Accessible design and cultural preservation: Two principles working together to celebrate Canada's most significant buildings

The “Heritage for All” project is to advance and inform research between accessibility barriers and heritage requirements in federally owned heritage buildings within urban centers across Canada. This project will research, propose and test new ideas aimed at developing accessible strategies for federally-owned heritage properties.

alt=”Eight individuals varying in age that are either using a mobility device, a probing cane, a service dog or pushing a stroller. The others are casually walking or acting as support. There is a typical heritage building façade in the background.”
alt=”Eight individuals varying in age that are either using a mobility device, a probing cane, a service dog or pushing a stroller. The others are casually walking or acting as support. There is a typical heritage building façade in the background.”

About Heritage for All

The hope is that this initiative will inform and advance future national accessibility standards for federally-owned heritage buildings.

Human Space; a Toronto-based inclusive design consultancy of BDP and BDP Quadrangle, is excited to create Heritage for All with funding from Accessibility Standards Canada.

This two-and-a-half-year project will involve examining federally-owned heritage buildings across Canada; review national and global precedents and guidelines; and facilitate a series of virtual workshops with the public including persons with disabilities, heritage professionals and other interested parties. Human Space will test the solutions with user groups and develop a publicly available report of the research and findings showing how their conversions can become a practical reality.


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Why Heritage for All?

This research will provide recommendations to resolve tensions between accessibility and heritage. Elements being reviewed at the site will include:

  • Entrance (including stairs and ramps, where applicable);
  • Main lobby and reception;
  • General interior corridors;
  • Vertical circulation;
  • Washrooms
alt=”Image of Federal Post Office building in Kingston, Ontario. Grey brick detail, with green window trims and doors, against a clear, blue sky.”

Get Involved

Want to be part of the process? Click on the Subscribe button, or take the survey below!


Funded by Accessibility Standards Canada, Heritage for All is led by Human Space, in partnership with the following organizations:

Human Space

Human Space is a global collaborative of experts and specialists working with placemakers and city builders to create spaces for all. Our human-centered approach creates spaces, buildings and communities that consider people first and incorporates broad perspectives to arrive at better solutions. This means pursuing a comprehensive approach to community building that includes accessibility, wellness and inclusion as essential components to creating safe, equitable and resilient built environments.

Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals

Operating since 1987, the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) is a non-profit organization serving heritage professionals from across Canada in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. CAHP members are specialists in a wide variety of fields, such as conservation architecture, planning, history, archaeology, landscape architecture and engineering. CAHP establishes standards of practice, shares knowledge about heritage conservation, and supports the involvement of heritage professionals whenever places of heritage value are being identified, preserved, restored and rehabilitated. As part of its mandate, the organization also fosters and promotes public and legislative support for heritage conservation.

Easter Seals Canada

Easter Seals is Canada’s largest local provider of programs, services, and issues-leadership and development for the disability community. Since 1922, Easter Seals Canada and its provincial member organizations have been working to create a more inclusive and accessible society that includes and honours the contributions and potential of Canadians of all abilities. Easter Seals Canada runs national awareness campaigns and raises critical funding for the transformative programs and services that are offered by Easter Seals provincial member organizations at the local level. Serving a broad range of people—both children and adults—with varying physical, intellectual, sensory and learning disabilities, we help to ensure that everyone living with a disability has access to the equipment, programs, services and support they need to make the most of their abilities and live their lives to the fullest.

Canadian Disability Foundation

The Canadian Disability Foundation (“CDF”) is Canada’s national disability organization. Established to provide philanthropic support, services, and innovative social solutions, CDF helps the more than 6.2 million Canadians with disabilities to be valued members and contributors in our communities. CDF helps Canadians with disabilities (visible and invisible, including mobility, sensory, cognitive and mental health disabilities) pursue their goals in a more accessible, supportive and inclusive Canada. CDF supports individuals and families from coast to coast in a unified disability community across the country.

National Trust for Canada

The National Trust for Canada is a national, non-governmental, charity that works to empower communities in saving and renewing historic places that tell the stories of Canada. Established to conserve and promote the conservation of Canada’s historic and culturally significant places and communities, the National Trust aims to educate and engage the people of Canada in the conservation and appreciation of heritage buildings, landscapes, natural areas and communities. We provide game-changing coaching, expertise and funding – and national leadership to change the system. Our advocacy action and public policy efforts seek ways to keep useful older and heritage buildings out of landfill, and support resilient and sustainable communities.

KITE Research Institute, UHN

KITE is a world leader in complex rehabilitation science and is dedicated to improving the lives of people living with the effects of disability, illness and aging. KITE is one of the principal research enterprises at the University Health Network (UHN), Canada’s top research hospital

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Philip Goldsmith Architect

Philip has 45 years of professional experience in stabilization, restoration, adaptive reuse of historic structures and historic site master planning for new development. Philip offers a creative and knowledgeable sensitivity to heritage work. He emphasizes an understanding of context and seeks excellence in the integration of historic buildings and new development. Projects have included environmental assessment, urban design, housing, heritage districts, architectural guidelines, and landmark district studies which involve successful coordination with professional teams.

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