CCB-Yukon division newsletter, The Observer, December 2021 edition

President’s Message

Hello, the past few weeks have been challenging in BC.  Lots and lots of rain and still more to come!  Some of us closer, while others further off learned what havoc an atmospheric river system brings.  Let’s hope and pray that these extreme weather conditions bring less stress in the days and months to come!  And if you’re looking for a distraction, please plan to join us at our Winter Wonderland Wingding on December 16th (read more in this newsletter).

Well since no one has asked me politely to stop with these jokes, here goes…  First, what do you call a snowman party?  Second, what did the Gingerbread Man put on his bed?  And third, why are turkeys wiser than chickens?  Please check the end of this newsletter for the answers.

There are always opportunities for us to get involved, get informed and/or get going.  You can get involved by participating in our Winter Wonderland Wingding; you can get informed by reading the Observer; and get going by participating in our Division Call Ins.

In the October edition of our newsletter, congrats to Rob Sleath and Bill Conway for finding the word “boo”.  Because of the time of year, in this edition of the newsletter you will find a Christmas Quiz.  Enjoy!  And please everyone be well, stay safe and celebrate the hope, joy, peace and love the holidays bring!

Remember your Division Board of Directors is here to help you; and do not hesitate to email or call me or any other Division Board Member for more information or clarification on any matters concerning the CCB BC-Yukon Division.  Ann McNabb, President


Membership Tidbits

– submitted by Pat Chicquen

An email has gone out to CCB BC-Yukon Division Members giving notice of a Division Special Meeting on January 21, 2022.  The purpose of this meeting is to adopt and update the Division Bylaws and Division Constitution.  Chapter Delegates and the Division Board have the official vote; so please make sure your Chapter sends your Delegate’s name.  And other Division Members are welcome to participate as Observers.

In April we are planning to meet together face to face in the Comox Valley.  Following is a tentative schedule:

Monday April 25th – travel day for delegates and Meet ‘NGreet.

Tuesday April 26th – workshop and community visit.

Wednesday April 27th – workshop and community Open House.

Thursday April 28th – AGM, elections and Banquet.

Friday April 29th – travel day.

An official notice with further details will be coming your way in the New Year.


Coming Soon

– submitted by Bill Conway

To all chapter presidents and secretaries, information regarding the Book of Honour along with information on White Cane Week February 6th to the 12th 2022,  will be appearing in your email boxes very shortly. Amongst the Book of Honour, we have included a POSTUMOUS nomination form.  The Book of Honour Committee looks forward in receiving nominations for the Blind, Volunteer and Posthumous categories to be entered into our special Book of Honour.

Soon we will be informing the clubs on White Cane Week activities that the CCB BC-Yukon Division will be doing this year.  Hopefully if you required any material from the national office, you will have ordered them and if not, please do so very soon, deadline is December 10, 2021.  There is also economical support available from the National & the Provincial Canadian Council of the Blind.  We are here for you in every aspect.


Division Call Ins: Calling All Members

– submitted by Iris Thompson

We have been fortunate to have had many talented and skilled guests join our Call Ins over the months.

In August Becki Zerr joined our call. Becki has a podcast, now in its second season with Accessible Media Inc. Each episode is very unique and Becki talks on a variety of topics dealing with her journey with vision loss.

Amy Amantea joined us in September. Amy talked about what she is doing in the theater community. Amy is the media personality with Accessible Media Inc, including her contributions to NOW with Dave Brown as the Movie Reviewer on a weekly basis, the BC Community Reporter and produces and hosts an original podcast called Accessing Art with Amy.

Shawn Marsolais from Blind Beginnings gave us a great presentation about how she came to found her organization.

Shawn also has started a series of podcasts. Shawn and some of the youth from Blind Beginnings share on a variety of interests and topics relating to vision loss.

Jane Blaine from Canadian Blind Sport (CBSA) talked about her adventures and experiences with the athletes at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

If anyone has any topics or if you know of any guests that would like to join our Call Ins please let us know.

Looking forward to hearing you on future calls.


Division Call In Update

The Division’s Upcoming Call In schedule:

*Thursday December 2nd at 10:00am, an open session giving you the opportunity to share and discuss your ideas, thoughts and whatever’s on your mind

*Thursday December 16th at 10:00 AM:  CCB BC-Yukon Division’s Winter Wonderland Wingding – a special holiday gathering with lots of surprises– read more further on…

*Thursday January 6th at 10:00am, another open session

*Thursday January 20th at 10:00am, guest speaker to be announced

If you would like to join us, but have trouble connecting, please let us do the dialing for you and all you need do is answer your phone.  Call or email President Ann at 604-795-7230 or and we will make it happen!


Winter Wonderland Wingding

Thursday December 16, 2021 at 10:00am

– hosted by CCB BC-Yukon Division

Would you like to know more about Bodhi Day on December 8th, Hanukkah observed this year from November 26th to December 6th, Christmas  celebrated December 25th, Kwanzaa from December 26th to January 1st, Omisoka on December 31st or maybe you know of another December celebration?

The Division is looking for you!  The hope is that some of you know a little something about these festivities and will share a bit about some traditions and customs .

We don’t have to be perfect – we just want to have fun, maybe learn a little something and give you the opportunity to spread a little joy and love amongst friends; and maybe distract ourselves just a little from what’s happening in the world.

Please let us know if you have a story or custom or tradition  to share.  You can email or contact Ann, Brodie, or Iris directly – their contact information is under Your Division Board of Directors  Contact Information at the end of this newsletter.

In any case, please plan to join us, whether it’s to listen in, have some smiles/laughs and maybe win a door prize and you may even learn something new!

Did you know?

Bodhi Day in the Buddhist culture is a celebration of enlightenment.  It is a day of remembrance, meditation and chanting.  Some choose to decorate a ficus tree with multi-colored lights to symbolize diverse paths to Nirvana and to remind us that all things are united.

Hanukkah means dedication and is also known as Chanukah, the Jewish Festival Of Lights.  The date changes each year, usually falling in November or December and people light up menorah (candelabrum) on each night of the celebration.  Many celebrate with family, enjoying dinner, singing and sharing gifts.

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus and is celebrated by people around the world, in many different ways.  Including putting up lights, stockings and decorating a Christmas tree, attending a church service, sharing gifts and unwrapping presents from Santa.

Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili.  Each family celebrates in its own way and often includes songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal.

Omisoka is the last day of the year (New Year’s eve) in Japanese.  Its origin is Misoka which is the last of the month, Omisoka consist Misoka and “O” which means big.  There are many customs for Omisoka in Japan, Toshikoshi-soba, Osouji, Toshinoyu and more.


Christmas Quiz

Can you guess the answers to these Christmas questions?  The answer key is at the end of the newsletter.

  1. What date is St Stephen’s Day?
  2. In Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, who was Scrooge’s dead business partner?
  3. The song White Christmas was first performed in which 1942 film?
  4. What colour are the berries of the mistletoe plant?
  5. In the inspirational 1946 film, It’s a Wonderful Life, what’s the name of George Bailey’s guardian angel?
  6. What Christmas item was invented by London baker and wedding-cake specialist Tom Smith in 1847?
  7. Who wrote How the Grinch Stole Christmas?
  8. From which country does the poinsettia plant originate?
  9. How many points does a snowflake have?
  10. What is the chemical formula of snow?
  11. Which charity in 1949 was the first to produce a Christmas card?
  12. Who is the narrator in the 2000 film The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?
  13. Pine needles are said to be a good source of which vitamin?
  14. Which poem written by Clement Moore was originally titled A Visit from Saint Nicholas?
  15. What was the title of the first Christmas TV special Peanuts cartoon?
  16. What song topped the UK charts at Christmas in 1957 and in a medley version in 1978?
  17. Which hugely popular actor was born on Christmas day 1899?
  18. What is the title of the biggest selling Christmas single, globally?
  19. Which actress singer who charted with Santa Baby and starred as Catwoman died on Christmas day 2008?
  20. What Christmas item takes its name from the old French word estincelle, meaning spark?
  21. On which date is Epiphany celebrated in the traditional Western calendar?
  22. Who are the four ghosts in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol?
  23. How many gifts are given in total in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas?
  24. Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean is a territory of which country?
  25. In Canada, what is Santa’s personal postal code?


Sports and Recreation

– submitted by Brodie McKenzie

Fall time is almost over with blind tennis still in action and blind ice hockey still skating.

Blind Tennis

The Pinetree Community Centre in Coquitlam still has Blind tennis in operation.  The tennis program has plenty of space for three courts giving the players social distancing measures and room to play – playing inside the community centre’s gymnasium.

Blind tennis practices are Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5:00pm until the end of December and the spring schedule will be announced soon.

Every player must be a member of BC Blind Sports; and must be sure to sign up and sign in at the front desk to play tennis at the community centre.

***Here is the contact info and address for the community center:

Pinetree Community Center

1260 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, BC V3B 7Z4

Call +1 (604) 927-6960

Pinetree Community Centre | Coquitlam, BC or

Blind Ice Hockey

Players from the Vancouver Eclipse and other hockey clubs throughout Canada are back on the ice practicing with their teammates.  The Vancouver Eclipse blind hockey team has relocated to a new location in a brand-new facility.  Practices are Sundays from 4:45 to 5:45pm.

***The arena is located at:

North Surrey Sports and Ice Center

10950 – 126-A Street, Surrey, BC, V3V 0E5

If anyone is interested in playing blind hockey or getting out on the ice for a skate contact BC Blind Sports.

For information to participate or how to register with any sport, please call Mike at BC Blind Sports at 604-325-8638 or email at; or call Susan Flanagan, Member Services Coordinator at 604-325-8638 or toll free 1-877-604-8638 or email  The BC Blind Sports website is

***At this time due to provincial mandates, all sports programs need participants to have their vaccine cards up to date***

That’s all from sports and rec team, stay strong and always be fearless.


CCB Alberni Valley Chapter

– submitted by Jean Kanngiesser

We returned to regular meetings in October and November albeit with fewer in attendance due to worries of Covid and the passing of a couple of our long-time members.  Our next meeting will be December 1 with City of Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions who will outline the many exciting development plans in the City.  Our annual Christmas luncheon will be held following the meeting.

We are planning a community awareness campaign during White Cane Week in February.  The Greater Victoria Police Chorus is rescheduled to perform for us in Port Alberni on April 24, 2022. Hooray! Twenty-five months later but they will be well worth the wait.

Best wishes for a wonderful Festive Season to all.


CCB Provincial Book Club

Reading or listening to books can be relaxing and rewarding.  You get to learn about the world from others perspectives and for each reader it can be a different experience.  So, if you enjoy reading and would like to take part in the Division Book Club, we meet on the fourth Friday monthly at 9:00am using Zoom.  But please note taking into consideration the holidays, this month we will be meeting December 17th.

In November we read A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson and in December we will be reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and The Christmas Train by David Baldacci; in January our book is The Four winds by Christian Hannah; in February it is The Nymph and the Lamp by Thomas all; and in March it’s Something in the Water by Mathew Stedman.

If you are interested in joining our chats, please call Kathy Sanness at 778 484 2298 or 250 395 0395 or email to get connected.


Ruth’s Corner

The Orphan Grinch by Ruth Bieber

Before I was a single blind woman of a certain age, I was a single blind mother for about ten years.  During those years I put great effort into making sure my two sons enjoyed all of the important Christmas fixings; the tree, the house decorations, the presents, the dinners with friends and family.  We even attended church, and my sons participated in more than one Christmas concert.  It was all there, and a good time was had by all!  Then one year it happened; the Christmas Eve my sons spent with their dad.  There I was, alone in my decorated home, drinking a rum and eggnog while sitting in front of my beautifully decorated tree, when it hit me.  I love this!  The solitude, the peace of mind, the relaxation, the bliss!  It was soul filling!  And so, from that point on, I was hooked.  Since then, I have intentionally chosen to spend at least one day, preferably Christmas Day, at home, and dare I say it with my outside voice, alone.  I still love it!  Turns out I am naturally an introvert, but I believe there remains some residual from those harried days of making it all work for the kids, and no longer having that pressure, that revisits me each year.  There’s only one hitch.  I have learned I can never, never tell any of my many dear friends that I am alone at Christmas.  It seems to spark an instant need to rescue the poor old blind lonely woman, who is in fact neither lonely nor desirous of being rescued!  The thought of anyone, never mind a single blind woman spending Christmas day alone, seems to drive loved ones to distraction.  Thank you I think to myself, but I am fine, really!  Better than fine, in fact.  One day alone at Christmas offers a beautiful opportunity for reflection and peace of mind.

Now my sons are all grown up and simply too far away to come home for Christmas, not to mention, that both work in the service industry, so Christmas is the busy time of year.  I have hosted several orphan Christmases for people who are also alone, which has turned out to be too much fun!  Somehow, an orphan Christmas dinner doesn’t hold the same level of obligation as might normally be felt.  So, please know I love my friends and family to bits.  I just happen to love spending Christmas Day in unorthodox ways; keeps it fresh.  Another example of this began many years ago, when I started my own Christmas tradition of making a big pot of Moroccan Stew, and inviting people over multiple evenings until the stew is all gone.  People love this tradition!  And again, it’s easy and stress free.

All this said, when I do receive an invite during the Christmas season, I am more than happy to accept, just not the entire Christmas Season, and spending Christmas Day has become a treasured favourite.  My little secret.

So, what is it about spending Christmas Day at home alone that is so desirable; magical even?  I think it has something to do with honoring the orphan within, or perhaps it’s the inner grinch?  Or, is it simply honouring the Spirit of Christmas by giving it a little space?  Can you feel it?Merry Christmas, one and all!


Ruff ruff Corner

– submitted by Bill Conway

Well, what a year this was, a year that was turned upside down and now trying to rehabilitate itself. We left a year, and started  this year learning about a pandemic, where the world blamed one country, and that country blamed the rest of the world, on how and where COVIDB19 came from.  We were highly educated on a variety of vaccines, and with so much science attached, to this education, many of peoples got confused, and debates took up around the world.  Majority of all world leaders urged, prayed, pleaded, begged and even bribed people into taking one of the vaccines.   When these tactics did not work, our fearless leaders told, its citizens, you have two choices you either die or you become unemployed without benefits,  and stay home, so get vaccinated. After nine months into this year, our leaders are now letting us gather for being good citizens for obeying their orders.  But, of course, our leaders have  a small stipulation, we must be coded.  In summing up, I assumed, that we lived in a free country where we are able to rationally make reasonable decisions for ourselves. But I assumed wrong, for it has felt like we are under a dictatorship, due as we say or else. Yes, I am double vaccinated.


Access for Sight Impaired Consumers (ASIC)

Accessible Municipal Election Initiative

– by Rob Sleath

Over the past several years, Access for Sight Impaired Consumers (ASIC) has and continues to work closely with Elections BC collaborating to design a general election process whereby persons with sight loss can independently and confidently mark their election ballot, including a choice to vote by phone. They continually raise awareness of challenges and obstacles that blind, partially sighted, or deafblind voters encountered and offer advice, options, and tools to eliminate barriers that the blind community faced during the general or by-election process. While the ability by members of the blind community to mark their own ballot independently and confidently has become a reality, there is still room for improvement, and ASIC looks forward to announcing a pending enhancement in the very near future.

ASIC was more than pleased that during the past four federal elections, Elections Canada copied and made available to its voters with sight loss many of the tools that Elections BC developed in the wake of their past work with them.

On October 16 2022, municipal elections will be held in each of 162 towns, villages, districts and cities throughout British Columbia. ASIC is progressing well in their goal to achieve a voting process that will enable voters with sight loss to independently and confidently mark their ballot during the civic election process. They are advocating to make all 162 municipal elections fully accessible. You can help them by writing to them at informing them as to which municipal district you reside. Whether they are advocating on behalf of just one single voter in each electoral district or a cast of thousands in others, gathering such statistics will help greatly to enhance a well-organized campaign. Subscribe to their “News Alerts” at the aforementioned email address for updates about this advocacy initiative.


News, Views & Tips From You

Crazy Days, Crazy Weather!

– submitted by Nelson Viveiros

So what a crazy few days weather wise in Chilliwack and Abbotsford.Lots of water I mean many floods in home sewers backed up.Even a fight in Superstore yesterday, November 16th.I even heard people were buying everything off the shelves.There were road closures everywhere in town.As well long lineups at gas stations.  Fortunately here at my house there was no flooding, or power outages in the meantime.I just wish everybody keeps safe, and takes care of themselves.Hopefully the weather gets better soon.


CNIB’s Accessible Insulin Pumps Campaign

This Diabetes Awareness Month (November), help us end inequalities in our healthcare system by calling on the federal government to ensure insulin pumps entering the market are fully accessible – and provide a timeline for implementation.

Did you know that diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of sight loss in working-age adults, and the fourth leading cause of blindness in Canada?

Despite the strong connection between diabetes and sight loss, there isn’t an accessible insulin pump available on the market today. In fact, insulin pumps have become less, instead of more, accessible as technology has advanced. Imagine your insulin pump alarm going off and not being able to read the screen to tell you if your battery just needs changing, or your health is at risk.

Many people living with sight loss and diabetes are using outdated insulin pumps that have been discontinued for years, but they’re afraid of the new pumps because they’re even less accessible.

Insulin pump manufacturers must prioritize designing pumps using universal design features. Without accessible devices, the health and safety of Canadians living with sight loss and diabetes will remain at risk. We have been speaking with manufacturers about making insulin pumps more accessible, but we know we need strong government regulation to see real action.

Do you have a couple of minutes today to write to your MP using our convenient template letter, so they can urge Health Canada to create equal access to health care devices for all?

Thank you for your support!



– submitted anonymously

It’s a busy time of year, there’s lots to do, lots to think about, lots of lists, lots of buying, lots of wrapping, lots of baking, lots of singing, lots of goodies, lots of family, lots of friends, lots of snow, lots of twinkling lights, lots of decorating to do, lots of eating, lots to be thankful for, lots of good cheer and good feelings, just lots of everything!  No wonder I can’t sleep!


Christmas Quiz Answer Key

  1. December 26th
  2. Jacob Marley
  3. Holiday Inn
  4. White
  5. Clarence
  6. Christmas cracker
  7. Dr Seuss
  8. Mexico
  9. Six
  10. H2O
  11. UNICEF
  12. Anthony Hopkins
  13. C
  14. The Night Before Christmas
  15. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
  16. Mary’s Boy Child (Harry Belafonte and Boney M)
  17. Humphrey Bogart
  18. White Christmas (Bing Crosby)
  19. Eartha Kitt
  20. Tinsel
  21. January 6th
  22. Christmas Past, Christmas Present, Christmas Yet to Come and Jacob Marley
  23. 364
  24. Australia
  25. H0H 0H0


Your Division Board of Directors Contact Information

Ann McNabb, President – 604-795-7230 –

Gerry Braak, National Representative – 604-485-5028 –

Pat Chicquen, 1st Vice President – 250-339-3904 –

Bill Conway, 2nd Vice President – 604-740-5896 –

Kelvin Adams, Director – 250-895-9835 –

Darren Douma, Director – 250-428-1807 –

Brodie McKenzie, Director – 604-942-4255 –

Vern Short, Director – 250-819-9152 –

Iris Thompson, Director – 604-939-1258 –


Answer to President Ann’s questions

First, a snowball.

Second, a cookie sheet.

Third, ever heard of Kentucky Fried Turkey?