British Columbia – Yukon Division Spring 2016 News

British Columbia – Yukon Division

PO Box 531 , Postal Station Main, Chilliwack, BC V2P 7V5

604-795-3885 or 1-800-874-4666 or


Under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Honour

The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia



Spring 2016 News

Hello, wow, summer is almost upon us and most of us will be taking a bit of a break from our regular Chapter activities; although I suspect some of you have summer activities as well and I am hoping you report those activities to me for our next edition…


I would like to thank all our Chapters who sent a delegate and supported the 2016 Workshop and Conference. Congratulations to all returning Directors and especially to Kathy Sanness, who was willing to add her name to the fray. Although, we did need to say good bye to Terry Pipkey and thank him for his contributions. As per usual, we had the opportunity to learn from one another and will continue to enhance future meetings with that knowledge…


The Silent Auction was a success due to the efforts of Chapters who donated items and Vern Short who visited many business locations in Kamloops – Our Silent Auction netted us $1,441 and the two 50 50 draws $329.50 – thank you everyone for your continued support and loyalty; and special thanks to CCB Kamloops White Cane Chapter for helping to make the Division’s Conference a success…


If you would like past copies of the Division Newsletter emailed to you, please email Ann; and do not hesitate to call me or any other Division Board Member for more information or clarification on any content in this newsletter… Ann McNabb, CCB BC-Yukon Division President



///2016 Triennial Conference…

– submitted by Brodie McKenzie

On behalf of the PoCo Visually Impaired People (VIP) CCB (Port Coquitlam) chapter, thank you to everyone for the great hospitality. Thank you to the Board of Directors, Conference Committee and all those who worked so hard to make this a big success. It was so nice to see old friends and make many new ones. Thank you to the Port Coquitlam Lions Club for their financial donation, my mother and I would not have been able to attend it if it wasn’t for this generosity. Thank you to the Kamloops Curling Club for the delicious meals, and a great venue to hold the conference. It was a great experience – learning new things in the technology world for those who are blind or with vision loss. The talk on the history of Braille was very intriguing. Thank you to everyone from myself and my mom Gisele. A big thank you to Gerry for the shuttle service from the bus depot and back. We hope to see everyone at the 2017 AGM.


– submitted by Amy Amantea, Vancouver VocalEye

I had a great time at the conference/AGM this weekend. I have never been to Kamloops, just driven past. It is always great to see the many returning delegates and catch up, share information and learn about what their Chapters are doing. In some capacity, I will be a CCB member for life. You all did such a great job arranging things again for this year, you should be so proud of a successful event and the addition of a silent auction was a great idea – something to include for future conferences.  Congratulations to the new board!



– submitted by Vern Short, Kamloops

As a first time attendee at a CCB BC-Yukon Division conference, hosted by Kamloops on April 22nd & 23rd, I was able to catch up with old friends and meet new friends in the Division. I enjoyed the fellowship/stories of all who attended. It is my hope that the delegates, members and executive enjoyed themselves here. I was only too proud to contribute to the overall success of the conference. I personally learned a few new things from the conference and listening to each Chapter’s activities report – the ideas that are out there are all wonderful to hear about. The GTT workshop was great, but more is needed locally and more frequently with the   GTT. Yes; I do agree and urge others to fully support the 13 principals for a new BC Persons’ with a Disability Act, to encompass a true spectrum of fairness for all British Columbians with a disability. So lets all do our part in getting this information out to the people that need to know about it.


  • Submitted by Geraldine Braak, Powell River

It was with great interest that I received very many comments about the Conference.  It was disappointing that I could not attend and I thank all of you for giving me the trust and confidence to elect me as First Vice President and will work to the best of my ability.  Have a great spring and summer.


///Book of Honour Winners for 2016…

At the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) BC-Yukon Division 2016 Conference in Kamloops, two Book of Honour Certificates were given out – first, as per our tradition, to a blind member and second, for the first time, to a sighted member. Congratulations and thanks go out to Florence (Flo) Hill from the Sunshine Coast White Cane Chapter who was the blind recipient and Gladys Lindgren from the Chilliwack White Cane Chapter who was the sighted recipient. Following are Flo’s and Gladys’ profiles sent in by their Chapters…


Flo Hill’s parents were immigrants from Scotland, and arrived just in time, to Vancouver, for Flo to be born in 1920. Here she was raised and educated along with her 2 brothers and 1 sister. In 1973, Flo and her husband, Roy, moved to the Sunshine Coast of Half Moon Bay. Over the next number of years Flo, realized that her sight was giving her some problems. She went through a number of examinations and a variety of medication, Flo accepted to be a participant in a research project, pertaining to The Prevention and Curability of Macular Degeneration. Although the research project was not a success for Flo, what it did do was to pave the way for the medication that Othomologist provide their patients today. During the time Flo was in the process of losing her sight, Flo volunteered her time at our local Hospital Gift shop. She only left after she no longer could identify what was on the shelves.


Flo joined the Sunshine Coast White Cane Club in 1999. She stated, “I came because I enjoy meeting people and help where I can”. Flo became very active in the club and in 2004 was elected president. Flo brought in a large selection of speakers from our community so we could be informed on a variety of topics.  During White Cane Week, we would hear Flo asking anyone who stopped at our table, do you know anyone who is blind, along with other questions. Flo would try anything   to acquire additional members for our club.   Unfortunately, Flo stepped aside in 2009 to oversee her beloved husband.   Flo is still an active member in our club and always willing to give suggestions for good speakers at the rightful age of 95 years young.


Gladys Lindgren is a long time member of the CCB Chilliwack white Cane Chapter as a sighted member. In 1979, when Gladys retired working as a bookkeeper at Fraser Valley Foods, she joined her husband Lindy (Albert) who was already a CCB member in the Chilliwack Chapter. The executive at the time asked Gladys if she would be willing to be the club’s treasurer and Gladys agreed. Over the next 30 years, Gladys kept a meticulous accounting of the club’s finances – always having the financial reports ready and balanced. Right from the start Gladys was involved with the club, offering her eyes, her hands and her wisdom for the benefit of the club members. Numerous times throughout the years Gladys has sat behind information tables, during White Cane Week and Canada Day Celebrations, helping to make crafts and selling at craft and bake sales at the mall and driving anyone and everyone to wherever they needed to go for club business. When Lindy passed away, Gladys continued to support the club as a board member and still offers us her support and experience. Gladys is now 92 and is finding it difficult to remember everything, but we all do remember her contributions for more than 30 years and believe she deserves this recognition.

Please note that Gladys died on April 17th, before she received this award. Letting you know on the Wednesday before, we whispered in Gladys’ ear that she was the first recipient of this award – we are not sure if she understood, but we like to think she did…


///Membership Tidbits…

The CCB BC-Yukon Division extends an official welcome to the newly formed Get Together With Technology (GTT) Vancouver Chapter. Membership remains a priority for the Division and we will soon be announcing the addition of the 27th chapter currently in the process of registering with the National office.


Membership is growing in numbers and strength due to the united forces within the blind community along with the efforts of all our members. This was evident at the recent CCB 2016 Triennial Conference held in Kamloops. The majority of all Division Chapters were represented by delegates and members, guides and volunteers who all contributed to the successful outcome of the conference. Without the membership, this would not be possible.




///Chapter Call in Sessions…

These sessions offer an opportunity for your Chapter to exchange their ideas and successes; express their concerns or struggles while providing peer mentoring, encouragement and motivation to each other through productive discussions. Your Chapter is encouraged to call in – it is important to maintain strong communication amongst the Chapters and members of the Division.


Dialling instructions and a different conference code are sent to members by email prior to the scheduled session. The next Call In Session will be held on Thursday June 16th at 10:00 AM and there will be no sessions in July and August.

If you require further details or assistance please contact Judy Macdonald at 250-706-0233 or by email at


Thank you to all who have taken the time to participate!


///Provincial Book Club…

– submitted by Albert Ruel

Here are the books so far selected for our spring reading pleasure. The BC Book Club members will take the summer off from meeting, however we’ll continue to read while enjoying time on the beach or at the cabin.


We urge all of you to think about some good books you’d like to recommend for the group and then join us in the fall when we re-convene. President Kathy Sanness can be reached at…

250-395-0395 or


To join us on our monthly calls you may dial the below number, followed by the Code that precedes each listed book…


Code # 283, May 28: Just One Evil Act, Elizabeth George

Code #358, June 25: Harry Potter


///Chilliwack White Cane Chapter…

– Barrier Free BC


* that just over 604,000 British Columbians with disabilities encounter physical, sensory, cognitive, learning and intellectual barriers including ones related to technology, education, communication, employment, attitudes and others on a daily basis

* that it is a natural progression of the aging process for people to experience physical and/or sensory limitations or even a permanent life-altering disability as they grow older

* that the Federal Government of Canada is working toward the goal of enacting a Canadians with Disabilities Act which will require goods, services and facilities which come under their jurisdiction to be accessible to all persons with disabilities, but it will only apply to goods, services and facilities made available through Federal Ministries and federally funded programs with no ability to apply a similar requirement on goods, services or facilities made available through provincial governments or provincially regulated businesses

* that the Provinces of Ontario and Manitoba have enacted disability legislation with the Province of Nova Scotia working toward the introduction and enactment of disability legislation in 2016

* that the Government of British Columbia launched an initiative entitled “Accessibility 2024” on June 16 2014 with the goal of making BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by the year 2024, an initiative which is neither mandatory or legislated

* that the Government of BC is considering whether to develop and enact a British Columbians with Disabilities Act

* that the CCB BC-Yukon Division Board has endorsed the thirteen principles upon which a British Columbians with Disabilities Act should be based as they believe it is important to achieve a barrier-free province for all persons with disabilities and encourage CCB Chapters, members, their families and friends to get on board


The following motion was passed at our meeting on May 4, 2016…

Motion for the Canadian Council of the Blind Chilliwack White Cane Chapter to support the Barrier-Free BC campaign that is calling upon BC’s Legislative Assembly to enact a strong and effective British Columbians with Disabilities Act


Furthermore, our members agreed to add their names to the growing list of individual supporters for a Barrier Free BC; and encourage and challenge other CCB Chapters to do the same…


///Comox Valley White Cane Chapter…

– submitted by Pat Chicquen

All is well in the Comox Valley.  We are having a picnic on the 5th of July.  Invited are the Powell River Chapter, Campbell River Chapter, Doug Stouley and Albert Ruel along with their driver.


On May 14th we had our first annual Car Wash and Hot Dog Sale. It was held at Westview Ford.  They supplied everything for the car wash plus hot dogs and drinks.  Our great helpers were very tired by the end of their shifts. We did very well with the car wash and hot dog sales raising $1000.05 in sales and donations.


Have a great summer everyone.


///Get Together with Technology at Seeing Beyond the Horizon…

– Richmond BC May 4, 5, 6 and 7, 2016

  • Submitted by Albert Ruel

Albert Ruel and Brenda Forbes attended the 2016 Seeing Beyond the Horizon Conference with a wide variety of pamphlets and brochures outlining CCB’s work, and through discussion offered some practical ways that CCB and the Teachers of the Vision Impaired might work together in the education of Canadian youth who are blind, partially sighted and deaf-blind as they transition from school to adulthood.  Many asked where GTT meetings are currently being held in the evenings and on weekends so that more youth and working aged adults can be included in our programs, and that is what we will focus our energy on for the coming months, the establishment of gatherings conducive to participation by youth who are still in school and those adults who work during the day.


Welcoming the Canadian Vision Teachers to the Seeing Beyond the Horizon 2016 Bi-Annual Conference the CCB offered a Door Prize which was made up of a CCB blanket, travel mug, earphones, keychain flashlight and pen all nestled inside a CCB tote bag, along with bottles of Sumac Ridge BC red and white wine.  Congratulations to the CCB Door Prize winner, and those who won the many other door prizes on offer by the conference venders.


Many vision teachers, braillists and other allied professionals who work with blind, partially sighted and deaf-blind students in the K to Grade 12 school system and who attended this conference stopped by the CCB/GTT booth to explore how our programs might support their work.  It is CCB’s belief that through offering varied types of peer mentoring, such as the Get Together with Technology program we can assist in the student’s transition from high school to adult life, and those same youth can help adults better understand the role that assistive technology can play in leveling the playing field for work, leisure and recreation.  Our youth have so much to offer adults and seniors, and we know too that adults and seniors have a lot to offer our youth in the areas of general life skills, as well as assistive technology.


CCB staff and volunteers who attended this vital conference also learned a great deal from the other venders in attendance.  Many technology, way finding and braille production devices and strategies were on display for all to experience.  Those resources too will be disseminated to CCB membership through GTT meetings and the Division and National newsletters.


///Kelowna Blind Curling Chapter…

– submitted by Bill Mah

We are taking a much deserved brake after a busy curling season. Our Club will have a summer barbecue in June along with our annual meeting. This is when we take time to plan for the upcoming year. Our group has joined once again the Commercial League in the fall and we are looking forward to sending a team back to the Canadian Vision Impaired Championships in Ottawa in February. New curlers are always welcomed. Please contact Bill at (250) 878-0710 if anyone would like to try curling in the fall.


Unrelated to curling, I want to invite people to join the Kelowna Yacht Club in their annual fishing derby for the blind on July 23rd. Contact Bill at (250) 878-0710 if you wish further information on this event.


///Lawn Bowling…

– submitted by Al Hanet from Kelowna

For over 25 years I have been asking, harassing and begging CCB members to join us in lawn bowling with and for the Blind – with no success recruiting Bowlers. Now I must tell you time is running short, I am just about 80 years old and when I am gone so will blind Lawn bowling. You will have lost the opportunity to play in one of the best Sports in the world for the Blind and visually Impaired.


I have had the opportunity to travel to 8 Major countries in the World and have earned nearly 60 winning medals for blind lawn bowling. This year we are holding the Nationals in Ladner and this may be your last chance in participating in this great sport, for fun entertainment and really tough competition.


I for one am totally grateful for one Visually Impaired Person, who came to me and said “Al, come lawn bowling”. I am older now, but still a very competitive lawn bowler.


///Prince George White Cane Chapter…

– submitted by Margaret Storey

We are a small group who gather once a month to air problems at our meeting and then have a lovely lunch prepared by the Ladies at the Church where we meet. However, we also have a celebrity in our midst… Our President, Ron McIvor, is a blind skier. Last year he was sidelined with a badly broken ankle a week before competition, but this year he went all out. The first event was Canadian Ski For at Kananakis, Alberta, where Ron won Silver in the 10k and the 20k. Then Ron went on to Norway for the World Championships against up to 100 others, where he won Silver in the 10k and then Bronze in the biathlon – consisting of skiing and shooting. He isn’t very good at shooting, so did very well – we are very proud of our President.


///Sunshine Coast White Cane Chapter…

– submitted by Bill Conway

The Sunshine Coast members were very pleased to learn, that their nominee, for the Book of Honour – Blind Person’s category, was selected.  The presentation of the lovely wooden frame, with a glass insert, was presented to Florence Hill on May 11th.  President Bill presented, it to her, at the clubs yearly outing, to a local restaurant.  She received a lovely round of applause from the other patrons and our club members.  Flo indicated, upon receiving the plaque, now I really have something to look at and able to read it at the same time, for it was done in bold print.  She gave us her thanks of appreciation and then allowed pictures to be taken.  Once again the club wishes to thank the Book of Honour Committee for their worthy selection.


Also, on May 15th, President Bill, present the “Advocates for Veterans” resolution to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 140, to President Kay Medcalf.  This presentation was done at their monthly meeting.  There were approximately 40 members and its executive in attendance.  There were words of appreciation for our ongoing commitment in supporting local veterans.  The resolution was done, in such a manner, that it would be readable by a variety of ages. …Note; this RCL branch has supported our club to the tune of $10,000 over the past 16 years…


We only have one more meeting before the summer hits us.  This year the club will be having its yearly picnic in the Township of Gibson.  We will gather at one of the community halls that are situated on the water front.  Here we will enjoy the comfortable site, smell the many flowers, and enjoy a pot luck lunch.  The Sunshine Coast members wish that you all have a safe and enjoyable summer.


///Vancouver VocalEye…

– submitted by Amy Amantea

Some exciting times at VocalEye and we continue to work with the vision loss community to create the best service we can and to meet the needs to people with vision loss that create a barrier to participation and enjoying arts and culture!! Below is a list of the described performances for summer 2016. Any questions can be directed to Steph Kirkland, Executive Director at 604-364-5949 or – sign up for the newsletter by contacting Steph or visiting – its free and full of information about arts and culture and a community of people living with vision loss.

VocalEye Described Performances and Events for SUMMER 2016…

* Describing Fireworks Workshops – VocalEye conducted a pilot-test of our hands-on tactile technique for describing fireworks for people who are blind at the Celebration of Light last year – This year, we’re offering 2 free workshops in the technique: Saturday June 18th or Saturday June 25th from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Langara College, 100 West 49th Avenue. Each 4 hour workshop will be led by Collin van Uchelen and will include an introduction to pyrotechnical terms with videos to illustrate common and unusual effects. Sighted participants will learn and practice the technique, honing their skills with feedback from their partners. Theatre Buddies and light snacks will be provided. Any VocalEye member with vision loss may attend a workshop with their sighted companion or ask to be paired with a Theatre Buddy and participants will have the option to attend one or more live fireworks experiences in July – the details of those events will be provided at the workshop. This technique is still in the experimental stage, so we value your feedback and participation, whether or not you join us for the live events. Space is limited. Please contact Steph for more information and to register for one of the workshops: 604-364-5949 or


Summer Musicals and Bard on the Beach…

* Billy Elliot, the 10-time Tony Award-winning musical sensation about a boy from a coal-mining town who wants to be a ballet dancer. Described by Teri Snelgrove on Sunday, June 5th at 2:00 PM at The Arts Club Stanley, 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver. Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call 604-687-1644 to purchase. (

* Rock of Ages, this 80s classic rock/glam rock hit musical features songs from Foreigner, Twisted Sister, Journey, Styx, Bon Jovi and Bowie, to name a few. Described by Ingrid Turk on Tuesday July 5th at 7:30 PM at The Arts Club Granville Island, 1585 Johnston Street, Vancouver. Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call 604-687-1644 to purchase. (

* Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s timeless tale of star-crossed lovers will be described on Sunday July 17th at 2:00 PM at the Bard on the Beach MainStage, 1695 Whyte Avenue, Vanier Park, Vancouver – this performance will be followed by a Touch Tour. Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users and the same price for up to one companion. Please call 604-739-0559 to purchase. (

* The Merry Wives of Windsor is brimming with music, flirting, fun and faeries! Described on Sunday July 24th at 2:00 PM at the Bard on the Beach MainStage, 1695 Whyte Avenue, Vanier Park, Vancouver – this performance will be followed by a Touch Tour. Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users and the same price for up to one companion. Please call 604-739-0559 to purchase. (


Vancouver Pride Parade, a free, public, outdoor extravaganza described on Sunday July 31st. Description equipment and accessible seating will be available in Alexandra Park, Vancouver from Noon until 3:00 PM. More details to come… Theatre Under the Stars described performances are still to be confirmed… Please mark your calendars and check the VocalEye website for updates, reviews and support materials. (


A link to the VocalEye May newsletter: (


///The Blind Beader…
Hello CCB Members, it was lovely to see everyone at the conference/AGM in Kamloops! Thanks so much to those of you who made purchases from The Blind beader, your support and feedback is very much appreciated! Did you know that The Blind Beader creates a line of jewellery and accessories to help raise funds for VocalEye? Adorned with the Turkish “Evil Eye” a Talisman that has been used for centuries in many cultures around the world to bring good luck and ward off evil  and negative energy, each piece is uniquely created. items in this collection include book marks, eye glass chains, key chains, zipper charms, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and wine charms and Pandora style beads – all starting from $5. If you want an easy way to help support VocalEye and raise funds to provide access to arts and culture for people living with vision loss, please let me know. If you have any upcoming events and wish to sell some of the pieces on behalf of VocalEye to help us raise funds that would be much appreciated! It takes about $75,000 a year to provide the service that we do for people with vision loss and every dollar is put directly back into providing the service. To inquire about this collection or any other creation by The Blind Beader contact me directly. thanks again for all your support!
Amy Amantea 604-763-2695 or


///Your CCB BC-Yukon Board of Directors…

In order for you to get to know who your elected Division Board of Directors are, In this newsletter and subsequent newsletters, I will be including the biographies submitted by your Division Directors for the 2016Conference…


///Your CCB BC-Yukon Division Newest Board Member…

– submitted by Kathy Sanness for the 2016 Conference

I grew up on a small ranch out of 100 Mile House and lived in that area until I moved to Kelowna in December 2014.  I raised three sons there, the oldest of which had Asthma all his childhood and the youngest of which is Autistic; he is the reason for my move to Kelowna as there were not sufficient resources for him in 100 Mile House.  I worked for all my adult life, even while raising my sons.  I also volunteered to help parents of Autistic children in our school district.  I was forced to retire when I lost most of the sight in my second eye due to Macular Degeneration caused by extreme myopia.  At that time (1998), I worked in the senior secondary school as a Youth Care Worker in the Alternate Program.  That is when I joined the local White Cane Club.  I served first as Secretary-Treasurer, then as Treasurer, and later as Vice President until I moved away.  I volunteered as Peer Councillor for the CNIB for a number of years for the area between Clinton and Quesnel including the Chilcotins.  I joined the Interlakes Lions in 2005.  While there I ran the 50/50 draws every meeting, when needed I collected money for dinner, I served as Director for several years until my  husband got sick and I even served as Second Vice President for one term.  I worked on fundraising for both the White Cane Club and the Interlakes Lions.


About four years ago I was asked to start a book club for the CCB in BC.  Then almost three years ago we were asked to become our own chapter, with me as president.  This year, with the help of some of my Lioness club, I put on a display in a local mall for White Cane Week. Since moving to Kelowna, I have joined OVIS (the Okanagan Visually Impaired Society), where I play crib with several of my fellow members every Tuesday, and the Kelowna Lioness Club.  I have also become the local peer councillor for the CNIB.


///Your CCB BC-Yukon Division 1st Vice President…

– submitted by Geraldine Braak for the 2016 Conference

I have been involved with the Canadian Council of the Blind BC-Yukon Division since 1973. I started the Powell River White Cane Club which is now known as the CCB Powell River Chapter. I was elected as delegate to the CCB BC-Yukon Division Conference where I was elected as board member. I served as Director of Legislation, 2nd Vice President and 1st Vice President and was elected to the CCB National Board of Directors. I served as Director of Legislation and 1st Vice President and became National President for an 8 year period. The Canadian Council of the Blind is a member of the World’s Blind Union (WBU) which I attended as a delegate in a variety of different countries. I served as 1st Vice President for the North American, Caribbean Division of the WBU and served as chair person of the Women’s Committee and as an executive member of the WBU board of directors. I represented the CCB in a variety of different countries. I have been very involved for more than 40 years and I received the Order of British Columbia and have been invested as an officer in the Order of Canada and received a Honourary Doctorate of Law Degree. I also received the CCB National Award of Merit and been awarded a Life Membership in the CCB. I have also represented the CCB on many provincial and national committees and was chair person of the advisory committee on the Accessible Transportation for the federal ministry. I was very involved in the start-up of the Canadian Braille Authority and served as the first Past President. Of course there are many other involvements all of which I feel privileged to be nominated to and had the opportunity to gain a tremendous amount of experience.


*** Please feel free to make contact with your Division Board…

Ann McNabb, President – 604-795-7230 –

Lori Fry, National Representative – 250-395-2452 –

Gerry Braak, 1st Vice President – 604-485-5028 –

Pat Chicquen, 2nd Vice President – 250-339-3904 –

Bill Conway, Director – 604-740-5896 –

Darren Douma, Director – 250-428-8715 –

Donna Rekve, Director – 604-483-4220 –

Kathy Sanness, Director – 250-395-0395 –