National Newsletter October 2016



++CCB National Cribbage Tournament: The National Cribbage Tournament is about to begin.  Your Chapter must be registered on or before October 19, 2016.


Information packages will be sent out to you immediately, following your request.


This year, the entry date was changed because of my computer crashing. The tournament is starting on November 6th and closing date for all submissions is December 3rd.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me:

Bill Rizzo, Chair, National Tournaments

(613) 549-6196


++GTT Halifax, NS: The Halifax based Access & Awareness NS Chapter of the CCB will be holding its first “Get Together With Technology (GTT)” session on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria annex at the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA), 5944 South St., Halifax. This session will again involve exchanging knowledge, tips, general information and ideas regarding any technologies used by us in our daily lives. In particular, this session will focus on the Script Talker from Envision America, used by those who are blind or who have low vision to identify medications. This service is now available from Shoppers Drug Mart upon request. John Den Hollander will demonstrate the device and explain how he went about obtaining this service.


You are always welcome to bring your device(s) with you and be prepared to learn and to help others learn by exchanging our knowledge and information including information about new and upcoming apps.

All are welcome. This session is free!


So that I will know the number of attendees expected, please register by emailing me at: or leave a phone message at 902-455-0257.


Hope to see you there!


And don’t forget to check out our National CCB GTT Blog posts because you never know what gems of information you might find there:

–Barry Abbott

GTT Coordinator for Halifax

++Congratulations! Longtime CCB members Doug and Sharon Ayres just celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary on August 22nd, 2016! Doug became a client of CNIB in 1980; and he was the Chairman of the Board for 8 years. He joined the CCB Club 60 Barrie, Ontario Chapter the same year and has served as President for close to 25 years. Doug started CCB clubs in Collingwood and Orillia, Ontario. He was also President of the Blind Curlers for several years. He has been a fundraiser for his club and ran a Bingo by himself for many years until he began to receive some assistance from others. Through Doug’s history with the CCB, he held positions including 1st and 2nd Vice-President, as well as directorships in finance, employment research, and public relations. Outside of the CCB, he is an active member of the Lions’ Club, and has served 2 terms as President and many years as Chairman of the Sight and Hearing committee. Doug was honored to receive many awards over the years including the Helen Keller Fellowship Award, the Book of Fame Award, the Melvin Jones Award, the Lions’ Leadership Award and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.

Doug enjoys his family of 6 children along with 11 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild and 2 on the way!


Congratulations again to Doug and Sharon!


++Live Descriptive Arts: The Belfry presents its first VocalEye performance for the 2016 – 17 season on Sunday October 16 at 2:00 in Victoria, BC.


The Last Wife, a contemporary re-imagining of the compelling relationship between Henry VIII and his last wife, Katherine Parr, is a witty and powerful examination of sexual politics and women’s rights. It’s a dangerous game of chess, with Henry’s offspring, Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward as pawns.


Tickets are $24.68 for VocalEye patrons and there is a 25% discount for one attendant. For tickets and to book your VocalEye Victoria headset call, 250-385-6815.


Submitted by VocalEye, a Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind. VocalEye is a non-profit society and the first live descriptive arts service for the blind in Canada. Our mission is to provide greater access to theatre, arts and cultural events for people of all ages who are blind and partially sighted. We provide theatre companies and other arts organizations with the support necessary to make their productions and events more accessible to these audience members through live description, education, outreach and other services.

Check out VocalEye here


++Guide Dog Meeting: A group of enthusiastic guide dog handlers and their canine partners meet every couple of months or so at the CCB National Office on James Street to cover topics of interest to those who have guide dogs and those who are thinking of getting a guide dog. Our discussions are wide ranging from equipment to toys to baths to food.


On September 15th we had a special night where Colleen Bird treated us (and most especially our hard-working canines) to basic massage techniques to keep them in shape and happy. The 8 guide dogs in attendance enjoyed this very much.


Kim Kilpatrick and David Grene have organized these nights but are keen to have others help keep this going.

For more information contact Kim at the national office at 613-567-0311



++In Memory: NANCY KLIPPENSTEIN (nee HARRYMAN) March 23, 1930 – September 8, 2016 We sadly announce that Nancy Klippenstein has passed away peacefully on September 8, 2016, at the age of 86, in the Kildonan Personal Care Centre. Nancy will be lovingly remembered by her son, Wayne (Wendy); sister, Heather Boroski (Richard); nieces, Dale Schenk (Doug) and Robin Polley (Kevin); numerous (great) nephews, nieces and their loved ones; friends, Jenny and Courtney, along with many other special friends. Nancy was predeceased by her husband, Bill Klippenstein; father, William Harryman; mother, Florence McLeod and stepfather Billy McLeod. Nancy was born in the community of Elmwood and grew up in East St. Paul, Manitoba. Together, with Bill and Wayne, they spent several years in Flin Flon and The Pas before returning to Winnipeg. Shortly after Bill’s death in 1964, Nancy also began to lose her sight. Not one to take things lying down, she took the challenge to learn Braille and return to the work force. Nancy worked in the CNIB tuck shops, Sooters Studios and her favourite job was starting a “See if You Can” program for the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) where she became affectionately known as “Mrs. K” to the school children. In addition to teaching children, Nancy taught her family the value of perseverance, tolerance, courage, patience and above all, faith. Nancy spent many years advocating for the blind through the CCB where she served as president of the Manitoba Division and was a National Board representative. Over the years, Nancy had received many awards of recognition which included the CCB Award of Recognition Medal and Citation as well as the Diamond Jubilee Medal and Citation awarded by the Government of Canada (Governor General). Throughout the years, Nancy enjoyed travelling from coast to coast in Canada as well as various locations within the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. In addition to travelling, Nancy enjoyed knitting, listening to her radio / television and book reader as well as her involvement with the CCB and her church. And “Werthers” candy! Nancy took great pride in her homemaking abilities including baking / cooking and was very meticulous in keeping house.


++On behalf of Blind Golf Canada, we would like to introduce you to the Western Canadian Blind Golf Association (WCBGA), the Nova Scotia Blind Golf Association (NSBGA), and the Ontario Visually-Impaired Golfers (OVIG)!


The WCBGA, NSBGA, and OVIG are to Blind Golf Canada what the tour is to the PGA tour! At this level, our goal is to develop new blind golfers, realize social and recreational benefits and promote competitive golf along with true sportsmanship amongst Canada’s blind and visually impaired community! For those who are eligible based on their visual acuities and wishing to play at a national and/or international level, Blind Golf Canada is a member country of the IBGA tour and is also an option for you!


For those of you who don’t know, blind golf is played by golfers who are totally blind or partially sighted (with an acuity of 20/200 or less or a visual field of less than 20 degrees). Simply put, if you are eligible for and possess a CNIB ID card, you can play! The rules are the same; the only difference being that blind golfers may ground their club in a hazard.

We use the aid of a sighted guide and it’s game on!


The WCBGA, NSBGA, and OVIG consist of the four western provinces, Nova Scotia, and Ontario and while our members are hosting and partaking in tournaments held in these six provinces, we are always looking for new golfers and provinces to join us!


We would like to welcome you! At Blind Golf Canada! Our motto is You Can Still Play! It is our hope that as someone who is blind or partially-sighted, you will come out and join us. If you are a sighted individual, get involved as a volunteer, guide or a score keeper at a tournament in your local area, or just come out and watch us! You will be amazed! Please check our web site for a calendar of events at


For further info in your local area, please contact the following:

Gerry Nelson president, Blind Golf Canada


Darren Douma

President, WCBGA

Glenn Babcock, OVIG


Boyd Stewart NSBgA

++You’re Invited: National Tele Town Hall Meeting “Let’s Get It Out There”, October 29, 2016:


Save the date! On October 29 2016, a group of advocates from the blind and visually impaired community in collaboration with some organizations of the blind will be holding a tele town hall titled “let’s get it out there.”


Time: 1:00 pm Eastern, 10:00 am Pacific, 11:00 am Mountain, Noon Central, 2:00 pm Atlantic, 2:30 in New Foundland



This town hall meeting is being jointly sponsored by the following:

Individuals – Richard Marion, Robin East, Anthony Tibbs, Donna Jodhan.


Organizations – Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) and Getting together with technology (GTT), Canadian Blind Sports Association (CBSA), Citizens with Disabilities of Ontario (CWDO).


The objective of this tele town hall is to give participants an opportunity to voice their opinions and suggestions in a meaningful and constructive way on how we as a community can become a stronger voice for consumer advocacy. What can we do in order to move forward in a positive way?

This tele town hall is not meant to be used as any sort of decision making mechanism but rather as an open forum for constructive discussion.


We have prepared a short list of questions which you can use to help you to spark and formulate your ideas and this is pasted at the end of this message.


If you wish to participate then you may send an email to us at


You will receive an email confirming your registration.


During the week of Oct 24 you will receive an email with details of the call in info along with the rules of engagement.


Registration will close at noon Eastern on Oct 26.


Questions for consideration

  1. In order to ensure that people who are blind, Partially Sighted or deaf/blind continue to have a strong voice in Canada,

What do you think the national consumer movement should look like in the future?


  1. Canada is a small country in population. However, it is geographically quite large. Would it be better in Canada to ensure that on a national level there is 1 organization of the blind working on projects and advocacy to help strengthen community activities provincially and locally?


  1. National, Provincial and local organizations have tried working in coalitions. Are you aware of any activities that these coalitions have done? Would you support a more formal working relationship between the existing national organizations of the blind?


  1. “Why do you think the blindness community is so fragmented in its approach to advocacy and community activities?”


++The Velvet Moon Band is coming soon!:

Please join The Glenvale Players Theatre Group on Thursday October 20, 2016 for an evening of community coming together through Music featuring the Velvet Moon Band at Hugh’s Room


The Velvet Moon Band is a quartet of seasoned musicians featuring:

Murray Powell lead vocalist and rhythm guitar

Kevin Bell lead guitar and vocals

Darwin Bruce bass and vocals

Ron Hacket drummer


The Velvet Moon Band has a wide repertoire of songs including original compositions and cover songs drawing on experience with old time rock & roll, Country, Folk and Blues. The quartet love to do harmony.



Venue:      Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W. Toronto,

(At Roncesvalles Ave, just south of Bloor St. and just north of where Dundas St. W. meets Roncesvalles.)


Tickets:     $20.00 in advance or $25.00 at the door.

To reserve contact the Hugh’s Room Box Office at 416-531-660 or email

Doors Open at 6PM. Showtime is 8:30PM.


Dinner       reservations can be made with Hugh’s Room during regular business hours at 416 531-6604 or email (Dinner is not included with ticket.)


There will be a silent auction table with a fantastic assortment of generously donated items to bid on during the evening. All proceeds from the silent auction go to The Glenvale Players Theatre Group.


The Glenvale Players Theatre Group is a non-profit, non-unionized theatrical group comprising blind, vision impaired, sighted members as well as persons with other disabilities, who share an interest in theatre arts.


The mission of Glenvale is to provide a creative outlet for its members in all areas of theatre craft by providing a venue for theatrical production while supporting them in their efforts to develop skills, broaden their scope of performance and encouraging them to participate in Glenvale’s and other productions.


For more information about the Glenvale Players Theatre Group, please visit



++Minister Qualtrough wants to know the barriers you experience:

Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, invites you to an in-person session on Canadian accessibility legislation. These sessions are intended to hear from Canadians with disabilities about the barriers they face in daily life.


To attend, you must personally indicate your interest in which date and city (see below) by contacting:

Phone 1-844-836-8126

Fax 819-953-4797

email address

Mailing Address

Consultation – Federal Accessibility Legislation

c/o Office for Disability Issues

Employment and Social Development Canada

105 Hotel-de-ville St., 1st floor, Bag 62

Gatineau, QC K1A 0J9





Each Consultation has limited space, so make sure to register

Monday, October 3rd




Delta Hotel by Marriott

350 St. Mary Avenue,


MB R3C 3J2

Friday, October 7th



Matrix Hotel

10640 100 Ave NW,


AB T5J 3N8

Tuesday, October 11th


Thunder Bay

Italian Cultural Centre

132 Algoma St S,

Thunder Bay,

ON P7B 3B7

Thursday, October 13th



Telus Convention Centre

120 Ninth Ave SE, Calgary,

AB T2G 0P3


Thursday, October 20th

New Brunswick


Moncton Lion’s Community


473 St. George St, Moncton,

NB E1C 1Y2

Thursday, November 3rd


St. John’s

The Hampton Inn

411 Stavanger Dr, St. John’s,

NL A1A 0A1

Monday, November 7th

British Columbia


Coming soon

Thursday, November 10th


Québec City

Musée national des beaux-arts du


179 Grande Allée Ouest Québec

(Québec) G1R 2H1

Wednesday, November 16th



Palais des congrès

1001 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle,

Montréal, QC H2Z 1H5

Saturday, November 26th

British Columbia


Vancouver Convention Center

1055 Canada Pl, Vancouver,

BC V6C 0C3

Wednesday, November 30th



Canadian War Museum

1 Vimy Place (LeBreton Flats),

Ottawa, ON K1A 0M8

Thursday, December 8th

Prince Edward Island


Murphy’s Community Centre

200 Richmond St, Charlottetown,

PE C1A 1J2

Friday, December 9th

Nova Scotia


Canadian Museum of Immigration

at Pier 21

1055 Marginal Rd, Halifax,

NS B3H 4P7

Wednesday, February 8th



Coming soon


++White Cane Safety Day, October 15, 2016: How Shared Spaces Affect the Safe Transit of Blind and Partially Sighted Persons.


The White Cane is the global symbol of independence and mobility for blind and partially sighted persons and on October 15th we celebrate its importance for White Cane Safety Day. The ability to move freely on one’s own has been an integral cause of the blindness movement since its inception, and it continues to be one of the most important global causes for blind and partially sighted people today. Challenges to the mobility of blind people are ever-changing because the communities that blind and partially sighted persons live in are constantly being updated. Everyone’s safe transit must always be considered as environments are being updated.


An example of an emerging challenge is the issue of safe transit through shared spaces. A shared space is defined as “a street or placed designed to improve pedestrian movement and comfort by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles and enabling all users to share the space rather than follow the clearly defined rules implied by more conventional designs” (Local Transport Note 1/11 October 2011, Department for Transport, London.) However, this increased complexity can make mobility more difficult for persons who are blind or partially sighted.


“Traveling safely in shared spaces depends a great deal on eye contact between vehicle drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, a kind of informal indication of who will be in the shared space next” said Martine Abel-Williamson, WBU Treasurer and member of the WBU Access to the Environment Working Group. “As a blind person, I cannot adhere to that spontaneous, informal kind of communication,” she added.


The issues of shared spaces are presenting problems for blind and partially sighted people everywhere, in places all over the world. “My home city of Toronto has developed a beautiful new shared space along Toronto’s waterfront but unfortunately, it presents safety issues for me,” says Penny Hartin, CEO of the World Blind Union. “Traveling independently across the multiple transportation routes can be very frightening without adequate tactile and audio cues and it should not be assumed by city planners that everyone can travel through these spaces by simply making eye contact with each other” she added.


Luckily, as Ms. Abel-Williamson explained, the white cane can help improve this situation as “people and drivers look out for me, as the white cane makes it clear in a positive and internationally acknowledged way to others around me that I’m blind but still confidently traveling.”


However, we cannot solely rely on people to respect and acknowledge white canes or even guide dogs. The mobility needs of all persons with disabilities, including blind and partially sighted persons, must be taken into account from the very first stages of design and creation of shared spaces. The WBU has developed a position statement on shared spaces, authored by Ms. Abel-Williamson and it outlines best practices for city planners and other stakeholders when planning, designing and implementing shared spaces. Overall, the statement emphasises the need for consultation with blindness organisations throughout all stages of the process and if this consultation is missing, we then encourage blindness organizations to advocate against the installation of a shared space.


You can learn more about shared spaces and good design and implementation principles by reading our Position Statement, which is available on our website at the following link:


In the News

++Legally blind man shares passion for stars with family-made observatory: Tim Doucette’s observatory attracts visitors from abroad to Nova Scotia’s dark night skies


A new observatory is officially opening in southwestern Nova Scotia to give people an opportunity to learn about astronomy through the eyes of a man who is legally blind.


“For me, I’ve always relied on other people,” said Tim Doucette, owner of the Deep Sky Eye Observatory in Quinan.


“But now, other people are relying on me to help them view the night sky, so that’s kind of a great feeling, to show somebody something else that makes them excited.”


Tim Doucette is legally blind, but has an enhanced ability to see ultraviolet light, which allows him to see the night sky with far more clarity than the average person.


Doucette was born completely blind. He had surgery when he was a child to remove the lenses of his eyes, giving him about 10 per cent of average vision.


He has to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days because his pupils are permanently dilated.


But Doucette discovered his disability gave him an incredible ability – he can see objects in the night sky with remarkable clarity.


“Because the lens of the eye is a natural ultraviolet filter, I discovered that I can see ultraviolet light, so looking through a telescope I can see things better than you would,” he said.


“I’m probably the only person that I know of on the planet that can focus a telescope with no eyepiece right on the back of my retina.”


Doucette can see the entire Omega Nebula (or Swan Nebula), whereas most people can’t see half of it without the help of cameras.


Doucette’s special vision has inspired a passion for the night skies.


“Looking through a telescope is literally another world for me.”


He started to share his knowledge when he was living in Moncton, N.B., where he opened up a small backyard observatory. But two years ago, Doucette and his wife, Amanda, decided it was time to move home to Quinan, just outside of Yarmouth.


That’s when he planned to turn his backyard hobby into a tourist destination.


Over the last two years, Doucette has enlisted the help of his brother and father to construct a real observatory.


They collected wood from an old cottage being demolished and managed to find free fill. At the centre is his pride and joy, a Celestron 14-inch Edge HD telescope in a nine-foot dome.


He spends hours exploring every night.


One of his favourite views is the Omega Nebula, also known as the Swan Nebula.


“For me, I’m able to see not just the shape of the swan that it makes, but a little further back where the wings would go, so most people won’t really see that unless they’re experienced stargazers.”


The observatory is ideally located in an area with few towns and little industry, where there is hardly any light pollution, offering stargazers the darkness they need to see the stars.


The area was named North America’s first UNESCO starlight tourist designation.


Doucette is hoping his observatory, which can hold 10 people at a time, will help draw tourists to the area.


It’s already working. Doucette started running trials of his observatory in the spring. So far, more than 150 people have dropped by from places around the world.


On Wednesday, two carloads of visitors from Germany showed up unexpectedly.

Doucette never turns people away.


“The sky is dark, so dark. If there is no moon, it’s so totally dark, and then you can see the stars. Then you can see the Milky Way coming out of the lake,” said Siegfried Piepenbrock of Hanover, who compared the night view to one in Africa. “It’s so beautiful. We cannot find it in Germany. We don’t have it like that.”


Doucette already has big dreams to expand his little business. He’s hoping by next year he’ll be able to offer a camping experience under the stars.


“We’ve always enjoyed sharing the night sky with people. This is just an extension of that. Our mission is to take people on a journey through the cosmos, and to encourage them to look up and to have a new appreciation for our little blue, our little blue dot we call home.”

By Carolyn Ray, CBC News


++Katie’s Story: National Team pitcher deals with vision impairment: Bumps, bruises, pulled muscles, even broken bones. These are some of the things that a ballplayer might deal with throughout the course of a baseball season. For Women’s National Team pitcher Katie Hagen, these pale in comparison to what she has to overcome on the field.


“I’ve been to several different specialists and they’ve done multiple tests and the conclusion is that my eyes are perfectly healthy,” says the 16 year-old from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “But I’m legally blind.”


There’s no technical term for Hagen’s visual impairment other than the fact that she’s legally blind. When she was just four years old, she couldn’t pass the eye test during her grade primary orientation and needed glasses before she could start school.


“I’ve been wearing (glasses) ever since, but my eyes have gotten progressively worse since then,” she said.


Around the time that she started school, Hagen also began her love of baseball, a sport that her grandfather, John Hagen, played professionally in the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1966.


“I started in tee-ball like everyone else and was using a regular (eye) prescription back then so there weren’t really any issues,” she explained. “It never bothered me up until a Peewee age (12/13) when my eyes started getting worse.”


Picking up signs from the catcher, trying to hit spots as a pitcher are all issues that Hagen must overcome in order to do her job on the mound.


“The signs are the hardest part of pitching for me,” she said. “(The catcher) will paint their fingers and that helps, but the hardest part is when their hand drops too low and everything just blends in with the dirt.”


Setting up a hitter presents a different challenge in terms of what spot Hagen wants to hit in or out of the strike zone. She needs to work with her catcher and their tools of ignorance in order to help her out on the mound.


“I had a catcher last year whose glove was the same colour as his chest protector which made it very difficult for me to see,” she said. “Instead of giving me (the sign for) fastball and away, they had to show fastball and then tap their leg to which side they wanted the pitch so it’s easier to figure out.”


A member of the Dartmouth Arrows Bantam AAA club back home, Hagen plays on an all boys team where she also takes her turn at the plate, presenting a different set of circumstances altogether.


“I drive everything to the opposite field because I pick the ball up so late, but it works. I can’t pick the ball up out of the pitchers hand and usually have four or five feet to react.


“There are some pitchers that are harder to read that others with their delivery, but you get used to it.”


Hagen says that she has supportive teammates on her Dartmouth club who use the lighter side of things to help their teammate.


“All the boys they joke about it, they call me “20/20” and it doesn’t bother me at all,” she said.


At school, where she attends Newbridge Academy in Lower Sackville, Hagen incorporates the use of an iPad to zoom in on material that she wouldn’t be able to see using a textbook.


“Public school was hard because I could never see the textbook (pages),” she explained. “It’s awesome now because everything that’s on paper is on the iPad.”


Away from the classroom, baseball is not the only sport that Hagen excels at as she spent ten years as a competitive swimmer putting up qualifying times that would have landed her a spot at the Parapan Am Games last summer in Toronto.


“I stopped last year because it was a lot, I was swimming nine times a week, before and after school,” she said. “The Parapan Am Games were also at the same time as 16U baseball nationals and I like baseball a lot more.”


What exactly does she like most about baseball and being a pitcher, Hagen is quick to provide an answer.


“I like that you control the speed of the game and that you’re in the centre of everything (on the mound). Baseball is really exciting.”


Hagen has had a busy summer playing with the Arrows, but has also been to the Dominican Republic where she helped Canada win gold at the U20 Women’s International Cup, followed by appearances at the three Baseball Canada National Championships including 16U, 21U and the Senior Women Invitational.


It was at the Senior Women Invitational in Red Deer two weeks ago that she found out she had made the National Team and would be heading to Korea only days later to represent her country.


“It was a surprise when I found out,” she said. “I was looking (at the list) to see who I knew and found my name at the bottom.


“My parents were in the room and they already knew (I had made the team), so they had to keep it secret from me. It was pretty crazy when I found out.”


Hagen took to the mound last Sunday and pitched all five innings in a win over India. In doing so, she became the youngest player to ever play for Canada in the Women’s Baseball World Cup and had her father, Scott, in attendance to watch the feat, while mother, Carrie and siblings Douglas, Joey and Chrissie were getting updates at home.


“I get a lot of family support at home, but to have my dad here in Korea is pretty special,” she said.


“This whole (World Cup) experience has been unbelievable. It’s an exciting feeling wearing the jersey. I can’t stop staring at it.”