CCB-Yukon division newsletter, The Observer, December 2022 edition

President’s Message

We found it to hot not long ago and now it is to cold and snowy.  It is a busy time of the year with everyone getting ready for Christmas shopping and Chapter parties.

I have been working on membership and other responsibilities including White Cane Week.  We will have our first WCW committee meeting in the next week or so.  If anyone has any ideas on how to celebrate this event, please let me know.

I hope everyone has a great holiday.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Pat Chicquen, President


Membership Tidbits


White Cane Week (WCW)

February 5 to 11, 2023

Remember, if you are planning an event  during White Cane Week or any White Cane Awareness event in 2023, there is a $200 subsidy available to help with your Chapter expenses for such an occasion.  Let us know what you are planning and we can promote your event on the Division Facebook page and afterwards you can send a submission to the Division’s Observer Newsletter telling us all about it.

CCB BC-Yukon Division AGM & Workshop

April 18 & 19, 2023

Next year’s Division AGM & Workshop will be in Abbotsford at the Best Western Plus Regency Inn & Conference Centre.  Here is a brief and tentative outline of our plans:

**Monday April 17th – travel day for delegates and evening Meet ‘n Greet

**Tuesday April 18th – morning AGM and afternoon TBA

**Wednesday April 19th – all day workshop TBA and evening wind up dinner

**Thursday April 20th – travel day home for all

FYI, the dates are set, but the schedule of events may change depending on final planning.  You will be receiving official notice and a definite schedule in the new year.

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 contact us.


Division Call Ins: Calling All Members

– submitted by Iris Thompson

The Division Call Ins are continuing to go well.  Many members  have called in on the first Thursday of the month to talk about what’s on their mind.  We get updates on what is going on in different Chapters in the province.  Members share stories and what is new and exciting in their lives.

Guests that joined us in the  last couple of months were Rob Sleath from ASIC (Access For Sight Impaired consumers).  Rob shared updates and discussed accessible prescriptions.

On one of the calls we had members who had participated in the Division’s Winter sports day event held in Kelowna.  Those members shared their experiences and what the event was like for them.

A CELA representative joined us on one of the calls and talked about their services and what was new from CELA.  If you weren’t able to join us there are recordings available for you to listen to.


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 soon!  Here is the Division Call In schedule:

*December 15th: 3rd Annual Winter Wingding: Golden Oldie Version – lots of fun, lots of challenges and lots of door prizes – hope you’ll join us!

*January 5th; open/sharing session

*January 19th – guest speaker to be announced

*February 2nd – open/sharing session

*February  16th – 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.


Sports & More


Division 2022 Winter Sports Days in Kelowna

Our first Winter Sports Days were a success!  Comments received included:

“Thank you for the event.  Everyone had such a great time.  We are all looking forward to the Spring event. “

“thank you for organizing such a wonderful event in Kelowna last week. The curling and bowling were great fun.  The stretching class with Cindy was really good.  The lunches and banquet were lovely.  Thanks to Fraser and Darren for opening their suite for the wonderful get togethers in the evenings.  It was great to see everyone.”

“It was a great opportunity to try out curling and hang out with everyone at the event.”

Curling:  we had 21 curlers, not counting the volunteers who helped us out – 11 were new to curling, 1 curled 60 years ago, some had a little experience, while others curled when they had sight and there were a few experienced curlers sprinkled in as well.  All in all a pleasant mix of participants.

Bowling: we had 23 bowlers not counting volunteers– 3 had never bowled before, some had their prior bowling experience more than 25 years ago, while others had bowled a little when they were sighted and of course we had some experienced bowlers mixed in.  A total of 68 games were played with a high game of 168.  And those games included 34 strikes and 47 spares.  That’s a lot of pins going down!

Upcoming Division 2023 Summer Sports Days in Langley

Have you had an opportunity to try golfing, lawn bowling or dragon boating?  This is a chance for you to give these sports a try or maybe a retry if you haven’t tried them lately.  As our 2022 Winter Games indicated a good mix of no, to little to more experience works well and is great for willing participants.  In the new year you’ll be receiving more detailed information and we’re hoping you’ll consider joining us – June 21 and 22, 2023 (with travel days June 20 and 23).




Provincial Book Club Chapter on the Web

-submitted by Albert Ruel

The CCB BC-Yukon Division Book Club web page has changed.  It now boasts the upcoming books, as well as the last few months of books Club members have read in the event you want to catch up with us.  Also, from there you’ll be able to download the entire list of books read by this Club since its inception in September 2013.

Current Year and Upcoming Book List

Book List Compiled by Sherry Salisbury

Note: This document uses Header Navigation, allowing screen reader users to move quickly to the desired information. Level 1 Headings take the user to book titles, level 2 the authors and level 3 the date of the corresponding Book Club discussion.

All books are available through CELA Library

For an MS Word downloadable complete book list of this document from September 2013 to the present, and beyond follow the below Dropbox link – You don’t need a Dropbox account to use this link.

March 24, 2023

An Immense World

Ed Yong

February 24, 2023

The Beauty of Dusk

Frank Bruni

January 27, 2023

Pure Colour

Sheila Heti

December 16, 2022

Wish You Well

David Baldacci

November 2022

A Dark and Twisted Tide

Sharon Bolton

October 2022


Tara Westover

September 2022

Dancing After TEN

Vivian Chong


December Holiday Trivia

Do you know the answers to these December questions?  Find the answers at the end of this newsletter!

  1. What’s the most popular Christmas song of all time?
  2. What is unique about the winter solstice?
  3. How did Kwanzaa get its name?
  4. What’s the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time?
  5. What is Hanukkah also called?
  6. What is the symbol for Bodhi Day?
  7. Why do people swim on winter solstice?
  8. How fast would Santa’s sleigh have to travel to deliver presents to all the children in the world?
  9. When do the Japanese celebrate Omisoka?
  10. How many days is Hanukkah celebrated?
  11. Was “Jingle Bells” always a Christmas song?
  12. What is unique to Kwanzaa?
  13. What does Hanukkah mean?
  14. What two things made red and green popular Christmas colors?
  15. Do you give gifts on Bodhi Day?
  16. Is sending Christmas cards still a popular tradition?
  17. How many times does the bell ring on Omisoka?
  18. Do you give gifts for winter solstice?
  19. Who made the first gingerbread cookie?


CCB Alberni Valley Chapter

– submitted by Jean Kanngiesser

The Alberni Valley Chapter has 18 Full Members and 2 Volunteers for 2023.  Our plan is to meet monthly on the first Wednesday in a lovely meeting room at a senior’s residence.  After the summer break, we resumed our meetings in September, however had to cancel one meeting this fall due to illness and the sudden unavailability of the planned guest speaker.

At our October meeting we held our annual elections with Jean Kanngiesser continuing as President, Gabby Osborne continuing as Secretary-Treasurer and Sheila Smith elected as Vice President.  Sheila is fairly new to the group and is very welcome to our leadership team.

We are pleased to advise that the Greater Victoria Police Chorus has confirmed that they will perform for us April 16, 2023 which is 3 years after their original date.  COVID 19 has been a challenge for the Chorus to practice and perform other than in a few select locales in Greater Victoria.

We plan our annual Christmas luncheon on Wednesday December 7th following our regular monthly meeting.  This is always a much anticipated event for our members many of whom do not get out to a local restaurant often.

Merry Christmas to all!


CCB Comox Valley Chapter

-submitted by Pat Chicquen

The Comox Valley Chapter is once again having meetings and our Out To Lunch Bunch lunches.  We are having our Christmas lunch On December 6th at the Comox Legion.  Santa will be joining us and we are hoping Mrs. Claus will be with us too.  We hope the weather will be better by then and everyone can make it.

It is so nice to get back to nearly normal.  The best to you all in the New Year.


CCB Kamloops Chapter

– submitted by Vern Short

Our Chapter held elections on Saturday November 5, 2022.  The results are as follows: Linda Hall is returning as Club President and Les Nolan is returning as Vice President.  Officers are Norm Hall as Treasurer and Jas Rai as secretary.  Directors are Ann Curtis, Carol Skuda, Vern Short and Surrender Singh.

We hosted guest speaker Susan Flanagan from BC Blind Sports & Recreation.  Susan gave a presentation on member service programs provided by BC Blind Sports.  Describing programs such as dragon boating, curling, lawn bowling and chair yoga.  Kamloops members found the presentation positive, knowledgeable and thought provoking for some people.  We may have loss of vision, however we can still participate in sports and recreation activities with guides and coaches.  Well done and thank you to Susan.


CCB Knotty Knitters and Crazy Crocheters Chapter

– submitted by Iris Thompson

The new CCB Chapter Knotty Knitters and Crazy Crocheters has started up.  We meet twice a month, once in person and once over zoom.

For the in person meeting we meet at the Surrey Public Library on the 3rd Monday of each month from 10:00am until noon.  And the zoom meeting is held on the 1st Monday of each month from 10:00am until noon.

We are knitting squares to make a blanket and then donate to a charity.  The group that meets over zoom is also working on the same project.

If you don’t feel like working on a project no problem, just bring some yarn and needles and work on a project of your choice.  If it has been some time since you have knitted or crocheted  and need some guidance, we have an experienced knitter who can help.

If you like the sounds of the group and just want to join in to see what it’s all about come and join us too.

Happy knitting and crocheting to all.


CCB Provincial Book Club

– submitted by Kathy Sanness

The Provincial Book Club has members throughout BC and even in Ontario and the Maritime Provinces.  We ordinarily meet by Zoom on the fourth Friday each month at 9:00am pacific time; but due to the holidays, this month we will meet Friday December 16th at our usual time.  Our members suggest books they have read and we don’t use any one book list used by other book clubs.  majority of our books can be found at CELA.  Each month, after talking about our chosen book, we discuss the ins and outs of accessible reading technology we use or could be using as well as other interesting subjects that come up during our conversations.  If anyone is interested in joining us or checking us out, please phone Kathy 778 484 2298 or cell 250 395 0395 or email

Our book for December is Wish You Were Here by David Baldacci, for January Pure Colour by Sheila Heti, for February The Beauty of Dusk by Frank Bruni and for March An Immense World by Ed Yong.  Happy reading!


VocalEye Descriptive Arts Society

describing arts and cultural events for people who are blind or partially sighted – 

– submitted by Amy Amantea

VocalEye is back in full swing with 40+ in person described shows and events, and 20+ online described arts adventures.  There are Free ticket draws to in person shows and the online Almost live events are FREE – a prize draw at each one.  And our YouTube channel has a bunch of our previous events, like learning about opera and the art of film scoring.  So much fun art to explore.  The described mural project!

In December we have the following in-person shows

*The Sound of Music returns! The hills are alive for the holidays in this family favourite.  Described twice: Sunday December 4 at 2pm and Friday December 9 at 8pm at the Arts Club Stanley, 2750 Granville Street.  Call 604-687-1644 for tickets.

*In My Day, true stories from the HIV pandemic in Vancouver written by our very own Rick Waines.  Rick will also describe his play on Sunday December 11 at 2pm at The Cultch Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables Street.  Call 604-251-1363 for tickets.  (followed by a free pizza party but you need to register by email at

*Me Love Bingo, part game night, part variety hour, part Pee-Wee Herman’s Playhouse, this interactive show is recommended as accessible without description at the Arts Club Newmont Theatre in the BMO Centre, 162 W 1st Avenue.  VocalEye is supporting the matinée performance on Saturday December 17 at 2pm with Theatre Buddies and a Notable Social.  Please contact for details.  Tickets for any other performance can be purchased through the Arts Club Box Office, 604-687-1644.  (followed by a social, please register with

*East Van Panto will present the tale of The Little Mermaid in its inimitably unconventional and hilarious style.  Described on Sunday December 18 at 2pm, followed by a Touch Tour at The York, 639 Commercial Drive.  Call 604-251-1363 for tickets.  (followed by a social, please register with

*Anne of Green Gables: The Musical is based on L. M. Montgomery’s classic tale of a red-headed, freckle-faced orphan and her adventures in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island.  Described on Friday December 30 at 7:30pm at The Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond.  The Gateway is offering a free companion rate for VocalEye users.  Call 604-270-1812 for tickets.

In December: Almost Live online events

*Dec 7: Vigil, a dark and tender comedy from the Belfry Theatre, with audio description.

*Dec 14: Holiday Surprise with our pals Christine Malec and JJ Hunt!

Register for free to join us online at:

or call Amy 604-763-2695 if you need assistance or information.

AND call our hotline for upcoming live and online events at


We hope to see you at the theatre and online!


Ruth’s Corner


“SOS, A True Lifeline”- by Ruth Bieber

When I first moved to the area, and having had some previous experience with a Better at Home program, I wasted no time contacting the coordinator of Oceanside Better At Home (OBAH) at SOS, Jolene, to introduce myself.  As a senior who has been blind since age six, shopping is the bane of my existence, but we all need to eat, right?

That was the first need Jolene responded to, by giving my grocery list to one of the fabulous OBAH volunteers.  The system works great, in my experience, especially now that we all have cell phones in case of a food item substitution request.  Once shopping is complete, the groceries are brought right to my home, which I really appreciate.  After all, next to shopping, simply getting around without sight is a challenge in a new community.

Speaking of moving to a new community, and no doubt one of the most beautiful places on the planet, it brings company, lots of company.  Folk’s love coming to the Island!  Initially I wasn’t always aware of all of the many beautiful locations to take my guests, but fortunately another OBAH volunteer who calls me regularly with the Friendly Visiting program, knew about many lovely places to visit.  Recently my visitors and I took in Cathedral Grove, plus I learned about some wonderful waterfalls in the area as well.  I learn so much from every conversation I have with this volunteer, who is so kind and attentive.

There’s more!  Jolene was able to connect me with a housekeeping company, of which I have taken full advantage.  As a blind person I feel so much safer when I know a second set of eyes come into my living space to check for things like mould, insects and the like.  Such a wonderful and reassuring support!

And, turns out there’s even more support available than what I had originally understood!  During a recent conversation with Lissa, SOS Communications Manager, I learned the programs are wide and varied, including some transportation to appointments (on hold right now due to the pandemic) and the like.  I might very well take advantage of that.  The programs seem to be client led, which I really appreciate.  In other words, the people needing the support ultimately decide what supports get put in place.  How progressive is that?  Not only are there supports for individuals, but SOS also offers programs that provide social interaction for seniors, including newcomers.  I suspect people develop friendships out of these programs that are lifelong.  Such a wonderful response to potential isolation and loneliness.  Some of the group gatherings include speakers, so these events can be educational as well.

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the friendliness of all staff members, who are always, kind, patient and ever knowledgeable.  I’m so grateful for each and everyone of them.  Thank you, Oceanside Better at Home, and SOS; a true lifeline.


International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 3, 2022 – statement from the World Blind Union:

On November 15, the world population hit 8 billion, bringing the total number of persons with disabilities globally to at least 1.2 billion. The growth in the world’s population is coming at a time when several global catastrophes –including the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, climate change, and extreme poverty across the developing world – are seriously threatening the full realization of human rights for the world’s marginalized groups, particularly persons with disabilities, women and children.

As the world grapples with the effects of these global challenges, the World Blind Union (WBU) acknowledges the social injustice and deeply entrenched barriers that undermine the prospects of a more inclusive, accessible and equitable world for persons with disabilities. With these barriers in mind, we commit to redoubling our efforts to removing existing barriers and preventing new ones from being created so that all people who are blind or partially sighted can live the lives they choose.

On this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, WBU joins the rest of the world in celebrating the gains we have secured since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities in 2006. In celebrating the gains, we are also reflecting on the opportunities that the ambitious development and humanitarian agendas like the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development, New Urban Agenda, Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Marrakesh Treaty, and the Charter for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action present for the disability movement.

On this important day, recalling the principle of leaving no one behind, WBU calls on government and non-state actors including the private sector to take the following actions:

Adopting an intersectional approach in development and humanitarian planning, policy and action, highlighting how different structures like gender, age and race intersect with disability to reproduce compounded inequalities and social injustice.

Allocating adequate financial resources for full inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life including but not limited to healthcare, education, employment, sports and recreation activities, and decision-making processes.

Consulting with and ensuring meaningful participation of persons with disabilities, through their representative organizations (OPDs), in development and humanitarian planning, policy and practice.

Taking into consideration barriers experienced by those who are blind or partially sighted and ensuring full implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty.

Raising public awareness about disability and ensuring reasonable accommodation and other measures are adopted and implemented to realize full inclusion of persons with disabilities across the world.

About WBU

The WBU is the leading global voice for an estimated 253 million blind and partially sighted persons worldwide. Our members consist of over 250 organizations in more than 190 countries. Our work is driven by our vision of a world in which we, as persons who are blind or partially sighted, can participate fully in any aspect of life we choose. We advocate for equal opportunities and the protection and promotion of the fundamental human rights of all. Read more about our work at


News, Views & Tips From You


Sign our petition for equal access to diabetes care

– from Equalize, CNIB’s advocacy e-newsletter, November 2022

– by Kat Hamilton

For decades, diabetes management devices such as insulin pumps and glucometers have revolutionized the way people living with diabetes manage their own health. So, why are people who are blind or partially sighted excluded from accessing these life-changing health care devices?

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults in Canada. With such a strong link between diabetes and sight loss, health care device manufacturers must ensure people who are blind or partially sighted can use their products safely and independently.

Unfortunately, instead of investing in existing technology to make these devices accessible, manufacturers have placed a warning on their products indicating they are unsafe for people who have sight loss or hearing loss. As a result, many healthcare professionals are hesitant to prescribe insulin devices to people who are blind or partially sighted, leaving them with few options to manage their diabetes.

CNIB is working with manufacturers to develop accessible solutions, but the federal government also has a role in ensuring everyone in Canada has equitable access to health care, including diabetes management devices.

CNIB is calling upon the Government of Canada to incorporate accessibility as part of the approval process for new health care devices, and work with manufacturers to remove warnings on insulin pumps that exclude people living with diabetes and sight loss.

Be a part of the solution. Take two minutes to add your name to our petition in support of accessible insulin pumps. If we secure 500 signatures, the petition will be formally presented before the House of Commons and the Government of Canada will be required to respond. Stand alongside the 750,000 people living with diabetic retinopathy in Canada, and the thousands of others who are living with diabetes and sight loss. Thank you for your support.


– submitted by Vern Short

Question: Did you hear about the Bee that went to his doctor yesterday? He had a medical condition; do you know what they finally diagnosed him with?

Answer: Hives.


– submitted anonymously

I wonder at this time of year if thoughts of sugar plums dance in your head when you’re trying to sleep or would that be wrapping paper, bows and tags dancing up there?  Well whatever it is as long as its happy thoughts let it be.  So do think those happy thoughts and don’t worry the small stuff we can’t change what happened, but we certainly can wake up with a better attitude if we get adequate sleep.  Hope this is making sense to you?  Now I’d better go and dream about sugar plums, ranbos , whiskey and kittens; what a typo that was supposed to be sugar plums, rainbows and whiskers on kittens!  Will I ever get to sleep?


December Holiday Trivia Answers

  1. What’s the most popular Christmas song of all time?

A: “Silent Night”; and “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby holds the Guinness World Record for the best-selling single.

  1. What is unique about the winter solstice?

A: That day has the least daylight and the longest night.

  1. How did Kwanzaa get its name?

A: Derived from “matundaya kwanza” meaning “first fruits” in Swahili. Celebrations include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading and a large traditional meal.

  1. What’s the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time?

A: In 1990, Home Alone brought in $286 million dollars.

  1. What is Hanukkah also called?

A: The Festival of Lights or The Feast Of Dedication.

  1. What is the symbol for Bodhi Day?

A: Many decorate a Ficus tree with colored lights symbolizing enlightenment and beads. Three important ornaments represent the “Three Jewels” of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

  1. Why do people swim on winter solstice?

A: To wash away negativity and feel a sense of renewal for the upcoming solar year by refreshing spirits for a good cause.

  1. How fast would Santa’s sleigh travel to deliver presents to all the world’s children?

A: About six million miles per hour; factoring in children who celebrate Christmas around the world (about 700 million) and the time Santa needs accounting for time-zone differences (31 hours). Santa travels so fast his reindeer break the speed of sound.

  1. When do the Japanese celebrate Omisoka?

A: Taking place just before the Japanese New Years Festival, occurring on December 31 annually.

  1. How many days is Hanukkah celebrated?

A: Eight days.

  1. Was “Jingle Bells” always a Christmas song??

A: No, it was written in the mid-19th century by James Pierpont when he was homesick living in Savannah.

  1. What is unique to Kwanzaa?

A: The daily lighting of the Kinara; black, red and green candles (colors of Pan-African flag) are burned. On day one, the black candle (unity candle) symbolizing the people themselves is lit.

  1. What does Hanukkah mean?

A: A Hebrew word meaning “dedication”.

  1. What two things made red and green popular Christmas colors?

A: Holly and Coca-Cola. Red and green holly date back to Roman winter solstice celebrations; and the Coca-Cola company popularized the plump and jolly red-suited Santa in a 1931 ad.

  1. Do you give gifts on Bodhi Day?

A: After this day, the days become longer, and the return of the sun is celebrated through birthing rituals and gift giving (when the sun is born, it is a birth celebration for all, hence the tradition of gift giving). Colors of the season are red, green, silver and white.

  1. Is sending Christmas cards still a popular tradition.

A: Yes, numbers are down from previous years, but reportedly over 1.6 billion cards were sold in 2016; and even more are handcrafted and mailed or sent digitally.

  1. How many times does the bell ring on Omisoka?

A: Each temple rings the bells 108 times in a Buddhist ritual called joya no kane representing the cleansing of 108 worldly passions.

  1. Do you give gifts for winter solstice?

A: People across many cultures have exchanged gifts at this time in a variety of forms; one gift or multiple small gifts can be given each day for a period of time (similar to the 12 Days of Christmas).

  1. Who made the first gingerbread cookie?

A: Gingerbread recipes existed back in 2400 BC, but Queen Elizabeth I is known for creating the modern-day gingerbread cookie enjoyed during the holiday season. To impress a group visiting her palace, she asked for a series of special gingerbread cookies designed to look like each visitor.


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 on any matters 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 –