Toward the First Shopping Mall Specifically Adapted to Persons with a Physical Handicap

Intelligent wheelchairs that automatically guide you to the correct store while avoiding obstacles, specific colors on the walls and stairs in order to obtain better contrasts which would likely prevent potential falls, personal guides with special training for different types of disabilities... These scenarios could soon become a reality at Place Alexis Nihon due a new ambitious research project in rehabilitation involving some of the best Quebec researchers in this area.


Living Laboratory
Place Alexis Nihon, one of the largest shopping malls in downtown Montreal, will soon transform into a real living rehabilitation laboratory during the next few months. Several pilot projects will begin shortly thanks to the collaboration of CANMARC REIT Management Inc., who has graciously accepted to suspend future renovation plans until after these researchers have provided their insight and recommendations.

This innovative project, financed by the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQS) in the amount of 350 000$, could ultimately change the face of shopping malls.

“In Quebec, approximately 17% of the population has a physical disability. This proportion dramatically increases to 48% for Montreal residents over the age of 65 years. Too often, we forget the numerous obstacles faced by people with a physical disability. We hope our research will encourage the social participation and inclusion of these people, particularly across activities taking place in shopping malls,” explained Dr. Bonnie Swaine, Scientific Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal (CRIR) and a professor at the University of Montreal's School of Rehabilitation.

About CRIR
CRIR's mission is to contribute to the autonomy and social integration of persons with physical disabilities (motor, visual, hearing, speech and language), through research in both the biomedical and psychosocial domains. These researchers are experts in more than fifteen disciplines (occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, etc.). They are affiliated with the Université de Montréal, McGill University, Université du Québec à Montréal, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Concordia University, University of Ottawa, and Université de Sherbrooke.

CRIR is operated by the association of six rehabilitation institutions:

•           Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital

•           Gingras-Lindsay-de-Montréal Rehabilitation Centre

•           Constance-Lethbridge Rehabilitation Centre

•           Lucie-Bruneau Rehabilitation Centre

•           Nazareth et Louis-Braille Institute

•           Raymond-Dewar Institute

About Place Alexis Nihon

Place Alexis Nihon, the property of CANMARC REIT Management Inc., is a 2.4 million square foot urban complex adjacent to downtown Montreal, located at 3400 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West. Built in 1967, Place Alexis Nihon is a multi-purpose complex featuring two office towers, a residential tower, a three-level shopping centre and a parking facility with over 1,100 spaces.

For further information:
Pascal Mailhot
Head of External Communications

William Raillant-Clark
International Press Attaché
Université de Montréal
Tel: 514-343-7593