Is Montreal a good city for visually impaired travellers?

visually impaired travellers

For travellers from the U.S who are blind or visually impaired, jumping over the border to your neighbours might not feel like much of a challenge, but some critical decisions may be worth thinking about before doing so. Read on to get some basic info about our great northern neighbours, and find out the facts below! 

Montreal
A restaurant on an urban street in Montreal – visually impaired travellers

Getting There

There are many ways you may want to travel when getting to Canada. If you choose to travel via bus or train, you will need to ensure you communicate your needs to the company you travel with, but overall it should be relatively painless. However, if you need to fly, there are some things you need to keep in mind to make travel easy, especially if you have a guide dog. 

Unfamiliar cities can be exciting but also tricky for the visually impaired. If you use a guide dog, ensure that you plan accordingly so that you can bring them with you.

To avoid missing your flight or running into trouble with red tape, first ensure that your guide dog has an American service dog registration and notify the airline 48-96 hours beforehand. Bring any documentation and identification cards you have to ensure the Canadian Transportation Agency clears you and your dog when you fly. 

The ATPDR require airlines to accept service dogs for transportation. However, an airline may require confirmation that service dogs have been trained. They may do this during the reservation process by asking a person to provide a declaration attesting that the dog has been individually trained by an organization or person specializing in service dog training to perform a task to assist with a disability-related need. They may also require passengers to provide, before departure, an identification card or other document that is issued by such an organization or person and that identifies the passenger and provides this same attestation.

Streets & Traffic

Montreal has come a long way when it comes to accessibility for the visually impaired and blind, but there are still things to be aware of so you can travel the city safely.

There are some definite obstacles for the blind and visually impaired on the streets in Montreal. A significant issue is a lack of sidewalks in some inner-city areas, such as Quartier des Arts and crossroads without (APS) accessible pedestrian signs. 

In terms of traffic, one thing worth knowing is the ‘turn right at a red light’ rule, which differs from driving laws in some parts of the U.S. 

Another problematic issue is the number of drivers in Montreal who drive electric cars. It can make crossing the road dangerous for the blind and visually impaired since the cars are less audible.

Medical Insurance

Canada is known for its free public healthcare, but travellers should note that this is not fully applicable to citizens of the United States. Be prepared for your trip by ensuring your travel health insurance is covered ahead of time.

After finding the best traveller’s health insurance that benefits you, make sure you always keep your healthcare card, identification, and any ID your guide dog might need when out and about. In the event that you may need help, this will ensure you don’t run into steep international fees.

Conclusion

Feeling safe overseas is a right we all should have access to, and a blind person or a visually impaired person should not have to take further measures compared to those that don’t. Luckily, with just a little preparation, you are ready to go out and enjoy everything this fantastic city has to offer.

Other articles from mtltimes.ca – totimes.ca – otttimes.ca

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