Power of Work Program. The Volunteer Coordinator will consider the volunteer's personal interests, skills and abilities and match them to the appropriate project to ensure a good fit for everyone.

Safeway at Callingwood

L.Y. Cairns School's Room 112 students participate on a monthly basis during the school year, going to Safeway at Callingwood on 10% Tuesdays. L. Y. Cairns School is a junior/senior vocational high school with more than 500 developmentally delayed students who may have a secondary disability such as hard-of-hearing or deaf, visually impaired or legally blind, mobility impairment, a psychiatric disorder or behaviourally challenged. Students participating in the Safeway program are part of the Community Volunteer Access Program run by the school and the students range in age from 15 to 20. Currently, 29 students participate in the program however numbers vary and can be as low as 27 or as high as 35.


Outstanding Service


Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing - Edmonton

CADS Edmonton offers programs in downhill skiing and snowboarding. Programs are aimed at instructing individuals with disabilities in the various adaptive skiing techniques. Individual instruction is required and adaptive equipment is usually necessary. CADS ski instructors provide physical assistance by lifting students in and out of sit skis, instructing persons who are blind where to turn and guiding them as they want to be guided. CADS Instructors lift students up when they fall, lift students and their skis on and off chairlifts, tether students who require extra help, repair equipment and give rides to students and instructors that are unable to get to the ski hill on their own. CADS Edmonton has over 90 volunteers in the program.

Chrysalis Art Program

In March 2007, under the auspices of Chrysalis: An Alberta Society for Citizens with Disabilities, the Chrysalis Art Program was established. Chrysalis services and programs assist adults with intellectual disabilities, ages 18 years and older. Many may also have a wide range of secondary disabilities, including complex medical, mental health and physical challenges. First offered to a small group, the Art Program engages individuals by using mediums for self-expression, creative skill development and providing personal growth opportunities. The Chrysalis Art Program quickly saw the potential that further growth and expansion of the program would offer to all people with disabilities and, within a few short months, found a larger and better space that would accommodate more individuals and offer a greater variety of experiences for the participants.

Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts

The first of its kind in Canada, the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts is a revolutionary art centre designed for at-risk youth and adults with developmental disabilities or brain injuries. It contains art studios and a public gallery called The Stollery. Its purpose is to achieve a unique blend of arts, disability and community development. Participants pay a low annual membership fee based on the number of days they commit to the studio. In exchange, they receive art materials and equipment, a space to create their works of art and the opportunity to exhibit and sell their original works of art. In the studio, the artists are supported by a rotating team of professional, art-educated practicing artists who facilitate the art making experience through one-to-one mentorship, small group sessions and workshops. The focus is on this population’s assets and capacity to contribute rather than on deficits and disability. They have access to mediums such as clay, paint, glass, textiles, computer animation and much more.


Ewen Nelson Award for Self Advocacy


Dr. Heidi Janz

In June 2013, without warning, Alberta Health Services decided to uproot the existing home support programs at Creekside Condominiums and award the contract for service to a private agency. Some users of the service did not agree to the changes imposed upon them. One such condominium owner and support service user was Dr. Heidi Janz. Heidi has a physical disability and uses a power wheelchair for mobility. She lives independently with the support of an on-site home support program. Heidi was a vocal advocate making her disagreement with the impending changes well known through participating in meetings and in writing. Heidi also lobbied friends, family and others to rally support and to write or call Alberta Premier Alison Redford, Alberta Health minister Fred Horne and MLAs. Through Heidi’s relentless endeavours and those of other support service users, a meeting was set up with the Premier Redford and, after a meeting held on a Sunday, succeeded in having the decision immediately overturned.


Congratulations to all the 2014 Nominees


  • Alberta Jubilee Auditoria Society
  • Alberta Coop Taxi Limited
  • Canada Safeway Garneau Location
  • Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton
  • Community Options
  • Derrick Seabrook
  • Employment Retention Enhancement Services
  • Excel Resources Society
  • Harvey’s
  • Julia Ehli
  • Red the Agency
  • Save –On-Foods – Londonderry
  • The Reuse Center


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