Saturday January 28, 2017

BLOG | Navigating winter in Winnipeg with a wheelchair

Libby Zdriluk takes her first ever ride in an 'executive' SUV.

Libby Zdriluk takes her first ever ride in an 'executive' SUV. (CBC / Kaj Hasselriis)

Listen 7:31

By Trevor Dineen, Now or Never host

Winter in Winnipeg. Let's be honest. It's not fun. 

There's snow. Followed by –40 degree temperatures. Followed by more snow. Followed by White Walkers. And then a blizzard... of more snow. This year alone, we've already accumulated almost 100 centimetres of the white stuff.

And that has made it ridiculously difficult for Libby Zdriluk to get around town. You see, she uses a power wheelchair, which, as you may or many not have guessed, doesn't come equipped with a front snow plow. So winters can be long, and getting out of the house can be difficult.

So I decided to surprise her with her first ever ride in an executive accessible vehicle. The service is provided by a company in Winnipeg called Sunshine Transit, which provides fancy transit for people with mobility issues. 

They're even adding a stretch limousine to their fleet by the end of the school year. Libby told me she never got the chance to take a limo to her graduation when she was younger, because none of them were wheelchair accessible. 

Libby, Trevor and Gary

Libby Zdriluk, me and Gary Jakeman in front of his 'executive' SUV. (CBC / Kaj Hasselriis)

I asked her if there was anywhere special she wanted to be chauffeured to, and she said it might be fun to visit the brand new accessible home she's moving into later in the year. She hadn't seen the spot since construction started, and to say she was excited would be a bit of an understatement.

Her eyes lit up as we cruised past the site of her future home; a huge smile frozen on her face. And then the White Walkers came. (Just kidding...)

I first encountered Libby while hosting DNTO's episode from a city bus. Take a listen to her incredible story here: