Vernon Paralympic wheelchair curler Sonja Gaudet (centre) offers some tips on how to make the historic Towne Cinema more accessible to Okanagan Screen Arts Society members Scott John (Left) and Susan Hodgson. (Photo contribued)

Vernon Paralympic wheelchair curler Sonja Gaudet (centre) offers some tips on how to make the historic Towne Cinema more accessible to Okanagan Screen Arts Society members Scott John (Left) and Susan Hodgson. (Photo contribued)

Decorated Vernon wheelchair curler ramps up accessibility conversations

Paralympian athlete Sonja Gaudet offers advice to Vernon’s historic Towne Cinema

Canada’s most decorated wheelchair curler is offering insight on how to make a popular Vernon landmark more accessible to people with mobility issues.

Vernon’s Sonja Gaudet, three-time Paralympic and World Championship gold medalist, and Canadian Curling and Canada Sports Halls of Fame member, toured the historic Vernon Towne Cinema Friday, Feb. 12, to offer recommendations on how to make the aging building more accessible to people with mobility issues.

Gaudet was there in her capacity as regional universal access tourism specialist with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA).

Members of the Okanagan Screen Arts Society, Scott John and Susan Hodgson, were excited to show Gaudet around.

“This is a great opportunity,” Gaudet says of renovation plans for the venue which has been open since 1929. “There is so much space to make the (30th Avenue) entrance accessible and put a ramp in.”

Gaudet also checked out the rest of the venue for improved access opportunities.

The current proprietor of the Towne is expected to retire this year and Okanagan Screen Arts Society volunteers hope to step in to keep it open.

The nonprofit society is currently appealing for donations from the public and business to update the space and to build that ramp that Gaudet wants installed.

“One of the spurs (to resolve accessibility issues) was a plan at one time to premier a local documentary about living with spinal cord injuries,” says John.

He says the society soon realized the cinema could not accommodate wheelchairs.

“That was a trigger point,” he says.

John says there are also movie patrons with walkers and mobility challenges who would benefit from a ramp fitted in the lobby of the cinema.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Save the Towne Cinema campaign can go to the GoFundMe page for more information.

READ MORE: Historic Vernon cinema focus of GoFundMe campaign

READ MORE: Vernon Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AccessibilitydisabilitiesLocal BusinessLocal History

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon’s Jim Cotter and Team B.C. defeated the Yukon 9-2 for their first win Monday, March 8, at the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men’s curling championship in Calgary. (Black Press - file photo)
B.C. picks up first win at Brier

Steve Laycock and teammates cruise past the Yukon 9-2 Monday at the Calgary bubble

The District of Coldstream is expected to give first two readings to its five-year financial plan bylaw at its regular meeting Monday, March 8. The plan includes a proposed 1.4 per cent tax hike for residents(Morning Star file photo)
Coldstream proposes small tax hike

Five-year financial plan to be presented at meeting includes 1.4 per cent hike for 2021

Fire truck.
Reports of brush fire in Vernon just a slash pile

Fire reported off Silver Star Road Monday afternoon

Beaver activity was reported by City of Vernon staff in Vernon Creek near the Marshall Field Dog Park. (Courtesy Photo - Frank Zmuda)
Busy beavers in Vernon Creek threaten infrastructure

Throughout freshet season, city staff do daily checks at more than 50 locations

An investigation is ongoing into a two-vehicle collision Sunday, March 7, shortly before 3:30 p.m. in Coldstream on Highway 97 at College Way that sent one driver to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Coldstream collision sends one to hospital

Two vehicles involved in collision Sunday, March 7, at Highway 97 and College Way

Five Kelowna writers are featured in an anthology that launched in time for International Women's Day. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
International Women’s Day: Book exploring fears features Kelowna writers

The book has launched in time for International Women’s Day

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

(File photo)
RCMP seek witnesses after 2 different reports of man chasing children in Kelowna

Both incidents occured around Dougall Road in Rutland

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Noah Vaten(left) having a cigarette out front of the Kelowna Law Courts on a brief break during his manslaughter trial on March 8, 2021. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Accused Kelowna killer ‘blacked out’ on cocaine, kicked cop shop window looking for help

Video of Noah Vaten’s interrogation shown during manslaughter trial details night of Canada Day killing in the accused’s own words

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

It's tick season in South Okanagan.
Tick season has started in South Okanagan

A Penticton adventure company collected 200 ticks last year to be studied for Lyme Disease

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

Most Read