Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rhizome Cafe Access Audit

Rhizome Cafe Accessibilities Audit Overview
317 East Broadway, Vancouver, (604)872-3166
Google Map of Rhizome

The folks at Rhizome say it best in their own words:  

“Rhizome is a friendly, diverse neighbourhood café that serves healthy, fresh food; organic, fairly traded coffee; and offers a fully licensed bar. We support social justice struggles by hosting events in collaboration with community groups that are working toward a more just, sustainable world for all. We encourage dialogue and mutual learning by making our Community Meeting Room available for meetings and workshops. We build community by providing people with a space to socialize and share information and resources. We help marginalized voices be heard, and highlight visual and performing arts that help us achieve a better understanding of our communities and our world.”

Rhizome is located in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, close to Main and Broadway, and is a queer-and-trans-friendly, kid friendly, creative and welcoming community space. Located next to shopping, pharmacies, cafes, restaurants and accessible transit, Rhizome is a convenient hub for gathering.

The main space of Rhizome is wheelchair accessible. There is an automatic door which is in need of repair as of this audit in June 2011. Upon entering, you’ll find a community room to your right, which can be closed off for meetings. Seating throughout the space includes benches along the wall, tables and chairs, a couch and some lounge seating. The kitchen, bar and counter are at the back.

Also at the back are the washrooms, both of which are on the same floor as the rest of the space. Neither can fit most people using a wheelchair or scooter, though the larger of the two may be accessible to some folks using smaller wheelchairs, or who can get up and leave their chair in the hall. There are ongoing discussions about how to increase the access to the washroom. Stay tuned for updates, and/or let Rhizome know your thoughts. In the meantime, the only solution for some folks is to go next door to the wheelchair accessible washroom at the Starbucks (audit of washroom to come), or another few doors down to the washroom at Our Town Coffee (audit to come). Please note that there are no tampon dispensers, sharps containers or scent free soaps provided at Rhizome (event organizers may provide scent free soaps, please check with them), so please come prepared!

All staff are able to assist in bringing food and beverage to tables, and are really open about making space for folks and keeping an aisle clear during packed events. If you’re hoping to get a seat at a well-attended event, you’ll definitely want to get there early, because Rhizome fills up really fast.

Please note that there is not currently a scent-reduced policy in place at Rhizome, though specific events will have their own policies. Refer to these resources if you’d like to learn more about how you can help create a safer environment for folks with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities:
A FAQ on MCS and being scent-free
On making your event scent-free or scent-reduced:
On products you can use to reduce your use of scents:

There is free parking on the surrounding streets, bike lockups outside (these used to be right outside, but are now located about 100 feet down the road), and accessible transit right out front.

If you have any questions, concerns, additions or kudos regarding this accessibility audit, please email me at:

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