Explore these top Toronto attractions and experiences that boost accessibility for visitors with visual impairments.
Many of Toronto’s top cultural attractions offer accessible experiences for blind or partially sighted visitors. Assistive technology and adaptive features like audio tours, braille, large-print guides and free entry for a support person, making it easier than ever to explore and get inspired.
Here are five proven picks around town, plus a pro tip for saving more on admissions.
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
Home to a collection of 13 million artworks, cultural and natural history displays, as well as exhibits from across the world and the ages, an entire day at the ROM can fly by in the blink of an eye.
Large-print guides: accessible guides and floor plans are available to download online before your visit. This guide includes access information and helpful tips. Bonus: it’s screen reader compatible!
Audio tours: relax and enjoy learning about various art, culture and nature displays at the ROM while narrators share information at a comfortable pace. Available for select exhibits, ROM audio tours provide visual descriptions for an immersive experience.
Tactile experiences: many ROM permanent galleries display bronze replicas of artifacts for visitors to touch and enjoy, including the fossil and dinosaur exhibits.
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
As one of the largest art museums in North America, the AGO is sure to excite its guests with its extensive and diverse roster of artwork.
The gallery displays contemporary and historical work by Canadian, Indigenous, African, Asian and European creators. They also feature rotating exhibits from international artists of diverse mediums, cultures and visions. Check the AGO website to see what special exhibits are going on.
BlindSquare-app compatible: through their collaboration with BlindSquare, the AGO has transformed visual art into art that is accessible to anyone. Not only does this GPS app provide wayfinding directions within the gallery, but it also alerts users when they have reached described audio stops and provides text-to-speech for in-gallery room panels.
Front-of-line access: the AGO provides front-of-line access for visitors with disabilities and their support persons.
Multi-sensory exhibits: with its use of lighting, music, various scents and reverberation, artist Jónsi’s Hrafntinna’s (Obsidian) exhibit (through August 7, 2023) was immersive and engaging. Be sure to visit this temporary exhibit and keep an eye out for future multi-sensory experiences featured at the AGO.
This 1.2 sq km (300 acre) amusement park has thrilling rollercoasters, rides and waterpark fun for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy. Canada's Wonderland also hosts concerts and festivals throughout the year.
Large-print and braille guides: stop by the Front Gate Guests Services for an accessible guide with information on the park. Available in braille and large print, this accessible guide has an easy-to-read font and size.
Service animals: should you be accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal on your visit, Wonderland’s Rider Swap policy allows a member of your party to wait with your service animal while you’re riding—no need to miss out on any of the fun! Your service pup can even join you on select rides, like the Antique Carousel and SNOOPY’S Revolution.
BATA Shoe Museum
The BATA Shoe Museum provides a distinctive experience for visitors with its vast collection of shoes and related artifacts from across the world and the ages.
Audio tours: available for select exhibits, the museum’s Streaming Smart Guide was immersive and easy to navigate. Be sure to listen to the All About Shoes Guide for fascinating information on historical footwear from different cultures.
Tactile experiences: from previous hands-on exhibitions and workshops (such as a felt slipper-making workshop), the museum has plenty of multisensory experiences to enrich your visit. Keep an eye out for future events by visiting their website or following them on Instagram.
Finally, enjoy Toronto’s great outdoors with organizations dedicated to increasing accessibility for all participants.
Guided sailing: Blind Sailing Canada (BSAC) collaborates with sighted volunteers to offer a number of programs and activities for visually impaired people looking for adventure on Lake Ontario. From sailing lessons to races and group outings, BSAC has plenty of opportunities, although planning ahead is crucial.
Guided running: if running is your passion, City Runs offers guided running tours across town, which can be tailored to runners with disabilities.
The Toronto race scene is also worth a visit. The Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 15, 2023) allows service dogs as well as free entry for support persons on its marathon, half-marathon and 5K routes.
Pro tip: Register for an Access 2 Card
Double your fun with a partner! Support persons of Access 2 cardholders receive free or discounted admission to over 500 cultural attractions, recreation facilities, movie theatres and more. Visit the Easter Seals for more info and to register for your card.