ccb bc-yukon division, The Observer Newsletter, June 2023 edition…

President’s Message

Hello, it has been a very busy month.

I went to Victoria for a luncheon at Government House celebrating the crowning of King Charles III the day before his coronation. It was very interesting with a children’s choir and bagpipe music and a good lunch.

Rose and I took a trip to Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon to promote CCB membership at CNIB’s Mobile Hub in those communities.  I would like to thank Rose and her husband Bob; Rose for knowing what to do at all times and Bob who was our driver did a great job.

Pat Chicquen, President


Membership Tidbits

Proposed All Things Braille Chapter

Are you a braille user?  Would you like to learn braille?  Does being a braille pen pal interest you?  Please email if you are interested in joining a chapter focusing on braille.

Create Change With Action

Would you like to be more involved with changing the world around us and make a difference in the lives of the blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted community.  Would you like to get together to discuss today’s issues with an anticipated outcome of developing an action plan for change.  Please email if you are interested in a discussion group focusing on generating change with action.


Division Call Ins: Calling All Members

Our Division Call Ins continue to be supported by your attendance and interest.  If you have any requests or suggestions for us, please be sure to let us know.  Remembering our success is because of you!  Each month we host two Call Ins: the first Thursday at 10:00am is usually an open sharing session, while the third Thursday we invite a guest speaker.

At our March Open Call In there were questions and interest in  our Summer Sports Days; and thus we dedicated our second March Call In to promoting the Summer Sports Days with Sports & Rec Committee members Darren Douma (chair), Fraser Hiltz, Iris Thompson and Ann McNabb.  We must have been successful, considering the participant numbers now registered for this event.

In April, There was no second Call In with a guest due to the AGM and workshops being held in person in Abbotsford.  And in May Loretta Roberts from En-Vision America spoke to us about ScripTalk and accessible prescription labeling.

Hoping you Zoom in with us and we hear you at a future Division Call In!


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:

*June 15th: Steve Barclay from Canadian Assistive Technology (CAT) will update us on the newest assistive tech available

*July 6th: open-sharing session where Yichun Zhao from UVIC will update us on his research concerning diagram accessibility for people with visual impairments

*July 20th: summer break – no call in

*August 3rd: summer break – no call in

*August 17th: open-sharing session

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.


Sports & More

Summer Sports Days

Anticipation! Excitement! Our Summer Sports Days will soon be here.  Luckily there was some interest and we have 48 participants.  All with varying degrees of athletic prowess – from the seasoned athlete to the beginner.  We will be busy putting and driving golf balls at Nitro Golf Academy, walking the lower falls trail at Golden Ears Park, throwing balls at the Langley Lawn Bowling Club and dragon boat paddling at the Fort Langley Canoe Club on the Fraser River.

I’m exhausted and enthralled all at the same time thinking about the opportunity to meet new members and old ones too (I don’t mean that literally, I meant make new friends and get reacquainted with others) and taking part in activities I haven’t done before.  It’s awesome!


Congratulations BC Blind Curlers, Results of the Western Blind Curling Championship 2023

– from a March 13, 2023 CCB BC-Yukon Division post

– report from Norman Lyons, President, Manitoba Blind Sports Association, and Chair, 2023 Western Blind Curling Championships

Home from a wonderful 2023 Western Blind Curling Championships. The Teams from Prince George, Campbell River, Vancouver And Edmonton are home or are still in Transit. My Third, Bill Liggins is on his way back to Parry Sound, Ontario. I hope all had a good time and enjoyed.

The Western Blind Curling Association held their Annual General Meeting on Thursday afternoon. Elected to a 2 Year Term were: Lori Hysert, President, Norman Lyons, Vice – President, Mandy Collins, Secretary And David Erno, Treasurer. Natalie Morin will serve as Past President.

The Winner of The Manitoba Blind Sports Association 50 / 50 Raffle of $1,842.50 was John Hill. The Winning Ticket was sold by Norman Lyons.

The Awards were presented and the Winning Teams were the Natalie Morin Rink, Edmonton 2, Western Blind Curling Association First Place Trophy. The Second Place Ken Blondheim Memorial Trophy was won by The Arthur Monkman Rink of Campbell River. The Third Place Trophy donated by The Manitoba Blind Sports Association was won by The Eric Rosen Rink from Prince George.

The Sportsmanship Awards were won by (Ladies), Monica Nelson from Vancouver And (Gentlemen), Hunter McLaughlin from Winnipeg. The Michelle Anfinson Award presented by Marv And Stacey Anfinson in memory of wife and mother was won by Brian Fredrickson of Winnipeg.

The 2024 Western Blind Curling Championship will be hosted in Alberta. I want to personally thank once again all of our Sponsors, Donors And Volunteers who were so generous to make this event a resounding success. I have the personal satisfaction of seeing the event come back and be back on track. To my Committee, big thanks to all of you for your hard work. And finally to Cathy Derewianchuk, my Executive Director of Manitoba Blind Sports for the long hours and her dedication to keep it all together. It was unfortunate that Saskatchewan was unable to participate this year but I hope to see them back next year. It was good to see Marv And Stacey Anfinson who came from Regina to take part and present their awards.

That’s a wrap. Now, on to the next adventure.

Vancouver Blind Curling Club Demonstrates Blind Curling to Invictus GAMES Representatives

– submitted by Fraser Hiltz

On Friday, March 3rd 2023, at the Vancouver Curling Club, the Vancouver Blind Curling Club was invited to demonstrate the sport of Blind and Low Vision Curling to representatives from six countries for future Winter Invictus Games Competition. The demonstration occurred in conjunction with a demonstration of Wheel Chair Curling for the same group of representatives. The countries at the event were: Canada, Poland, Estonia, Columbia, Germany and Austria. The Vancouver team that has qualified to attend the Western Blind Curling Championships in Winnipeg March 8 to 12 demonstrated our game. Monica Nelson, totally blind, showed how she is guided to deliver a curling rock and threw two shots into the target, or “house” at the other end of the ice to great applause! Tim Hurley and Henry Vis both demonstrated how they line up their rocks aiming towards our Coach and Guide, Paul Willing. Tim aiming at our Coach near to where he delivers the rock and Henry slides towards a light affixed to Paul’s broom at the near end of the ice as that is the limited distance he can spot and aim at the target. Both got their two shots into the “house” showing both the “in turn” and the “out turn” curling shots. Fraser Hiltz described the levels of vision his team mates have and some background information on the Blind Curling Game and the adaptions we make within the sport that allows us to play and compete within our unique game. The attending representatives asked questions and expressed how much they enjoyed and learned from the Demonstration.

2023 Camp Bowen Camps Announcement///

My name is Alex Jurgensen. I’m writing on behalf of Camp Bowen, a set of summer camps for blind, DeafBlind, and low vision children, teens, and adults of all ages. As an alumni myself, I can tell you that Camp Bowen is a magical place, where blindness and DeafBlindness aren’t barriers, life-long friendships are made, and campers enjoy a rewarding blend of participating in recreational activities and learning independent living skills. This year we have 3 amazing camps scheduled: Braille Literacy Camp, Linda Evans Memorial Music Camp, and Adult Retreat. Thanks to a generous contribution from the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnership Program, we have funding to help children, youth, and young adults by covering travel expenses and camp fees to attend Camp Bowen from across Canada. For those older than 30, we will do our best to connect campers with funding to help with camp and travel expenses, as it is our intention to ensure anyone who wants to come can, despite any financial barriers.

General Information About Camp Bowen:


2023 Camp Bowen Flyer for Parents of Children and Teens 8-18:


About Camp Bowen: Linda Evans Memorial Music Camp (8-18):


Information About Camp Bowen: Braille Literacy Camp (8-12):


Information About Camp Bowen: Adult Retreat: Young Adult Independence Stream (19-30):


Information About Camp Bowen: Adult Retreat: General and Song Writing Music Exploration Streams (19+):


If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at <> or +1 (800) 264-2623, extension 102.


CCB Alberni Valley Chapter

– submitted by Jean Kanngiesser

Following a three year delay due to COVID, the Chapter hosted The Greater Victoria Police Chorus for a performance in Port Alberni on April 16th. An audience of over 300 attended the concert and we received much feedback from the attendees stating how they so enjoyed the performance with the hope that they will return on another occasion.

With profits from this fund raiser, we are able to purchase a gift for each member of our Chapter. Items have been purchased from CNIB and a few other suppliers to assist members with their everyday living. Talking scales, watches and blood pressure monitors are examples of the items purchased.

At our regular June 7th meeting we will distribute the gifts and enjoy a light lunch to celebrate the success of the concert.

On a sad note, I will be resigning as President of the Alberni Valley Chapter at the conclusion of the June meeting. My health is such that I am unable to continue. To date we have not recruited someone who will assume the President’s role thus there is a strong risk that the Chapter will fold. It is hoped that members will continue to belong to CCB as members at large. Our future will be decided at the June meeting.


CCB Bowen Island Chapter

What’s Up at Camp Bowen?

June 1, 2023 marks Camp Bowen for the blind, DeafBlind, and low vision’s 60th anniversary and more than a century of blindness groups hosted on Bowen Island. To celebrate these milestones, the CCB: Bowen Island Chapter/COBD: Camp Bowen Division will be marking the event with a series of posts ending in a community celebration the Bowen Island community and the blind, DeafBlind and low vision community will be welcome to attend on August 20, 2023 on Bowen Island, BC. More info about the event will be posted to <> or can be obtained by calling +1 (800) 264-2623, extension 102.

The following article outlines the programming we are currently carrying out, as well as gives a brief history of our roots. It appeared in the Viewpoints section of the May 18, 2023 edition of the Bowen Island Undercurrent, entitled “What’s Up at Camp Bowen?”

Curious community members who have noticed our blind and DeafBlind students around the island want to know: “why are there suddenly so many blind people around Bowen?”

Part of the answer is that our in-person activities were suspended during the pandemic. From 2020 to early 2022, you likely only saw Camp Bowen staff, many of whom now live on-island.

The other part of the answer can be found tucked away on quiet Snug Point. Purpose built by countless donations of time and materials in 1962 and formerly operated by CNIB, the Bowen Lodge is once again home to programming for blind, low vision, and DeafBlind Canadians, now under the leadership of the Canadian Organization of the Blind and DeafBlind’s Camp Bowen Division. The grassroots charity was founded by Camp Bowen alumni to continue the vision of the lodge’s founders to offer independent living skills in the off months and summer camps in the summers, services needed now more than ever by blind and DeafBlind Canadians. The organization is currently renting the facility, which has blindness-specific features and is protected by zoning and a section 219 covenant for exactly these types of programs. It is the only protected facility of its kind left in Canada.

In September 2022, we started offering a 10-month program where blind, low vision, and DeafBlind Canadians can learn all the skills they need to become independent, including: adaptive technology, Braille, cane travel, cooking, employment skills, home management, and so much more. This program is unique, offering Canada’s only campus-based, intensive rehabilitation that sets blind students up with a solid foundation for independence.

Bowen’s quiet atmosphere helps beginner cane travelers to feel comfortable learning how to navigate safely. For select lessons, students hop the ferry and go into town but this is only possible thanks to the confidence gained on Bowen. The lodge being in Snug Cove means staff, most of whom are blind or DeafBlind, and participants can visit restaurants, shops, and resupply, all without needing to be dependent on anyone, a huge confidence booster.

In August, we are excited to return to in-person camps with our Braille Literacy Camp (ages 8-12), Linda Evans Memorial Music Camp ( ages 8-18), and Adult Retreat. We look forward to welcoming you to our end of camp music concert that will celebrate what campers have learned, 60 years of Camp Bowen, and more than 100 years of organized blind groups on Snug Point.

The more than 100 year relationship between the blind community and the Bowen Island community is alive and well, and we can’t thank you enough for that! On Bowen, people are so aware and embracing of the blind community. It’s not something you see often off-island and is something truly special. Thank you Bowen for all your support!

For more information, please visit us online at <> or call +1 (604) 947-9021.


CCB Provincial Book Club

– submitted by Kathy Sanness

The Provincial Book Club is trying out a new meeting time for the next two meetings.  In June and August, we will meet on the fourth Monday; and there will be no meeting in July.  They will be Monday June 26th and Monday August 28th at 9:00am Pacific time.  At these meetings, we will discuss further changes if they are required.

The book we are reading for June 26th is Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver and for August 28th it’s We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker.  If you are interested in the books we have read, there is a list on the Division website:

Please contact me If you are looking for more information; email or call 778 484 2298 or 250 395 0395.


Ruth’s Corner

Greetings, All Artists; And yes, that means you!

– by Ruth Bieber

Recently, I received the following request about doing art.  It came from a blind person, who had never done art before.  She ultimately created a lovely artwork, and now considers herself an artist.  Just like that!  The artistic experience is available to anyone interested, and that is the truth.  You just need the initial desire.

Here first is a message to me from the now artist, prior to her creation.

“Hi Ruth, I know you often use your hands to do your paintings.  Do you use a traditional easel, a tabletop easel or just lie the canvas flat?  I’m shopping on-line tomorrow, buying supplies and I don’t really know what I need.  How do you outline the areas you want to paint?  I’m thinking of plaster scene?  What sort of gloves do you use?  Any advice you can give will be most appreciated.”

And now my response:

“Hello Friend: How exciting to be shopping for art supplies.  Here I can only tell you what works for me, which might not work for you.  The thing about doing art is you just need to start doing art, before you really know what works for you.  There are wide and varied approaches used by the many blind artists out there.  That said, I know you are simply looking for a beginning point, so here goes.

First, I put a huge tarp on the floor.  Then I put my canvas on the tarp with the colours I have decided to use right there with me.  If the canvas is on the small side, I might use a table top, but I prefer the floor.  I have all my colours labelled using a pen friend, by the way.  I didn’t always do this, but have found useful.  I used to just use an intuitive process.  The first painting I ever sold used purely and intuitive process when choosing colours, and by all sighted reports it was very beautiful.

Next, I put on one glove, any latex gloves work for me, I choose my colour and squeeze paint into the gloved hand.  Then I begin to intuitively smear paint on the canvas.  When the paint is used up, I might add a different colour to the same hand and repeat.  If I am sure I want a completely different colour I will remove the glove and put a new one on.  The non-gloved hand is used for constant orientation of the edges of the canvas, especially if I am painting alone.  There is nothing like the feeling of paint in the hands, and I rarely if ever use a paintbrush.  I have been known to use other implements such as a pallet knife, but not often.  I love paint right in my gloved hand!

I only use acrylic paint, as oil takes too long to dry.  Acrylic dries very fast, by the way.

As for outlining, I rarely do that, but your idea of plaster seen is fine, or white glue works as well, White glue dries clear, so it doesn’t show as much in the end, but you have less control, because you put it right on the canvas, rather than working with it in your hands first.  I tend to use found objects, that go into the painting as markers, if desired.  For example, all things from nature work well and are very forgiving.  Also, modeling paste works very well for adding texture only, in my experience.  As a blind artist, it is important to me to have something textural to feel.

Oh, and do wear something you can get paint on, because as careful as you think you are being, paint finds a way.

As a beginning, hope this helps.  I’m happy to respond to additional questions.

Ruth, Parksville BC, 778 478 9698


My Go To for Inspiration

– submitted by Pat James

The poem I quoted at this morning’s Call In is:

The Guest House– written by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival

A joy, a depression, a meanness

Some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor

Welcome and entertain them all

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows

Who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture:

still treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out

For some new delight.

The dark thoughts, the shame, the malice

Meet them at the door laughing

And invite them in

Be grateful for whatever comes,

Because each has been sent

As a guide from beyond.


my reading suggestion is a book called “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse “by Charlie Mackesy. Recently adapted into an Oscar winning short documentary by BBC & Apple. There are lots of U tube videos of the author.


My Story: Riding the Tandem Bike

– by Denis Bessette

Hi everyone, Denis here from Cultus Lake. I belong to the Chilliwack Chapter. I want to share with you my experience riding the Tandem bike with my lovely wife. After viewing a few videos and going over the bike functions and the dos and don’ts, we were ready to go for our first ride.

I reside in a Mobile home Park, so we were not on some public street. 1 2 3 go! So we are doing our first ride, after 14 feet, a loud voice is saying “Stop! Stop!”, so I  reply “Use the brake under the handles!” Too late! We hit and knock over a garbage can and ended up in the back of a parked car. And  I hear a loud laugh coming from my wife . After checking for any type of damage to the car and the bike , all was good and we were on our way again. The next day we rode again and it was a more pleasant ride with no incidents. Now we are  a well-oiled machine and ride like pros. By this time, my wife  is full of herself and mention that she is ready for the Tour de France. I don’t think so hahahaha. Thanks for reading.


News, Views & Tips From You

Seeing Things: Charles Bonnet Syndrome Group

– from the CNIB website

This group is specifically for those who are experiencing symptoms/have had a diagnosis of CBS. Participants meet monthly for this conversational support group.

This group runs via Zoom web conference the third Wednesday of every month from 1 to 2 pm Eastern Time. Call in information will be given upon registration.

Please be advised that you must register for all programs. We kindly ask you to RSVP a minimum of 1 full business day before the start of the program.

Registration required. To register, please contact Lucia Ricardo, Program Lead, Recreation, Sport and Accessible Community Engagement at: or call 1-800-563-2642. EXT 5281.


Diagram Accessibility User Study: Now looking for participants!

Last December Yichun Zhao from the University of Victoria (UVIC) spoke to us at a Division Call In about his research concerning diagram accessibility for people with visual impairments; and in April at our Making More Connections Workshop in Abbotsford, Yichun shared his progress and some of us had the opportunity to try the prototype.  Yichun has now received further funding allowing him to recruit potential participants for the next phase of his research, a user study to evaluate the designed software system to help people access diagrams.  This is in-person opportunity at CNIB offices in Victoria, Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Kelowna, or on campus at UVIC.  Please visit this link for more information:

or email Yichun at


Update on Bill C-284

– submitted by Rose Pokeda

As per Gord Johns MP for Courtenay-Alberni

Bill C-284 did come up in the house of Commons on April 28 but it hasn’t been voted on. It only had its first hour of debate on April 28 and I can’t see when the second hour of debate is on the schedule. It may not come up again before the end of this session.

Hope everyone has a great summer.


Health Tip

– submitted by Vern Short

The weather is warming up considerably these days.  Please take precautions against  Heat Stroke and drink lots of water to stay hydrated and cool .


New Tech News

– submitted by Nelson Viveiros

I figured this might be of interest to iPhone users or anyone who has updated their iPhone to iOS 16.41.

There have been some new features added:

*You can now turn on and off your phone using Seri saying “Hey Seri, turn off phone” or “Hey Seri, turn off iPhone” or “Hey Seri, turn on phone” or “Hey Seri, turn on iPhone”

*You can now hang up your calls using Seri

*More emoji’s have been added for texting and emailing

*Seri will read your dictated message out loud before you choose to send it

*Seri gives you a longer pause time, when dictating messages

*You can add more information to your messages if needed

*Seri gives you the option to send or change your message

*You can search for older text messages by using a contacts name by saying “Hey Seri, search for (contact’s name) message”


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 –

Darren Douma, 1st Vice President – 250-428-1807 –

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 –

Rose Pokeda, Director – 250-334-8565 –

Vern Short, Director – 250-819-9152 –


***Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

BC-Yukon Division

PO Box 531, Postal Station Main