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

President’s Message

Hello, I’m wondering if any of you will be dressing up or doing something spooky for Halloween?  On the weekend, the weather is predicted to be bootiful!  This past week has been rainy and for some of you quite windy; and so, the sunshine will be great to see and/or feel.

Hmmm, what do you think the theme of our jokes will be – hmmm, if you guessed Halloween – of course you’re right!  First, why did the Headless Horseman get a job?  Second, what’s it like being kissed by a vampire?  And third, what did the bird say on Halloween?  Please check the end of this newsletter for the answers.

Getting involved, getting informed and getting going is the focus of this month’s edition.  You can read about how you can get involved in our 2nd Annual Division Christmas Party; how you can get informed by subscribing to ASIC’s information emails; and get going by participating in BC Blind Sports programs.  And/or you can Zoom with us on the Division Call Ins or with VocalEye on Almost Live and read more about ideas to get involved, get informed and get going!

In the August edition of our newsletter, Lenni Kennedy, Reed Poynter and Rob Sleath were a “success” solving the word puzzle – congratulations!  In this shorter edition of the newsletter, there are three (3) letters scattered throughout the newsletter in no particular order – each letter is capitalized and in brackets like this (O); and to give you a head start, “O” is the first found letter, but note, not necessarily the first letter of the scrambled word.  Once you have found all 3 letters, you’ll need to unscramble them and send me your answer and I’ll make sure you get credit in the next Observer.

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

Please note you may have already missed CCB National’s Membership Dues Early Bird Draw Deadline of October 25, 2021; and this year’s Chapter Rebate Deadline is November 29, 2021.  And White Cane Week Orders and WCW Insurance Requests are Due by December 13, 2021.


Division Call In Update

The Division’s Upcoming Call In schedule:

*Thursday November 4th at 10:00am, an opportunity for you to share your ideas, thoughts and whatever’s on your mind

*Thursday November 18th at 10:00am, with guest speaker Jane Blaine from Canadian Blind Sports

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

*Thursday December 16th at 10:00 AM:  CCB BC-Yukon Division’s 2nd Annual Christmas Party – a special holiday gathering with lots of surprises – you may want to have an eggnog in hand (or at least a cup of coffee)

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.  Please call or email President Ann at 604-795-7230 or and we will make it happen.

CCB BC-Yukon Division’s 2nd Annual Christmas Party

Be Part of the Festivities and Help Us Distract Ourselves!!!

Thursday December 16, 2021 at 10:00am

The Division is looking for you!  The hope is that our members will step up and sing, tell a joke, tell a story or whatever comes to mind – hmmm we may want to stay away from mimes and stick to holiday fun and frolic.  If you remember from last year’s festivities, it doesn’t have to be perfect – we just want to have fun 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.  Zoom has given us this chance to connect from parts all over!

If you are willing to give us one to five minutes of entertainment, please let us know.  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.

Please plan to join us, whether it’s to listen in, have some smiles/laughs and maybe win a door prize and/or be part of the entertainment – it’s the place to be!  And you don’t even need to leave your house!


New Report: COVID-19’s impact on Canada’s crisis of Preventable Blindness

– from Jim Tokos, CCB National President

A few months ago, the Canadian Council of the Blind released our Cost of Vision Loss & Blindness in Canada report:

Stop Vision Loss

Today, we’d like to share some recent startling discoveries we’ve made about the impact COVID-19 has had on vision loss in Canada. We hope this new information will encourage you to sign our Petition:

We are asking the Canadian government to keep its long-overdue promise and develop a Vision Health Plan for Canada.

Did you know that 75% of vision loss cases in Canada are preventable? Over 8 million Canadians are living with diseases that can lead to blindness. Thanks to research, our health care system has the treatments, surgeries, and knowledge to ensure effective vision health for 3 out 4 if diagnosed early. Unfortunately, because of broad restrictions due to COVID-19, vision care was deprioritized. As a result, 143,000 eye surgeries were cancelled or delayed last year.

Wait times for cataract surgery increased by 31 days for a total of 93 days. 93 days of waiting. 93 days that could push a treatable eye condition to irreparable damage and possible blindness. In some parts of Canada, it’s over a year now. When facing life-altering vision loss, nobody can afford to wait that long.

Join the Canadian Council of the Blind in our call to stop the crisis of preventable vision loss and blindness.

For more details, download the full report and Sign our Petition demanding the Canadian government keep its long-overdue promise and develop a Vision Health Plan for Canada.  SIGN THE PETITION NOW


CCB Provincial Book Club

Do you enjoy reading and talking about the books you read?  If the answer is yes, you may enjoy chatting with members of the CCB Provincial Book Club Chapter, who meet monthly on the fourth Friday using Zoom.

In October, the they read The Edge by Dick Francis; in November their book is A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson; and in December they are reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and The Christmas Train by David Baldacci.

If you are interested in joining their discussions, please call Kathy Sanness at 778 484 2298 or 250 395 0395 or email


VocalEye: Almost Live

Almost Live Zoom events are scheduled on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm, are free and hosted by Amy Amantea.  Events are posted on VocalEye’s website as they are confirmed and are posted on the toll-free VocalEye Hotline1-833-548-3393.  You can also subscribe to VocalEye’s newsletter to receive the latest updates at:

Join Our Mailing List

Almost Live Zoom events are designed to be accessible for audience members who are blind and partially sighted.  Sighted supporters and guests with other disabilities are welcome to attend.

VocalEye is thrilled to present another exciting season of accessible online arts adventures that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

Coming Up:

November 3: Done/Undone, a modern look at the relevance of Shakespeare from Bard on the Beach, with audio description by Eileen Barrett.

November 10: OFF/NO PROGRAM(B)

November 17: Constructed Identities, a virtual art tour with artist Persimmon Blackbridge and Jenna Reid from Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture.

November 24: Blind Spot, a documentary adventure in Peru with special guests Ruth Bieber, Carly Grigg and Terry Kelly.

December 1&8: TBA

December 15: Project Fire Flower, a virtual tour celebrating the pyrotechnic art of fireworks with special guest artists from the blind community, Collin van Uchelen and Carmen Papalia.

Events are free but registration is required for new attendees.  You can register for the full season or a single event.  Zoom links are sent out on the day of the event to all registrants.

Register here:

or call: 604-364-5949


Ruth’s Corner

Blind Spot; Moments Unseen

– submitted by Ruth Bieber

In March of 2014 Terry Kelly (Canadian singer/song writer) Carly Grigg (para equestrian, Victoria BC) and Ruth Bieber (author/artist, now living in Creston BC) turned south to participate in an adventure of a life-time!  They were invited to Patagonia Argentina for a ten-day trail ride on horseback!  Apart from being courageous and totally adventuresome, the three equestrians have one other thing in common, they are all legally blind.  For those of you in the know, Terry is totally blind, Carly has 4% residual vision, and Ruth has light perception only.

The trek into the rugged terrain of Patagonia was inspired by producers Stefan Moral and Leslie Haller from Criollo Films Inc.  Their goal was to introduce the world to the beauty of this part of South America, plus test the declaration of the team from Estantia Ranquilco, that anyone can enjoy the trail riding experiences offered by this extraordinary guest ranch.  The result of the project was an award-winning CBC documentary titled Blind Spot; Moments Unseen.  Saturday November 21st Blind Spot; Moments Unseen won “Best International Documentary / long form (30 mins+) at the 2015 Equus Film Festival in New York.The Equus FF is a “niche” festival with a focus on equestrian-themed films from around the world.”

The experience was life-altering for the three Canadians, and now viewers can enjoy their journey, witness the stunning beauty of the Argentine Andes and watch the incredible horse power in action!  Ruth, Terry and Carly will be on hand to introduce the documentary, share their post trail ride artistry inspired by their participation, and answer questions about their experience on the trail ride.  Ruth created six paintings, which were inspired by her time in Patagonia, and Terry has written at least one song devoted to his experience on the trail.  Finally, all three will share some of the highs as well as the trials of being a part of a film documentary, “Not for the faint of heart!” says Bieber.

Blind Spot; Moment’s unseen

Wednesday, November 24, VocalEye virtual platform 6:30pm Pacific.   Stay tuned for the VocalEye fall scheduling, coming ‘’zoom’ to a computer near you!

For a full article about this extraordinary trek written by Ruth, and which includes images of her six inspired paintings, go to the spring 2015 online Sage-ing journal, special supplement, issue 8. the article is titled, ‘Under the Argentine Moon; Riding Patagonia’.  Giddy-up!


Access for Sight Impaired Consumers (ASIC)

Access for Sight Impaired Consumers (ASIC) is an independent, consumer-driven advocacy coalition registered under the BC Societies Act focusing on mitigating and removing inequitable access impacting British Columbian residents who are blind, partially sighted, or deafblind.  Many of their partner organizations are associated with widely recognized provincial or national bodies serving the 65,000 BC residents who are affected by one of the four most common eye diseases which have already claimed or could lead to a total or partial sight loss.  Their mission is to collaborate with these and other community partners to increase awareness and provide a better understanding of the systemic barriers, be they physical or attitudinal, that impact the independence and equitable access for those with sight loss.  Their aim is to build inclusive communities for people with sight loss by promoting equitable access and supporting independent living through the removal of these systemic barriers.

ASIC receives requests for assistance from its constituents on a regular basis.  While it’s an excessively big challenge to keep their website current with every request they receive, they do their best to regularly update the status of their active major projects online.  The  best way to learn about  their current projects and how your world will be positively impacted is to sign up for their e-postsFacebook and Twitter.  Or you can email direct to with “Keep me informed” in the subject line; and by return email, ASIC will send you a verification email before adding your address to its circulation list.  Other questions or requests for systemic advocacy support may be sent to

The ASIC Board looks forward to delivering positive and impactful change by removing systemic barriers that will improve access and independence for persons living with sight loss. They trust you will give them your support and subscribe to their news bulletins. They would also appreciate your support by spreading the word throughout your networks that they are back, ready, and willing to serve the blind community.


News, Views & Tips From You

Curling in Vancouver

– submitted by Fraser Hiltz

The Vancouver Blind Curling Club is active again! If you are Blind or Low Vision, come join us for the game of Curling, no experience necessary. Our Club Curls out of one of the legacy buildings from the Vancouver Winter Olympics, at the Vancouver Curling Club in the Hillcrest Recreation Community Centre 4575 Clancy Loranger Way, Vancouver V5Y 2M4. We curl on Wednesdays from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. starting September 28th. Fees come to $80.00 including membership to the Vancouver C.C. the Blind C.C. Curl B.C. and a one-time Covid Fee. Curling ice is donated by the Vancouver C.C. representing a usual league fee of $275.00 which we do not have to pay. Following Public Health Rules, masks must be worn and proof of double vaccination is required to enter the facility. If you are interested in joining us, please call Fraser Hiltz at 604 379 0035 or Carol Kent at 604 266 9656.


BC Blind Sports

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Insight Newsletter – October 2021


Congratulations to everyone for a great season of Dragon Boating.Two of our 5 dragon boat teams were able to return to training and competition this summer.   Dragons Insight and Vision Impossible returned facing the challenges of COVID protocols, and made it work with ease and no fuss.

ICE HOCKEY – New location and schedule

The Eclipse Blind Hockey Team has a new training and a new ice time! We are now at the new accessible facility, the North Surrey Sports and Ice Center near the Scott Road Sky-Train station. Our ice time is every Sunday from 4:45pm to 5:45pm with the exceptions of a couple of dates.We also continue to practice every other Friday at Moody Park Arena in New Westminster.  If you are interested in trying blind hockey, learning to skate, or just to come watch us play, please contact Graham at  for more information!

Our New Training Venue: North Surrey Sports and Ice Center, 10950 – 126-A Street, Surrey, B.C. V3V 0E5

Day and time: Every Sunday 4:45pm-5:45pm


Please note the schedule for tennis is now every Tuesday from 3:30pm to 5:00pm same location Pinetree Community Centre, 1260 Pinetree Way in Coquitlam.Please be aware that everyone participating in Blind Tennis will have to present your vaccine card and ID every single time you come to play.   This is the City of Coquitlam’s policy for every adult program.  For more information please contact Susan or Mike at the BC Blind Sports office.


The BC Active Living Network program provided by BC Blind Sports is back in action after the long, hot summer! The purpose of this dynamic group of individuals is to encourage and motivate each other to enjoy a more active lifestyle. Along with contributing to the weekly totals of our combined steps and kilometers, we meet every few weeks on Zoom for presentations on health and wellness topics chosen by group members.

Throughout the autumn and winter, we will be applying our accumulated kilometers to a walking tour across our beautiful country, learning more about the provinces and places along our route through members’ experiences and research. We started in BC and have walked almost 6,500 kilometers since May, and we will attempt to determine our current location at our November meeting.

If you enjoy being active, have ideas to share, and wish to learn more about health and wellness, this group is for you!If you would like to sign up, contact Susan at


The time for the Dragon Boat Fitness training on Monday nights has been changed, it will now start at 7pm and run until 8pm.  Please see the full schedule of all our online classes below:

Chair Yoga with Candice – Sunday 6pm & Thursday 12pm noon

Dragon Boat Fitness with Cindy – Monday 7pm & Tuesday 9:30am

Fitness with Brian – Wednesday 2pm & Thursday 7pm


We are re-opening our in-person fitness classes with Brian in Nanaimo, the classes will be held at the Nanaimo Lawn Bowling club, we hope to have this program starting in November.

We are in the process of opening a light fitness class in the Kelowna area starting in November.  If you are interested, please contact the office and Susan will give you all the information you will need to join.  There is no cost other than your membership to BC Blind Sports.


CNIB: Blindness in Canada,glaucoma%3A%20294%2C600%20people

Today, an estimated 1.5 Million Canadians identify themselves as having a sight loss.  An estimated 5.59 million more have an eye disease that could cause sight loss.

Here, you’ll find key statistics about blindness and its impact from coast to coast, from Canadian Survey on Disabilities 2017. These numbers include people with mild to very severe vision loss.

Blindness by province

British Columbia: 252,000 (O)

Alberta: 160,000

Saskatchewan: 43,000

Manitoba: 57,000

Ontario: 681,000

Quebec: 205,900

New Brunswick: 37,750

Nova Scotia: 49,500

Prince Edward Island: 6,250

Newfoundland and Labrador: 21,700

Yukon: 1,400

North West Territories: 1,220

Nunavut: 1,280

Causes of blindness

The leading causes of blindness in Canada are:

cataracts: 3,541,000 people

age-related macular degeneration: 1,574,000 people

glaucoma: 294,600 people

diabetic retinopathy: 749,800 people

Source: The Cost of Vision Loss Report.



– submitted anonymously

I wonder how many people have trouble sleeping?  I know I still am. But I do some of my best thinking in the night, even though part of that thinking is I need some sleep.  I wonder what you think about when you are awake in the night – maybe solving world dilemmas or planning grand adventures or it may be a time to pray?  I know my mind wanders all over the place and it’s difficult to stick to one thought.  Ah well, it’s time to try again…


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, he was trying to get ahead inlife.

Second, it’s a pain in the neck.

Third, twick or tweet.