Information for Businesses

Messages of Support

"I look forward to helping CNIB achieve their aim of making the Yonge and St Clair area the most accessible in Toronto. To this end, I am happy to lend my support to their "ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled" project through my connections with local businesses in my ward, to ensure that this project is a success."

- Josh Matlow, Toronto City Councillor, Ward 22

CNIB BlindSquare Support Letter.docxFull letter of support from Josh Matlow

Let’s change our community for the better, together!

Woman points to beacon sign at a Swiss ChaletWe want to make Yonge and St. Clair the most inclusive and accessible neighbourhood in Canada, and we need your help!

With ‘ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled’, customers with sight loss will feel comfortable and welcome in your place of business. When your business is ‘BlindSquare Enabled’, people with sight loss can use an app that gives them a spoken description of your business, including your business name, the layout, and the goods or services you sell. The app also gives these customers additional information such as where bus stops are located and the names of the roads they are walking along.

Joining ShopTalk is easy and best of all, its free!

When you join 'ShopTalk' we’ll provide you with the tools that make it work and help install them for free. All it takes is having (7cm x 7cm) battery-powered devices known as ‘beacons’ placed inside your business entrance.

They are discreet and silently ‘communicate’ with the BlindSquare app - that people with sight loss will use to navigate your business - through low energy Bluetooth signals.

The signals do not use WiFi or interfere with any other technologies (such as security systems). Even better, beacons can be placed discretely onto a ceiling or a wall, and can be removed without any marking or damage to the wall surface.

Have you installed BlindSquare beacons in your business? Let us know how it's going by taking this short survey!

Are you interested in learning more about ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled?

The below are a series of frequently asked questions that address everything from where and how to download the app, how the app itself works, and how this will be good for your business.

To coordinate a BlindSquare demonstration, request more information, or get involved, please contact:

Audrey Chin
Coordinator, Advocacy and Community Outreach
Cell: (647) 236-3196


  1. Where will the BlindSquare Beacons be located?

  2. During the roll-out of the first phase, 200 Beacons will be placed in businesses along Yonge Street from just south of St. Clair Avenue to Heath Street.
  3. My business is in the Yonge and St. Clair area, but just outside of your target area. Can I still participate?

  4. Absolutely!

    Please e-mail to talk about getting a beacon for your business.

  5. How do I get a Beacon?

  6. It’s easy - we are asking for your support by letting us put one of these tiny Beacons inside your business entrance. It can be placed discretely onto a ceiling or a wall, and can be removed without any marking or damage to the wall surface.

    If you are interested, please e-mail to set up a time for us to come meet with you and provide you with a beacon.

  7. What does the beacon look like?

  8. The beacon is a small white square with a green border and a CNIB logo:

    Closeup of beacon.png

  9. How will I be recognized for getting involved?

  10. You will gain a whole lot of new customers. Our new Hub at 1525 Yonge Street will draw thousands of people with sight loss into the community over the next year. CNIB has over 15,000 clients in Toronto.

    We will give you a small sticker to display in your window so people walking by will know you are supporting the program. We expect the media will be interested in this project. Their news stories will not only be a great marketing tool for your business, but will also be an easy way to let your customers know you are committed to making your business more inclusive and accessible for people with sight loss.

    Example: Toronto Star story - A stretch of Yonge St. could become Canada's 'most accessible' neighbourhood
    CNIB will give you public recognition as a project supporter on our website and your name will be included in our materials when we meet with local politicians and neighbourhood leaders.
  11. Will there be a cost?

  12. No. The project is sponsored by CNIB in partnership with BlindSquare, with funding from the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Government of Canada.
    Participating in the ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled initiative is cost-free. The Beacon and programming is free for at least one year. We are exploring funding opportunities to remain on the network after the first year, but there is no obligation to continue to participate.
  13. What happens if we redesign our business?

  14. The beacon messaging is only as good as the information we are given. If you remodel or move your business, please contact us at so we can come and visit you and develop new messaging.
  15. Can I use the beacon to promote offers or daily specials?

  16. The beacon messaging is created to help people with sight loss move safely around the neighbourhood and cannot be used for additional purposes. There are plenty of ways that you can make your promotional information accessible to customers with sight loss – please email us at and we can work with you to suggest some accessible solutions.
  17. How do I download the app?

  18. If you want to experience it, BlindSquare Event is now available on the iTunes store. It offers free and unlimited use around the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair and surrounding neighbourhoods from Bloor to Lawrence. It can be downloaded by anyone with access to an iPhone or iPad. It is not currently available on Android.
  19. How else can I make my business accessible to people with sight loss?

  20. We hope that having a beacon will be the beginning of the conversation around inclusiveness and accessibility. We want to work with our neighbours beyond technology to help them provide the best customer service to their customers who have sight loss.
    To learn more about common visual conditions, basic ettiquette and other accessibility tips, visit our Fact Sheets page.
  21. Have other projects like this been done in Canada?

  22. No, in Toronto we are trailblazing the way. We were inspired by the No Dark Doors project in New Zealand. We hope that what we learn and achieve from this project will become a guide for others who want to make other neighbourhoods in Canada inclusive and accessible. Join us and let's make history!