The top 10 wheelchair accessible cafes in Toronto
The top wheelchair accessible cafes in Toronto provide barrier-free access to Toronto's favourite caffeine fix. Whether you're in a wheelchair, pushing a baby carriage or nursing a broken ankle, there are plenty of places to grab a convenient coffee in this city.
In no particular order, here are my picks for the top barrier-free cafes in Toronto.
This cafe, owned by top Toronto barista Sameer Mohamed, is simply designed to let you grab your coffee and head back to the office. Two long bar height tables are available to sit or stand, but there are no washrooms available to the public. As Fahrenheit does not offer food (aside from baked goods) or a structured seated area, they are not required to provide washroom facilities. The wide 34 inch door and large space in front of the ordering counter, however, really adds to Fahrenheit's accessibility.
The Bandit Coffee Group
This indie coffee shop near Gerrard and Woodbine serves up good coffee and fresh pastries to a loyal following of neighbourhood locals. The front entrance is 30 inches wide with no obstructions, and inside, the space is kept open with a simple rectangular table in the middle. The single washroom is on the main floor, but the doorway and overall space is a tad small. If driving, there is street parking on both major streets of Gerrard and Woodbine.
Dineen Coffee Co.
Located in the Dineen Building, this cafe allows patrons to experience a bit of heritage while sipping on their cortados. There are two main street entrances to Dineen that both feature a wide set of double doors. Off Temperance St., you can access the beautiful sidewalk-level patio. The interior features wide aisles and two very clean accessible private washrooms. There is no street parking available nearby, although the accessible Bay-Adelaide parking garage almost neighbours this coffee shop. Queen subway station is a short block away.
Crema Coffee Co. (Danforth)
Crema's Danforth outpost is made accessible by the inspirational StopGap initiative, which provides removable ramps to any establishment. The ramp is sturdy enough for any mobility device as long is someone is available to assist with the door. The entrance measures at 34 inches, and once inside, there are standard-height tables available in the front and back of the cafe. The only washroom available to customers is wheelchair accessible: 34 inch wide door, a grab bar, and a floating sink 29 inches from floor.
This Annex coffee shop and retailer boats a large 34-inch doorway allows anyone to get in, although there is no automatic button. Inside, the 2650-square-foot store leaves enough space to sit and grab a coffee or browse their products. There is an accessible washroom located on the main floor indicated by a blue sign that has two grab bars, 72 by 72-inch dimensions and a 34-inch door. There are no level changes in the store, and the take out window is a nice touch. Green Beanery is around the corner from Bathurst subway, which is accessible, and there is a large outdoor parking lot north of Bloor on Bathurst.
Baka Gallery Cafe
If it wasn't for this coffee shop's beautiful patio, I think I may have walked right by it: The spacious, accessible patio is as comfortable as it is inviting. The entrance to this Bloor West Village cafe is 34 inches, with a working automatic button. The interior is small, but there is a walkway wide enough to access the single family style washroom. In regards to parking, there is a "Green P" right across the street on Beresford Ave. Runnymede subway station is not accessible, so Jane would be your next best option.
At this Leslieville coffee shop, the spacious front sidewalk patio looks like the perfect place to hang out all day long - and then you head in to order your espresso, and realize that the inside is just as accessible! A large entranceway can accomodate any scooter or power chair, and there is a clear pathway to the left that leads to the large, accessible bathroom. My only complaint would be that public transportation options are limited to the inaccessible Queen streetcar and an always-busy Pape bus.
Thor Espresso Bar
Down the street from the Thompson Hotel, Thor's entrance and spacious patio are on the sidewalk level. Indoors there is only bar seating and one large washroom at the back for everyone to use, featuring a 36-inch door, a 29-inch-tall sink, and two grab bars. A large parking lot is located behind the cafe; you also may be able to find street parking on Niagara St. Both are paid parking.
Early Bird Espresso
At Early Bird, the coffee is delicious and the bearded baristas are friendly and helpful. Free Wi-Fi and a mix of smaller and larger tables makes this a great place to either stop in for a quick snack or spend a cozy afternoon with a book. The 37-inch front doorway provides ample space to enter, and there is an automatic door opener. There is a corner that must be negotiated in order to enter, which may be an issue for larger scooters. There is a generous route to the counter, and a single accessible washroom at the back of the store.
This Bloor West Village coffee shop just celebrated its 26th anniversary; it's not surprising that Coffee Tree has stood the test of time. The front entrance measures at 34 inches wide and indoors there are approximately 10 standard height tables available with 40-inch pathways throughout the area. The toilet facilities consist of separate single-stall washrooms. Coffee Tree is located next door to the accessible Jane subway station and the neighbourhood offers many Green P parking options.
Did I miss any? Add your favourite wheelchair accessible cafes in the comments.
Written by Silvia Guido, a Toronto-based physiotherapist specializing in neurological rehabilitation. Comprehensive reviews and pictures can be found on Silvia's blog at www.accessto.ca.