CCB-BC-Yukon division Newsletter, The Observer, September 2023 edition

President’s Message

Hello, our hot and smokey summer days will soon be over; and I hope you all are safe and were able to find time over the summer to do something fun and relaxing.  I had lots of company that kept me busy while trying to keep up with CCB business and my computer challenges!

Fall is coming and it’s time to get organized for our in-person Chapter meetings – after all the setbacks for the last few years, I appreciate being able to say “in-person” – will be starting up again soon.  I know Comox Valley is, as are other Chapters I have been in touch with.  Please if you need any assistance, do not hesitate to contact us.

Pat Chicquen, Division President


Membership Tidbits


Membership Dues

Chapters should be receiving their CCB National membership package soon; if you do not receive the package or need assistance, please do not hesitate to email or contact a Division Board Member for assistance (contact information at the end of this newsletter).


Renewing Your Membership

CCB BC-Yukon Division members traditionally pay their membership dues through their Chapter.  An option for independent members or for members who find it easier to pay their CCB National dues online may go to:

Where you can either pay by PayPal or credit card.  If you do take advantage of CCB National’s membership payment option, be sure to know your Chapter’s name; and in BC independent members or members who may not be sure what their Chapter’s name is use the Festival of Friends Chapter.  And if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email


Division Call Ins: Calling All Members

June was a busy month for the Division, but we did manage to host our Call Ins.  Steve Barclay from Canadian Assistive Technology (CAT) updated us on the latest assistive tech available.  This summer we took some time off and hosted two Call In sessions – one in July and another in August.  In July, we shared our preferred cool off summer beverage, Yichun Zhao from UVIC updated us on his research concerning diagram accessibility for people with visual impairments and those of us who attended the Division’s Summer Sports Days talked about our experiences.  At our August 17th Division Call In, Susan Flanagan, Marilyn Rushton and Lachlan Gilchrist-Blackwood shared information about BC Blind Sports programs and the Active Living Network.

If you are interested in getting a link to the above Call Ins, please email:

If you have any requests or suggestions for us, please be sure to let us know.  Remembering our success is because of you!


Division Call In Update

Our Division Call Ins are on Zoom the first and third Thursday each month at 10:00am.  Please join us, we hope to hear you!  Here is the Division’s updated Call In schedule:

*September 7th: open-sharing session giving you an opportunity to share your point of view

*September 21st: guest speaker to be announced

*October 5th: open-sharing session

*October 19th: guest speaker to be announced

If you are interested and would like to join us, but have trouble with phoning in because of punching in numbers, please let us do the dialing for you and all you need do is answer your phone.  Email or phone 604-795-3885.


Making A Difference


Fraser Valley Transit Strike

As you may know, the Division asked our members and friends to send emails with their stories and views to help resolve the Fraser Valley transit strike; and then sent updates and encouraged further action. We thank everyone who sent in emails in support of ending this strike!  It is difficult to say how much influence we had, but pulling together and seeing a positive result is great!


CNIB Advocates for Transit Service in Fraser Valley

– from CNIB’s Equalize August edition by Tommy Leung

On March 20, 2023, Fraser Valley public transit workers went on strike due to a labour dispute with BC Transit and their local service provider, First Transit. For the next 124 days, Abbotsford, Hope, Chilliwack, Mission, and Agassiz communities were without access to public transit. This service interruption had a significant negative impact on people who are blind or low vision in these areas as many rely on public transit to access employment, healthcare services, shopping, recreation, and to fully participate in their communities.

As the strike continued, CNIB heard from many residents who expressed their concerns. In addition to the increased isolation caused by the lack of access to public transportation, many people felt their voices were not being heard. In May, the BC-Yukon division of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) released a public statement urging both sides to find a swift resolution to the strike. In solidarity with CCB, CNIB released the following public statement:

CNIB urges BC Transit to resume transit service in Fraser Valley

At CNIB, we stand in solidarity with the Canadian Council of the Blind regarding the Fraser Valley transit service suspension that has been in effect for more than three months. While we understand the Government of British Columbia has appointed a mediator, the ongoing labour dispute continues to impact the lives of thousands of community members with sight loss, who rely on public transit to fully participate in the communities of Agassiz-Harrison, Central Fraser Valley, Chilliwack, and Hope. Without access to public transit, people who are blind or partially sighted often experience reduced independence, leading to higher rates of unemployment, limited recreational opportunities, and increased social isolation. Whether grocery shopping, attending medical appointments, or connecting with family and friends, access to public transit is essential. BC Transit has a responsibility to ensure riders have reliable transit services outside of Greater Vancouver. We are urging First Transit and CUPE Local 561 to reach a resolution as soon as possible – people’s lives are depending on it.

Following the release of the statement, the Abbotsford News published the following article: CNIB Urges BC Transit To Resume Bus Service In Fraser Valley | Abbotsford News (

A tentative agreement was reached on July 21, bringing an end to the strike. This issue highlighted how critical access to public transit is.

In October, we are launching a transit campaign called “Get On Board,” aimed at improving the accessibility of public transit for passengers who are blind or low vision. To get involved, email


Sports & More


Curling in Vancouver

– submitted by Fraser Hiltz

The Blind and Low Vision Curling Season is starting up. The Vancouver Blind Curling Club will commence Wednesday, October 4th 2023, at 12:30 p.m. Curling is at the Vancouver Curling Club located in the Hillcrest Community and Recreation Centre, 4575 Clancy Loranger Way, Vancouver, BC (near Queen Elizabeth Park) a short walk from the UBC #33 bus stop at Clancy Loranger Way. Come and learn how to curl or start it again. Contact Carol, or myself, Fraser,


CCB BC-Yukon Division Summer Sports Days

Thanks to everyone who help make our Summer Sports Days a success.  We’re not saying there weren’t any challenges, but overall, a good time was had by all who attended!  We got to handle and get familiar with holding a golf club and make some swings.  Some of us made it all the way to the lower falls at Golden Ears Park, while others were close, but the slippery trail slowed us down.  As with any sport, lawn bowling was easier for some and let’s say seeing or in the very least hearing that the ball rolled too far or too near or into the ditch only made it more fun and a test to our fortitude and stick-to-itness!  Dragon boating was exhilarating – paddling together on the water chanting “ICE COLD BEER”; to be honest, the hardest part was getting in and out of the boat!

A special thanks to members, who after our venture, made a donation to the Division.  When members realize the benefits of belonging and being a part of the Division, it makes it even a sweeter success!


CCB Alberni Valley Chapter

– submitted by Jean and Bob Kanngiesser

Jennifer (Jenn) Collette stepped forward and volunteered to be President of our Chapter. Thank you Jenn. Jenn can be reached at 250 240 1738 or Gabby Osborne continues as Secretary-Treasurer and Bob Kanngiesser will continue to maintain the membership contact list.

Following our successful fundraiser with the Greater Victoria Police Chorus, we purchased and then presented the gift to each member at our end-of-year June meeting. We also had a light lunch at this meeting.

Recently we presented cheques to Abbeyfield, who provide our meeting room free of charge and the Alberni Valley Lions Club, who have assisted is in many ways over the past years.


CCB Kamloops Chapter

– submitted by Vern Short

On a bright sunny day, August 18th, 24 members of the Kamloops White Cane Club enjoyed a bus trip to Desert Hills in Ashcroft. A break from the smoke – buying fruit and vegetables  and enjoying a free Ice cream cone. Lunch was at a roadside Taco stand. A nice way to end a day trip. A great outing for our members.


CCB Provincial Book Club

– submitted by Kathy Sanness

Future Plans for the Book Club

The Provincial Book Club is a chapter of the CCB BC-Yukon Division.  We meet one day each month and review a book recommended by our members.  At our last meeting, we updated our meeting time; we needed a new day to meet as our meeting time wasn’t working for some of our members.  We will be meeting on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 9AM, Pacific time (we have members outside of BC).

Here are the books we chose for the rest of 2023:

September 27th Still Life by Sarah Winman

October 25th Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

November 22nd The Book of Longing by Sue Monk Kidd.

December 20th The Lottery by David Baldacci.

If you would like to try out our club, please contact me at my email ksanness@telus.netor phone me at 250 395 0395.


Ruth’s Corner

– submitted by Ruth Bieber

For Tom Teranishi

When I think of our dear friend Tom, one word above all, comes to mind.  Paaaaaaaarty!  That’s right, the man knew how to host a good party.  During the final year of his life, Tom hosted at least four parties, and these are only the ones I knew of.  The list includes Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve, the Academy Awards, and of course his own 80 birthday.  That’s right, Tom was 80 years old when he decided enough was enough, yet word on the street says he wasn’t supposed to see 30 years.  Circumstances surrounding Tom’s birth resulted in some early years of compromised health, but he would have none of that dictating his longevity!  I for one give a big cheer to Tom’s resilience and desire to live a good long life, good for him, and lucky for us!

In the late 70s I lived in Vancouver, and was good friends with Linda Evans.  After making the fatal error of moving to Alberta, I would stay with Linda during my many Vancouver visits.  So then when dear Linda passed way too early, in my estimation, guess who picked up the baton?  That’s right, our beloved Tom.  Little did I know this would result in being invited to so many parties!  It didn’t seem to matter what time of year I imposed on him for an overnighter, he was for sure having a party!  In fact, there is no doubt in my mind, that the little dickens is partying as I speak!  Can’t you just picture it?  And, if Tom wasn’t hosting a party, he was organizing people to meet up.

I recall one visit which found me joining him for some blind curling.  A good time was had by all, save for my Kelowna friends, who asked me why I was curling in Vancouver, when I wasn’t curling in Kelowna, where I was living at the time?  I simply responded by reminding them, that Tom said I should go curling, so I went curling!  The man might have been small in stature, but he was big in authority.  It just never occurred to me to not go!  In fact, the list was endless, and it never entered my mind to not attend the latest Tom organized event.  Tom said go, and off I went: curling, breakfast club, theatre, walks on the beach, fireworks on the rooftop, oh and for sure another party, of course!   if Tom said jump, well you know how that one goes!  Did someone say head of the Japanese Mafia?  I’m kidding, of course … sort of.  Can’t you just picture that as well?

When Tom could see well enough to stroll around Kitsilano, he would often accompany me to my eye clinic appointments at Vancouver General Hospital.  I can still recall the staff there trembling in their boots upon seeing him arrive.  Without a doubt, Tom put up with no guff.  I recall on one occasion, Tom heartily berating a front desk personnel, for not assisting me with some paperwork.  “Can’t you see she is blind?” he railed.  Again, he might have been small in stature, but his voice and his principles were big and strong.  The scurrying to attention was notable at these times.  There is no doubt in my mind he continues with this line of authority in his current dwelling.  Let’s just call him God Father Tom, shall we?

I miss Tom so very much, and I know I am not alone.  My life is richer having known him.  Fortunately for me, I have a final memory of Tom, that fortifies me heartily.  It was during one of his final days at his sweet Kitsilano condo.  His beloved friend Mike was visiting, and somehow the two of them managed to make their way to Tom’s balcony.  That in and of itself was nothing short of a miracle, given his need for a walker, but determined, thy name is Tom.  They decided to give me a call using speaker phone.  Thus, the three of us engaged in one of our witty, irreverent and ever so humorous conversations.  I will never forget that final meeting of the minds, the laughter and the wonder, that was Tom.  Remembering those final precious moments make me chuckle, and then they make me cry.

Blessings to you Tom, you were a gift to so many.  You are missed big time!

With love and admiration, your friend, Ruth

Parksville Vancouver Island

**An in-person celebration of life for Tom has been organized, with details as follows:

Date: Saturday, September 16, 2023

Time: 12 noon to 3 PM

Location: Nikkei Place – 6068 Southoaks Crescent Burnaby, BC

For TransLink Customer Service, (604)953-3333, or visit



News, Views & Tips From You


BC Blind Sports News

– from their July 2023 Newsletter

Blind Tennis

The blind tennis program takes place at the Coquitlam Poirier Community Centre! If you would like to participate, please register as soon as possible.

Background and History

A blind and low vision tennis ball is larger and contains bearings that make a sound as it moves or bounces.  Athletes use shorter racquets and often play on smaller indoor court than is typical in traditional tennis. Tennis adapted for the visually impaired was introduced to Canadians in 2011 by Alan Ma, through the Blind Tennis Program in Toronto. Alan launched the program after being inspired by blind tennis programs in the United Kingdom and in Japan, where the sport originated from.

Check out this video, AMI: Accessible Media Inc. – Blind Tennis, featuring BC Blind Sports, to learn more about blind tennis.

In-Person Program Updates

Kelowna – In-person Fitness Classes

The Kelowna in-person fitness classes have a new location! If you or someone you know in the Kelowna area is interested in trying the classes contact BC Blind Sports. The classes are held on Thursdays at 5:15 PM. The class instructor, Cindy, is excited to work with you and see how the participants benefit from the program. Cindy is a certified fitness instructor with BCRPA and has a certificate in Health Coaching. Cindy also leads our online dryland and fitness programs on Monday evenings, does dragon boat paddling and helps coach the Sonar Dragon’s team in Kelowna.

Chilliwack – In-person Chair Yoga Classes

BC Blind Sports is still seeking an instructor for our in-person Yoga and fitness program in Chilliwack so we can resume the classes. In the meantime, the online classes will continue, led by Candice.

Nanaimo – In-person Fitness Classes

The Nanaimo in-person fitness classes, led by Brian, will take a break in July and August and return in September.

Online Program Updates

These programs have made it possible for all, regardless of their physical location, to join in and be active.  For some, the classes have allowed them to get to know their bodies and their body movement; for others it’s been about getting a workout and keeping active. Members have reconnected with old friends and created new ones.

Chair Yoga with Candice – Sundays and Thursdays

Dragon Boat Fitness with Cindy – Monday evenings

Fitness with Brian – Thursday evenings

BC Blind Sports Active Living Network – Meets once every 4 to 5 weeks.

Fall Blind Ice Hockey Season

Ice Hockey program is open to new participants learning hockey and those who are already experienced in hockey. The only participation requirement is to be a BC Blind Sports member in good standing. The season will run from September 2023 to March 2024. Please contact us for information about the ice times booked in Surrey on Sundays from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. For more information or to attend the program, contact BC Blind Sports.

For information on any of our programs and activities, please email or or call the office at 604-325-8638 or 1-877-604-8638


Celebrating Guide Dog Access Awareness Month

– from CNIB’s Equalize August edition by Larissa Proctor

Held every September, Guide Dog Access Awareness Month is a time to raise awareness about the rights of guide dog handlers, the legal responsibilities of businesses when providing service or access to a guide dog team, and to champion equal access for guide dog teams.

In all of Canada’s provinces and territories, human rights legislation prohibits discriminating against a person with a disability who is working with a guide dog. Discrimination includes denial of access to any premises to which the public would normally have access – penalties under human rights legislation range from $100 to $10,000. (For more information, visit our Guide Dog Legislation page).

Despite this legislation, people partnered with guide dogs continue to encounter discrimination when they’re denied access to public places and services, such as stores, restaurants, hotels, taxis, etc. Access barriers persist for guide dog handlers across Canada despite laws protecting their rights.

That’s why Guide Dog Access Awareness Month is so important – to educate people about guide dog handlers, their rights and the laws that protect them, and the responsibilities businesses and people bear when providing service or access to a guide dog team.

In the lead-up to Guide Dog Access Awareness Month, Kelly Picco, Program Lead of Community and Volunteer Engagement in Newfoundland has been hard at work ensuring that the local community understands the rights of guide dog teams. In recent months, Kelly and CNIB guide dog Maple has been presenting to various children’s groups, including daycare centres, Girl Guides of Canada branches, and summer camps. In September, Kelly will lead efforts to distribute window decals to local businesses that read, “Guide Dogs Welcome: It’s the Law.”

You can help ensure the rights of guide dog handlers are upheld by becoming a guide dog champion. Visit CNIB’s Guide Dog Champions page to find out how. Order a free window decal for your business, print the colouring sheet and post it on your social media this September with the hashtag #GDAAM.

Together, we can raise awareness that guide dogs belong everywhere.


Inherited Retinal Disease Awareness Month

from Fighting Blindness Canada website

Fighting Blindness Canada (FBC) has helped make September, Inherited Retinal Disease (IRD) Awareness Month! Over 20,000 Canadians have an IRD and for most, there are no treatments available. Join us to raise awareness of genetic eye diseases that lead to vision loss or blindness.

How to Participate In IRD Month

Reserve your virtual seat for our View Point webinar on ‘Advances in Stem Cell Therapy’ taking place September 19th. Register for the webinar!

Join us in person at View Point Toronto! Access event and ticket information.

Living with an IRD? Join FBC’s Patient Registry.

Learn More About IRDS

Watch our Q&A with genetic counsellor, Leslie Colvin James.

Check out our genetic testing webpage for information on how and why to get tested for an IRD.

Access recordings of past FBC View Point webinars about IRDs.

What is an IRD?

An inherited retinal disease (IRD) is a condition caused by a specific genetic mutation or combination of genetic mutations that lead to vision loss or blindness.

Although there are differences between IRDs, they share some similarities including the following:

IRDs are inherited, meaning a person is born with a specific genetic mutation that may cause vision loss or blindness at birth or later in life.

Retinal damage is caused by specific genetic mutations that affect how retinal cells work and survive. Researchers have found over 300 genes that cause IRDs.

Vision loss ultimately results from damage to the retina in the back of the eye.

There are over 20 IRDs including, retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt disease, Usher syndrome, Leber congenital amaurosis, Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, choroideremia, cone-rod dystrophy, X-linked retinoschisis, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, adult refsum disease, Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome, Best disease (vitelliform macular dystrophy), and optic nerve hypoplasia.

Do you or a loved one live with an IRD and have a question? Contact our Health Information Line at or 1.888.626.2995.

Help Spread the Word

To spread the word about IRD Awareness Month, download our social media toolkit and help raise awareness by using #FBCIRDMonth.

Toolkit instructions: Download the zip file, unzip the toolkit folder to a selected area on your computer, open the unzipped folder and select the social media image(s) you would like to use from the ones provided, and post the image on your social media feed or story using #FBCIRDMonth.

Inherited Retinal Disease (IRD) Awareness month is a Canadian-recognized promotional health month. For more information visit


Points to Ponder

– from Farm Show Magazine Vol 47, No. 4, 2023

– sent in by Judy Macdonald

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing something well.

Have you heard of the 50-50-90 rule? Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there’s a 90 percent probability you’ll get it wrong.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day drinking beer.

Definition of a flashlight: A case for holding dead batteries.

When you go to court, you are putting yourself in the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.

I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

Being healthy is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in a hospital dying of nothing.

When weeding your garden, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.


Your Division Board of Directors Contact Information

Remember your Division Board of Directors is here to help you. Do not hesitate to email or call for more information or clarification concerning the CCB BC-Yukon Division.

Pat Chicquen, President – 250-339-3904 –

Kelvin Adams, 2nd Vice President– 250-895-9835 –

Terry Pipkey, 3rd Vice President- 250-562-1892–

Ann McNabb, Past President – 604-795-7230 –

Fraser Hiltz, Director – 604-379-0035 –

Caroline Markel, Director – 250-301-9565 –

Rose Pokeda, Director – 250-334-8565 –

Vern Short, Director – 250-819-9152 –

+++end of document+