Rail Trip to Ottawa: Trains, Being Canadian and Hockey!

VIA Rail
UPDATE Sunday, October 5th:We’re now leaving Ottawa. The Blueline Taxi in Ottawa is convenient requiring only 30 minutes in advance booking for a wheelchair accessible taxi, it may be because the city is much smaller. The design of the taxis is that wheelchair customers sit in the trunk and I didn’t like it since it’s much bumpier. I’d recommend the Hampton Inn Ottawa on Conventry Road especially if you’re taking the train up since it’s less than a 5 minutes car ride away, and for those that may require a roll-in shower there may not be one available at the hotel so check in advance. If you need to rent any additional equipment, Motion Specialties Ottawa would be able to help, we ended up renting a portable hoyer lift which they dropped off and picked up for us. Besides Blueline Taxi, the OC Transpo is accessible, my brother ended up taking the OC Transpo shuttle service to the train station, as there were major bridge construction this weekend. From his experience on the shuttle the buses are fully accessible.

Overall Ottawa is very “governmenty” as the capital of Canada, I’d recommend you to visit Parliament Hill and ByWard Market (not fully accessible) just down the street.

Friday, October 3rd:

The day started off early and we were off to the train station at Union Station. Once we arrived we waited in the VIA Business Lounge before boarding the train. The reason why we were able to access the lounge is because there is typically only one power wheelchair tie down seat in the business class.

We were eventually led down to the train platform and the usher pulled up a portable crank lift which amazed me. The train ride was bumpier than expected and I had to use the washroom but was concerned about the bumpiness. At the Kingston Station stop we quickly made our way to the “accessible” washroom which I barely made it into with my brother. Since we couldn’t close the door my mom had to block the view while I completed my business in business class.

I enjoyed the scenic views of Ontario lakes and saw some animals along the way. In business class we were catered to and I had the tilapia which was pretty good. And the staff were friendly and helped us on and off the train professionally.

When we arrived at the Ottawa train station, the Blueline Taxi arrived on-time, however, even though the customer service rep said we would be able to fit a commode chair along with my wheelchair, the taxi driver was unable to accommodate. My brother ended up walking the hotel from the train station with the commode, thankfully it wasn’t too far of a walk.

Once we settled in, we decided to go to Parliament Hill it was a sight to see where the Centennial Flame also resides. I was amazed at the architecture and how it was built. What I really enjoyed was the design of the library and the scenic view of the Rideau River.

From there we walked to Byward Market, it reminded me of St. Lawrence Market and ate Mexican food. After a quick bite, we took another Blueline Taxi to the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata for the pre-season game between Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. The arena is quite accessible, and we sat the 300 level looking down onto centre ice. I wasn’t use to looking downward but got into the game as the arena was packed with Sens and Habs fans.

Today we’re off to a wedding!

Torrance Ho
About Torrance Ho 190 Articles
Power Hockey Athlete with TPWHL, Passionate Sports Writer, Huge supporter of the Paralympics and para sports, Accessibility Ambassador, Co-Founder of Equal Grounds.

Comments

4 Comments on Rail Trip to Ottawa: Trains, Being Canadian and Hockey!

  1. As of September 28, 2015, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, announced that if the NDP Party is elected they will legislate a Canadians With Disabilities Act.

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