One day in the summer of 1996, I was wandering around downtown, wanting nothing more than a place to sit down.

From an open door I heard familiar music by Frank Sinatra. The song was New York New York. “Well, I’ve always wanted to go there,” I thought, “for today whatever’s beyond that door is probably all I can afford.”

I kept walking, and found the neatest little cafe. A little pricy for a 14 year old, but still cheaper than a trip to New York. I decided to treat myself.

Capistrano soon became a Saturday afternoon thing for me, and after tasting their mochaccinos, soups, sandwiches, and very unique Caesar salads, I decided the price was worth it. During the years when the buses met in The Square, Capistrano became a regular pit stop and coffee fill-up for Guelph’s many wonderful bus drivers.

23 years later.

Capistrano has changed owners, added a few delicious new menu items, and redecorated, but where it counts, it’s still pretty much the same. One improvement I noticed since the renovation, is lower counters. At 5’7” they’re not so low as to be awkward for me, but they’re low enough that a person in a wheel chair can access them. What an innovative idea! The area where people line up to place their orders is very spacious, with all kinds of room for wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers do navigate.

Along the one side is a padded bench with chairs on the other side of each table, and towards the back is a comfy table with two very comfy padded chairs. This is where I try to sit when I am there.

What really impressed me were their accessible washrooms. Each washroom is almost the size of my first apartment, and they have grab bars. I’ve heard friends in wheelchairs and with large mobility aids complain about cramped washrooms. Believe me, you won’t have that problem in Capistrano.

Situated just steps from a bus stop (Wyndham @ Cork) this is the perfect place for people like myself, who rely on public transportation. In my case, there is a bus that goes straight to my apartment, so I feel extra lucky.

The only way Capistrano could improve its accessibility would be to install automatic doors. It would be nice if people in wheelchairs and with large mobility aids, and even people with babies in strollers, could enter and exit this lovely place independently.