sensory activities

Toronto stadiums want to make their vibes less overwhelming for fans

Catching a Toronto FC, Maple Leafs, Raptors, or even a Marlies game can be a lot for some, especially those with sensory issues, who are susceptible to feelings of being overwhelmed by the crowds, noise, and excitement of a professional sporting venue. And it gets even more chaotic when one of our teams wins.

Many fans seek out the noise and spectacle of places like Scotiabank Arena, BMO Field and the Coca-Cola Coliseum, but it can be an unpleasant experience for fans with sensory issues often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions.

It's something that sports titan Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) appears to have taken notice of, revealing in a press release on Tuesday that the company would be making some small but important changes to its venues.

MLSE announced a partnership with nonprofit sensory accessibility company KultureCity on Tuesday, the two companies working together to make some of the city's biggest sports and concert venues more inclusive and accommodating for fans with sensory issues.

To gain sensory-inclusive certification, staff at the three venues will have to undergo training from medical professionals on how to identify guests with sensory issues, and respond to a guest who may be suffering from sensory overload.

But that's just one facet of the process, and guests experiencing sensory overload or who are worried about an episode will be equipped with an arsenal of tools to make the experience more enjoyable.

Sensory swag bags available on request will contain noise-cancelling headphones provided by Puro Sound Labs, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads. There is also a free KultureCity App where guests can check the available sensory features provided, and a preview of what to expect during specific events.

Toronto would join a long list of other cities, with 25 NBA and 15 NHL venues already partnered with KultureCity, though this marks the company's first partnership in a Canadian market.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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