Most people in Saskatchewan know the Roughriders’ home opener is this Friday at Mosaic Stadium. What they may not know, however, is that the new stadium in a shining example of accessibility in Canada.
Prior to Mosaic’s grand opening, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission heard from individuals and stakeholders who were concerned about the potential accessibility of the stadium.
“A cornerstone of the Commission’s approach is proactivity,” said Chief Commissioner David Arnot. “A systemic perspective allows us to look at big picture issues in our province and work cooperatively and proactively with individuals, institutions, and stakeholders to work toward and efficient, effective solution.”
With this in mind, the Commission reached out to the City of Regina about the stadium to try and figure out what could be done to improve the facility in order to make it accessible and inclusive for everyone.
“Early on in the planning process of the stadium, our project team worked with the accessibility community so all who would participate in events got the most from the experience,” said City of Regina Mayor Michael Fougere. “We welcomed community representatives on site to guide us in recommendations, among other things, wayfinding in a crowded environment.”
Over the course of the next couple of years, several meetings were held between a bevy of stakeholders. As a result of the feedback from these meetings — as well as from feedback garnered from three live events hosted at the stadium prior to its grand opening — important improvements were made.
“Mosaic Stadium became a reality through the vision and cooperation of various stakeholders being motivated by a common goal,” stated Roughriders President & CEO Craig Reynolds. “We are fortunate to have a stadium of this quality in our city and province and ensuring all people are able to attend various events and freely move around the facility was a high priority.”
Mosaic is a high-water mark of stadium accessibility. So much so that the City of Regina received honourable mention from the Rick Hansen Foundation, in part, for the work it did on the stadium.
“We hear all the time from visitors who attend events at arenas and stadiums across North America that Regina’s Mosaic Stadium is an iconic facility that rivals any other sporting venue,” said Mayor Fougere
Since 2011, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission has had the capacity to work systematically. To look at the big picture issues that relate to discrimination in this province and to work cooperatively and proactively with individuals, institutions, and stakeholders to address these issues.
Such was the case during the construction of the new Mosaic Stadium. As early as 2014, the Commission heard from stakeholders who’d raised concerns about the accessibility of the new stadium, so the Commission reached out to City of Regina to provide assistance and advice pertaining to building accessibility.
Several meetings and discussions followed.
Then, on August 31, 2016, a representative of the Commission attended an all-day “Substantial Completion Meeting” arranged by the Regina Revitalization Initiative. During this event, tours of the stadium features were highlighted including bathroom accessibility, elevators, signage, concessions, corporate boxes, accessible seating, etc. As part of the completion of the stadium project, three test events were held: a university football game, a concert, and a CFL preseason game. During each event, City of Regina officials sought feedback from attendees on accessibility features.
Throughout these testing events, City officials remained in contact with the Commission and with community stakeholders, obtaining feedback and suggestions on proposed improvements.
Some of the impressive initial features of the stadium included:
- Number of charge stations with accessible seating: 18 power boxes with 4 outlets on each box = 72 total power outlets.
- Number of power-assisted doors: 31
- Visual aids (Braille): All room signage and every elevator had braille
- Listening devices: 4 guest service stations where devices could be obtained
- Tactile Way Finding: Tactile way finding strips led to all main entrance gates and 3 elevator lobbies. Tactile panels had also been installed at all pedestrian ramps.
- Elevators: 9 had power doors, braille, and audible signals.
Following feedback from meetings and the test events, improvements were made. They included:
- All 9 of the inclusive washrooms were equipped with power-assisted doors. These are the 9 stand-alone inclusive restrooms that are available, above and beyond, the standard male/female washrooms.
- A new signage package was implemented. The new package was much more attentive to details like overall size of signage, placement, size of lettering, colour contrast, etc. It also focused on strategic placement in key areas throughout the stadium (i.e. accessible seating area, washrooms, main entrances.)
- A power roof lift system and powered adult change table.
- The initial plan was to have 150 accessible parking spots, but after consultation there are currently 90 spots confirmed on the west side of the stadium and 75 spots confirmed on the east, with more spots planned in the future.
- In collaboration with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Evraz, the City of Regina is facilitating the development of an accessibility brochure, highlighting key accessibility areas/features in the stadium. Beyond the brochure, a website option that highlights accessibility features has also been proposed.