A comprehensive initiative has made Government House more accessible, usable and enjoyable for all British Columbians.
Government House executive, the Government House Foundation, the Ministry of Technology, Innovation, and Citizens Services (MTICS), and broader government recognised the need to make the National Historic Site and ceremonial home of British Columbians truly accessible to everyone. In 2016 and 2017, the first major steps toward accessibility saw the refurbishment to the ground floor washrooms and the installation of an accessible ramp at the front of the building.
In recent years, it had become apparent that those with mobility issues were challenged first by access and secondly in using the washroom facilities in the National Historic Site. The only access and egress for those in a wheelchair or scooter was through the east door, where staff movements and all deliveries come in or out of the building. After this, patrons would then be moved one at a time up to the ground floor by dated elevator. This was not only inconvenient, undignified, and slow, but posed a safety risk. In the event of a fire or power outage, those in a wheelchair or scooter would have a very difficult, if not impossible, barrier to getting out safely.
These first two projects not only provided for upgrades to Government House, but established a collaboration of House staff, the Government House Foundation, MTICS, and the Ministry of Finance that will continue delivering much-needed improvements to this National Historic Site.
At the official opening of the ramp, Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon noted “this beautifully constructed addition to the House has been completed as a result of cooperation between many partners and is a wonderful example of working together to maintain the integrity of the property.”