Full Accessibility for Historic Joy Kogawa House

A major capital project for Historic Joy Kogawa House Society is moving ahead. The City of Vancouver has accepted a development permit application from Merrick Architecture to make the house fully accessible. Plans include installing an interior wheelchair lift and accessible washroom on the lower floor of the house and widening a door on the main floor. Directional signage, connection to an exterior wheelchair lift, new accessible entrance, fully accessible kitchen, and visual fire alarms are also part of the plan.

These accessibility upgrades will meet our commitment to writers and visitors of all mobilities and at the same time expand opportunities for public use of the house. Find out more here and here.

Explore existing conditions for both the non-conforming lower floor and the partially rehabilitated main floor of the heritage house in this virtual tour.

Help us fund accessibility upgrades.

“As someone with reduced physical mobility, it is often difficult for me to access the Historic Joy Kogawa House. I also have friends who are in wheelchairs who have been unable to attend literary events, readings, and workshops. As an important house, museum, historical venue, and artists’ site, I believe it imperative that we make Joy Kogawa House accessible for all members of the society and community it serves. There have been several times I could not access programs in the House because I could not walk up and down the stairs due to my differing abilities. They were programs and people I missed dearly.”

Cathleen With,
author of Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison

“From the earliest days of our 2015−2016 residency at Historic Joy Kogawa House, we were conscious that the house has physical barriers to participation for wheelchair users and other people who experience mobility issues.

Throughout our residency, we hosted weekly literary events. As per the requirements of our residency, the events were held at the house. However, having both had backgrounds in accessible arts programming in our birth country of Australia, we knew that if we had had the choice, we would have staged our events at an alternative, accessible venue.

During our residency, we shared our concerns in numerous discussions with staff. We also gathered accessibility information about the house, which was included on event copy and on the Accessibility page that was added to the house’s relaunched website. These were early steps that have led to the proposed upgrades.”

Tom Cho and Jackie Wykes

With funding support from:

Your support will help in these ways:

  • $50 will contribute to the monthly honorarium for our writer-in-residence
  • $150 will pay one writer to participate in a shared reading
  • $300 will pay one writer to lead one writing workshop
  • $1,000 will help increase accessibility