GTT Newsletter Articles, Donna’s Low Tech Tips, The Talking Microwave, March 12, 2018

Sorry folks, it seems my first attempt at posting this tip required a password.  That was not the intention.

March 12 2018

Meet the talking microwave


Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.  As mentioned in my previous blog, I would like to concentrate on the lower levels of technology and today I’d like you to meet the talking microwave.


I am happy to tell you that just a few years ago, I got introduced to the talking microwave and since then I have used this gem every day in my kitchen.  The model that I bought at that time was by Hamilton Beech and I am sure that since then there have been additional improvements and other companies manufacturing and selling talking microwaves.


Sadly enough though, this product has been discontinued but I am very sure that there are other similar microwaves out there that offers similar functionality.


So what can I do with this talking microwave model?  Well, I can do such things as:

Cook or warm food at specified times.

Cook or warm specific foods.

Defrost frozen foods.

Cook and warm food by weight.

Set my timer.

Set my clock.


I can warm and or cook anything from frozen to fresh vegetables, potatoes, soups, popcorn, a dinner plate, pizza, and beverages.


That’s my talking microwave and I hope you will go out there and make friends with the one that is being sold at Independent Living Aids.



If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimitted access to either of the following libraries.

Recipes –

Audio mysteries for all ages –

Or you can subscribe to both for the price of $20 annually.


Have a super day and see you next week.





CCB Newsletters: BC-Yukon Division Winter Newsletter, March 2018

British Columbia – Yukon Division

PO Box 531, Chilliwack Main Stn., Chilliwack, BC  V2P 7V5

604-795-3885 OR 1-800-874-4666 –

Website – Facebook CCB BC-Yukon Division


Under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Honour

The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia


Winter 2018 News


Hello, everyone! I am sure that you have been very busy over the last couple of months with Christmas and New Year’s holidays and all the festive gatherings. We apologize for the delay in sending this issue and although it is almost Spring, sharing of information is always valuable regardless of the season. Please take note of the fundraising deadline for the CBSVI Chapter as noted in their article that is fast approaching.


In this edition of the newsletter, I am writing the president’s message on behalf of Ann McNabb as she is unable to correspond with you at this time due to a very busy schedule and the upcoming Annual General Meeting. More importantly, her husband Gerry has been hospitalized for the past several weeks and Ann has been battling a bad cold. We all of course wish both of them a very speedy recovery. While Ann is distracted I am going to sneak in an official CONGRATULATIONS to  Ann and Gerry as they were married on December 16, 2017. I’m confident that you will all join me in wishing them a long and happy future together!


Just a reminder that the CCB BC-Yukon Division 2018 AGM and Workshop will be held at the Best Western Plus Langley Inn 5978 Glover Road on Wednesday April 25th. This year’s Workshop will be Emergency Preparedness. Details and delegate registration forms have been sent to all chapters and all member and chapter dues must be paid in order to be deemed in good standing. Please plan to attend or send a delegate from your Chapter. It’s an opportunity to share ideas and experiences, learn from one another, meet new friends and reconnect with old ones while having fun.


We are all looking forward to spring as this year it seems to be coming late, and note there is still a lot of snow across the province.  I congratulate you on your White Cane Week events as I know there were many chapter activities taking place; read on to hear more about WCW happenings.


With plans underway for spring and summer activities, I am sure you are very busy. Hopefully you have some very original ideas for events and it would be greatly appreciated if you can share these ideas so they can be printed in our next news letter.


I have been enjoying my participation as co-host in the Division monthly chapter call in sessions and encourage all of you to take part. Further details are included in this newsletter.


I look forward to seeing you all at the 2018 CCB AGM in Langley. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me at any time at 1-604-485-5028 should you have any comments, questions and/or concerns. Your Division Board of directors are here to assist wherever possible. – Submitted by Geraldine Braak Division 1st Vice President



Membership Tidbits///

For assistance with membership matters please contact your Division National Representative Lori Fry at 250-395-2452 or; Judy Macdonald at 250-706-0233 or  or the Division office.



 Chapter Call in Sessions///

Calling all Chapters.  Chapter Call In Sessions will continue to be hosted by two CCB BC-Yukon Division Directors. We encourage all chapters to get involved in this opportunity to share information and ideas. To participate please dial 1-866-351-5099 and enter the one time participation code that will be sent to you in a reminder email prior to the session date.


In 2018, the Call In Sessions are scheduled on Thursdays at 10:00 AM as follows:  March 15th, April – no session due to Division AGM, May 17th, June 14th, July and August – no sessions for summer break, September 20th, October 18th, November 22nd and December 13th.



White Cane Week (WCW) 2018///

Article from the Comox Valley Record – Terry Farrell, Editor

Sent to all Black Press websites in BC


For 72 years, the first week in February has been “White Cane Week” in Canada.


This year, thanks in large part to the work of Comox resident Pat Chicquen, Feb. 4-10 will also be White Cane Week in the province of British Columbia.


Chicquen, the 2nd vice-president of the Canadian Council of the Blind, BC-Yukon Division, spearheaded the campaign to have the nationally-celebrated week recognized at the provincial level. She received word of the provincial decision by way of email last month, along with the official proclamation


The document, signed by BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, and Attorney General David Eby, reads in part:

“WHEREAS since 1946, the first full week of February has traditionally been ‘White Cane Week’ in Canada due to the initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind, and WHEREAS the objective of White Cane Week is to provide education and awareness of vision loss to British Columbians through a network of special events and hands-on demonstrations throughout the province, and–WHEREAS White Cane Week has evolved to reflect the changing situations of the blind community and has begun to emphasize equal capabilities and talents of people who are blind and partially sighted, and WHEREAS with the province’s aging population, all British Columbians need to be better informed about the effects of vision loss and to work towards creating more supportive, inclusive communities; NOW KNOW YE THAT, We do by these presents proclaim and declare February 4 to 10, 2018 shall be known as ‘White Cane Week’ in the Province of British Columbia.”


“We have never thought about pursuing this before,” said Chicquen, of her motivation to push for the provincial designation of White Cane Week. “So I had this idea do it and I started it… I just feel that people need to be better educated about the blind, and about sight loss in our country.

“Every day in our country, 135 people are pronounced legally blind, or blind.”


It is a steadily growing community, but Chicquen said there are steps that could be taken to prevent, or at least slow its growth.

“Optometrist visits are so important,” she said. “At least once a year, or once every two years. So many people say ‘why would I go to the optometrist; I can’t afford glasses.’ But can you afford glaucoma, or all those other things that are basically now arrestable? So many people say they can’t afford it, but they can afford 20 cups of coffee, or the other things that they do. Things like teeth can be replaced. Eyes can’t.”

Community chapters of the Canadian Council of the Blind are known as White Cane Clubs, of which there are 29 in the province.

The Comox Valley White Cane Club meets the first Tuesday of the month, at Berwick Comox Valley (1700 Comox Ave.).

“We are sitting at 41 (members) right now, and we have a couple more who are likely to join,” said Chicquen who is the president of the Comox Valley White Cane Club.


The next Comox Valley White Cane Club meeting is Feb. 6 at 1 p.m.





CCB 100 Mile House & District Chapter – Although a good media campaign took place during White Cane Week including the promotion of the provincial WCW Proclamation, the scheduled annual open house had to be postponed due to extreme cold tempatures and snow storms. The Chapter will be re-scheduling this event for early spring as it is never too late to promote WCW! – Submitted by Lori Fry


CCB Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired – Camp Bowen attended the White Cane Week event at Park Royal shopping centre. The event, which is always a great opportunity to connect with individuals and organizations within the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community, was a great success. Alex Jurgensen and Peg Mercer were at the Camp Bowen and AEBC table, where we offered information about our programs, Braille bookmarks, and our Braille puzzle books for sighted readers, the latter two by donation. It ran from 10 AM to 2:30 PM on Thursday, February 8 at the South mall section of Park Royal Shopping Centre in West Vancouver. All in all, it was a successful event with much networking being done between Camp Bowen, community members, and other organizations. – Submitted By The Camp Bowen Team


CCB Campbell River Chapter – We were at the Indoor Market on Saturday, February 3rd and 10th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm giving out info and talking to people. We had a Banner made for our White Cane Table and other Promos. Kelvin Adams suggested the idea and it turned out really well. It has a yellow background like our buttons, large white letters with a black outline, the words WHITE CANE Chapter in black smaller lettering. The banner includes lettering from the CCB letterhead and the two blue figures joining arms as well as the GTT lettering and the meaning of the letters. It is 6 feet long by about 2 feet high. – Submitted by Lorraine Welch


CCB Comox Valley Chapter – We had a great White Cane Week. We spent five days in malls talking to people and getting donations. We had draws for gift cards and a basket that were donated by local grocery stores. The best thing is we got two guest speakers and a new member.  Another plus is our club members get to know each other a lot better chatting to each other. Many thanks to our members that came out to help. – Submitted by Pat Chicquen


CCB Kamloops WC Chapter – February 6th, the Safeway manager on Fortune Drive and two staff members wore simulator glasses with 20/200 and 20/600 visual acuities. They used my white cane while wearing the glasses to shop in their own store which they thought they knew well. They experienced the clutter in the aisles and looking for products [they did this for 45 minutes]. Six members from the WCC were there to observe. The response from the manager and staff was very positive and we were invited to come back.


February 8th, White Cane Luncheon at Cottonwood Manor.  Our guest speaker was Lion Wanda who spoke on their Guide Dog program.  35 door prizes had been collected and given out at the luncheon.


February 9th, Myself and 3 WCC members visited two elementary schools. Children wore simulator glasses to experience different level of vision loss and white cane use, learned about Braille and learned about Goalball.  I also shared the 100 centennial of CNIB and beginning of CCB.   – Submitted by Les Nolin


CCB Penticton Chapter – This year we tried something different, we held a coffee party at a local care facility.  We gave information out and held a question and answer period.  It was well received and would consider doing this again. – Submitted by Irene Warlow


CCB Provincial Book Club – The Provincial Book Club had an information table this year on the Friday of White Cane Week.  I had help from the Kelowna Lioness, of whom I am a member.  We had balloons and a goodie basket for people to enter for free.  The lady who won it, took the balloons as well and was very happy with them.  We had a donations can, from which we received $21.00. I couldn’t have done it without the assistance of the Kelowna Lioness Club. – Submitted by Kathy Sanness


CCB Vancouver Arts and Culture Lovers Chapter-

On February 8 White Cane Week was celebrated for its 6th year in a row! Thanks to the help of Park Royal Shopping Centre, our vendors had a space to gather. This year we were offered a spot in the malls centre court area because our typical spot had a leak in the roof. This meant we had much more public exposure! We have been told by the mall administration that we will not be offered this location again, but you know me, I am going to gently push for it anyway…we will see what happens next year! We had great vendors and supporters again this year including:  The Canadian Council of the Blind, Get Together with Technology (CCB), Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired (CCB), Canadian Assistive Technology, Accessible Media Inc., VocalEye Descriptive Arts Society, BC Blind Sports, BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, CNIB, Canadian Braille Services, Alliance for the Equality of Blind Canadians, Leash of Hope, The North Shore Advisory Committee on Disability Issues,  Local Library Services, Capilano K9 Collars, Blind Beginnings, The Blind Beader and the Alliance for the Equality of Blind Canadians.


Yup, that is a lot! We had some fantastic volunteers on hand all day! White Spot donated us wraps, salads, fries and sodas. Loblaw’s City market donated us muffins, Danish’s, cookies and strudels…there was no shortage of food! And Second Cup donated us tea and coffee for the day. A BIG THANK YOU to all who came out and made this day such a success!


Two guests stood out for me and I wanted to share with you their stories. One lady came by asking for information on behalf of her 101 year old husband, a man who has had a stroke and is losing his eyesight to macular degeneration but otherwise seems to be in great health and spirits. His major complaint was that he could no longer read the time on a bedside clock. Angela, the wife, had searched high and low for something in the regular marketplace that had large and bold print with high contrast…but to no avail! When she found me I asked her if it was important for her husband to “see” the clock of if he would be interested in a clock he could “hear”. Well, Angela had never entertained that thought before nor did she know that talking clocks were so available. I took her over to receive a demonstration…a clock with a large push button that, when activated, spoke out the date and time. Angela was thrilled!!! She was so thankful and expressed to me that this was such a simple solution that she would have never found on her own. That made my day. Secondly was a mother and daughter. The mother, a woman in her eighties, lives in Surrey and the daughter in West Vancouver. When Shelly, the daughter, read our ad in the North Shore News, she arranged to bus out to Surrey, meet up with her mother and bus back to experience the event. I had a lovely conversation with them both – the mother is having a hard time adjusting to her changing eyesight but found a lot of useful implements that can make daily living just a little easier…and we all know what a big deal that actually is when you find something that achieves a basic result, like a liquid leveler so you can pour your coffee in the morning. Shelly and her mother visited every table and came back to me to share all the valuable information they received and loved being able to interact with the guide and service dogs…a rare occasion when that happens but an opportunity to educate the public on service dog etiquette. Shelly actually won the draw for the $100 Park Royal Gift Card, and she was thrilled. She even asked if we would be back the following day because she would be interested in coming back…this is actually a comment I get every year from at least one person. So we make a difference, even if we just reach one person who needs the resources that we are offering, it is worth all the organization, the expense and effort. As


you all may know, I arrange WCW by myself and not part of a chapter. When I started with CCB I was a solo and the mission to get resources to my local community about sight loss services was very personal, and still is. So I reached out to my community connections and put things together- thus the tradition continues in this manner and the mission and goal is still very personal to me.

Thank you to CCB for the financial support, it would not be possible to host such a large event without that. I hope you all found a unique way to celebrate White Cane Week – Submitted by Amy Amantea


A reminder to all chapters to take advantage of the Division’s WCW Subsidy and submit receipts for up to $100 to help offset the costs of your events. The deadline for submission of receipts’ is March 31, 2018. If you have any questions please contact Pat Chicquen at 250-339-3904 or  or the Division office.





CCB 100 Mile House & District chapter///

We are please to report that the Fall 2017 annual Diamond Raffle was yet another success. The South Cariboo is an extremely generous and supportive community and with the on-going leadership of our president Marilyn Vinson and the involvement of members, this chapter fundraiser has become rather iconic. The chapter also continues their fundraising partnership with the local Cedar Crest Society. For the past two and one half years, chapter members staff the local Thrift Store on Sundays and in return, the chapter receives all proceeds from Sunday sales. This has become a steady source of revenue; is social and fun; as well as a great platform to offer information and create awareness of vision loss to the general public on a regular basis. – Submitted by Lori Fry


CCB Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired///

2018 is barely three months old and spring is just around the corner but there are already several announcements from the team here at Camp Bowen we hope you will enjoy. In this edition of Happenings At Camp Bowen, find out how to get some tasty treats while supporting our programs, get details on our work on the Canadian Blindness Services project, find out about what we’re doing to support literacy of blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind Canadians, learn about a new way to keep up with our news, discover where the team was during White Cane Week, and read about our time at Bowfest, Bowen Island’s local community fair. Also in this edition we have some sponsors to recognize.



Easter will be here before you know it, bringing with it family get togethers, Easter egg hunts for the children, and, of course, lots and lots of chocolate. This year, it is also bringing an opportunity for you to get your fix of Purdy’s delicious chocolates while supporting programs benefiting blind, partially sighted, and deaf blind Canadians. Spring into Easter with both featured items for Easter and regular favourites such as: Easter baskets, Baby Bunnies, Bobbity Bunny – Milk Salted Toffees, Topsy Bunnies, Bunny Bags, Peanut Butter Eggs, Yolk Eggs, Caramel Eggs, Petit Pastels, Georgia Plushies, Jelly Beans, Sweet Georgia Browns, Hedgehogs, Easter Tins – and much more!


Purdy’s has been making chocolates in Vancouver since 1907, and it’s still where they craft all your favourites today. Purdy’s uses only the highest quality ingredients like Canadian dairy, crunchy nuts that are roasted in-house, and only 100% sustainable cocoa. On top of supporting the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired, every purchase you make helps improve the lives of cocoa farmers in rural communities. Easter is just around the corner and Purdy’s chocolates are great treats to offer your friends and family over supper, during an easter egg hunt, or just because. After all, who ever needed an excuse to eat chocolate?

Place your order online now! The link below will take you to our online campaign:

You pay the same as you’d pay in-store or online, and the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired gets 25% of sales.

You will need to register by entering your first name, last name, email address and creating a password. Once registered and logged in, you should be directed to the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired Easter Fundraiser Campaign page. From there you are able to: invite other members, shop online, and pay for your orders. Orders can be picked up at our three pickup locations: Vancouver, Surrey, and Bowen Island. Pickup will take place on the dates below. Please call +1 (604) 947-0021 before March 21, 2018 to arrange a pickup date, time, and location. You don’t pay for shipping!


Pickup Dates and locations:

Bowen Island:

Where: In front of the library

When: Thursday, March 22, 2018 from 3:15 to 6:45 PM (Call +1 (604) 947-0021 and press 2 to arrange a pickup time)



Where: 5737 180 St., Surrey, BC

When: Friday, March 23 to Thursday, March 29, 2018 (Call +1 (604) 947-0021 and press 2 to arrange a pickup time)



Where: 1720 West 12th Ave., Vancouver, BC

When: Friday, March 23 to Thursday, March 29, 2018 (Call +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 105 to arrange a pickup time)


Don’t miss the order deadline:  March 12th

We thank you in advance for your support of programs benefiting blind, partially sighted, and deaf blind Canadians.


Please feel free to call us at +1 (604) 947-0021 with any questions you may have about this fundraiser or our program offerings.

From all of us at Camp Bowen, have a happy Easter.


Introducing Canadian Blindness Services

The Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired welcomes Canadian Blindness Services to our family of projects. Canadian Blindness Services is designed to be a central and collaborative information exchange and services hub for individuals, families, organizations, and businesses participating within the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community in Canada. We believe that collaboration between those involved in the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community is important because together, we are stronger. We also understand the need to connect those who are blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind, as well as their families, with information and resources, and we seek to meet this need. This project can be found at

Canadian Blindness Services is still in the beginning stages. As always, your feedback is welcome. Feel free to contact Canadian Blindness Services via the contact us link on the project’s website.


Camp Bowen Books Project Launches on World Braille Day

“Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us if we [the blind] are not to go on being despised or patronized by condescending sighted people. We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals – and communication is the way this can be brought about.”


Louis Braille

209 years ago, Louis Braille was born in Coupvray, France. He would later go on to develop Braille, the reading and writing system widely in use by blind people today. It is in his honour that World Braille Day is celebrated. It falls each year on January 4, commemorating his birthday.


We are very pleased to be announcing our contribution to the literacy of blind, partially sighted, and deaf blind readers. The project launched last month on World Braille Day and we’re very pleased to be able to share it with you now in this newsletter. So, without further ado, here it is, adapted from our original announcement.


It is with great excitement that we announce that the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired has now been made a publisher of accessible books by Library and Archives Canada as part of the new Camp Bowen Books Project. The project compliments our summer camps and training initiatives and will not be taking resources away from either. The Camp Bowen Books project aims to produce books in a variety of accessible formats including electronic text, audio, Braille, and others. We don’t plan to stop at the production of accessible books, though. We want to get them into the hands of as many people as possible. To that end we will be offering the books we produce to the public library system and through our website so that they can be enjoyed by readers everywhere, sighted or not. To find out more about the project, visit the “books” tab of the Camp Bowen website.

Like with most things we do at Camp Bowen, volunteers are central. If you would like to volunteer to become a book producer, audio narrator, proof reader, or have another idea on how you can help, please get in touch via the contact page on our website.

We look forward to making this world a more accessible place and doing our part to close the gap between inaccessible and accessible books. We sincerely hope you will join us on this exciting journey.


Introducing the Camp Bowen Newsline

We are pleased to introduce the Camp Bowen newsline, a new way to access Camp Bowen news via our telephone system. From now on, all articles on the website will also be available in an audio format by calling either +1 (604) 947-0021 or +1 (844) MYBOWEN (692-6936) and pressing 1. We hope you will find this feature useful. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us.


Camp Bowen at Bowfest 2017

The Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired was at Bowfest on Bowen Island on Saturday, August 26. Peg, Jessica, Jocelyn, and Alex were on site to run our two booths and interact with the Bowen Island community. At one booth, the society sold Braille puzzle books that challenged sighted people to decode the Braille messages. We also sold customized Braille bookmarks. At our other booth, Bowfest attendees had a chance to try Showdown, a sport for the blind similar to air hockey and table tennis, that was developed right here in BC by two blind men. Thanks to the Bowfest committee and all the volunteers who helped make the day a success. We look forward to returning next year.





Supporter Spotlight

In this month’s Supporter Spotlight, we would like to recognize the following:


– The Royal Canadian Legion Cloverdale Branch #6 for their monetary contribution

– Digitally Hip Corporation, David McCullum, and Emily Erickson McCullum for their dedication and financial assistance in acquiring local Bowen Island phone numbers

– The Bowfest organizers for their continued generosity and support.


Our supporters are the only reason we are able to continue offering the kinds of programs we do. If you would like to make a contribution by cheque, money order, or online, please visit the below link for instructions.


As always, if you would like to know more information about Camp Bowen or our various projects, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. WE can be reached by phone at +1 (604) 947-0021 or +1 (844) MYBOWEN (692-6936). Alternately, we can be reached by any of the methods at:

Submitted by The Camp Bowen Team


CCB Dogwood Coquitlam Chapter///

Just a short note about the success of one of our volunteers, Kiyo Breitting, in bringing blind tennis to the Lower Mainland. Blind tennis was first started in 1984 in Japan. It uses a regular tennis ball with a rattler core that makes a sound when it hits the ground. Although the size of the racquet remains constant the length of the handle is shorter and is based on your degree of vision loss. The ultimate goal is for a partially sighted person to hit the ball on two bounces while a totally blind person is allowed three bounces. Kiyo has been working with our Dogwood group the last year offering us blind tennis as another form of activity other than table bowling. She recently made contact with BC Blind Sports who in co operation with Parks and Rec for the City of Coquitlam has set up a weekly session on Monday from 4:30 to 6 at Pinetree Community Centre. This location is easily accessible by skytrain. Should this sound like something you would like to try please contact BC Blind Sports or our Dogwood Club at . – Submitted by Pat Roy


CCB Kelowna Blind Curlers Chapter///


Team Canada based out of Kelowna was successful in defending the Canadian vision Impaired championship that was won last February, 2017.  The team was made up of skip Donna Loewen, third Frank Costello, second Brian Lechelt, lead Bill Mah, sweeper Kent Stewart, on ice guide Dan Martell and coach Carol McAstocker.  Team Canada had a record of 4 and 2 after the round robin portion of the tournament.  Alberta also had a record of 4 and 2.  We got the bye to the finals based on the fact that we beat Alberta in the round robin portion of the spiel. We played team Ontario in the final and won 6 4.


The competition was keen as Alberta and BC tied with a record of 4 and 2 and no less then 4 other teams had records of 3 and 3 which required tie breakers to decide who would play in the semifinals.  Bill Mah of team Canada made the all-star team as lead.


The weather in our nation’s capital was cold but the hospitality was warm. Our thanks go out to the committee and volunteers for a very successful bonspiel. – submitted by Bill Mah


CCB Penticton Chapter///

The Chapter Christmas party was held in December 2017 with a gift exchange, everyone enjoyed themselves and the plentiful good food. The chapter will hold a volunteer lunch in April to celebrate volunteer month.  – Submitted by Irene Warlow


CCB Provincial Book Club Chapter///

The CCB, BC-Yukon Division Book Club is always seeking additional members, so if you’re interested in joining the Book Club please contact Kathy Sanness or Albert Ruel directly.  Contact info is found at the bottom of this article.


The following is a list of books the group decided to undertake over the coming months.


March 24th: Deadly safari, Author: McQuillan, Karin.;

April 28th: The Orenda, Author: Boyden, Joseph

May 26th: From This Moment On, Author: Twain, Shania.;

June 23rd: Mandala, Author: Buck, Pearl S.; (Pearl Sydenstricker);


Other books discussed were:

The Twelfth Mile, Author: Perrault, Ernest G.;

The Child Finder, Author: Denfeld, Rene.;

Wenjack, Born with a tooth, Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, Through black spruce and Three day road, Author: Boyden, Joseph;

Elephants Graveyard, Author: McQuillan, Karin.;

A brief history of time: from the big bang to black holes, Author: Hawking, S. W.; (Stephen W.) Carl Sagan;

The Immortalists, Author: Benjamin, Chloe;

Wicked Intentions, Maiden Lane Series, Author: Hoyt, Elizabeth.


For those who RSVP to join the Book Club monthly conference call, Kathy will circulate the toll free number and call-in code.

The meeting takes place from 9:00 to 10:00 AM Pacific Time on the 4th Saturday of each month.


For further information contact:

Kathy Sanness, President at 778-484-2298 or

Albert Ruel, Secretary at 250-240-2343 or


VocalEye Descriptive Arts Society:///

As you may remember, VocalEye was a CCB chapter but last year we grew so large that we needed to apply for our own charitable status. We found ourselves writing so many tax receipts, many of them very small, but the paperwork was getting very complicated and so we started the application process.


VocalEye has transitioned its members to a chapter by a new name, The Vancouver Arts and Culture Lovers Chapter. This means we can now focus on just social activities and our members get together to see accessible arts and cultural events throughout the metro Vancouver area and usually tag on a social lunch or dinner is possible. The good news is that VocalEye has now been approved as a charity and our new Registered Charity Number: 80166 6702 RR0001. We will send tax receipts for ANY amount that is donated so we hope that you will consider us when making your charitable contributions.


Coming up this spring, VocalEye will be describing the following shows. As always, you can visit their website for full show details and how to take advantage of the Theatre Buddy Program (sighted guide assistance from a transit meet up location to the theatre venue and back), as well as the Ticket Access Program. We were donated $1000 to help people with sight loss who may have financial barriers to going to the theatre. The TAP is a pilot project only available in Vancouver, at this time, and will help subsidize the cost of a ticket for one patron with sight loss and one companion ticket.  Sign up is easy and discrete and all the details are available at (



“Onegin”Described on Saturday March 3, 2018 at 4 pm at the Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88 Avenue, Surrey | 604-501-5566 |,+Surrey,+BC+V3W+3L1/@49.1626,-122.841187,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x5485d9ec7129e19f:0xd64032af83d69f8bThe Arts Club on Tour comes to Surrey.  Tickets are $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. (eligable for TAP)Please call the Box Office to purchase at 604-501-5566. Described by Rick Waines


Pronounced “oh-Nyay-gun” and the winner of ten Jessie Richardson theatre awards, this lush, passionate and acclaimed new musical about trying not to fall in love is based on the famous Russian poem by Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky. When Onegin, a dashing but jaded aristocrat from St. Petersburg, inherits his uncle’s estate in the country, his arrival sets hearts afire and stirs the embers of jealousy. Even the reclusive young Tatyana falls hopelessly under the spell of the aloof Onegin, and professes her love for him. Will playing with lonely Russian hearts reap heartbreak or romance?



Described on Saturday March 17 at 8 pm and Saturday March 24 at 8 pm at Presentation House, 333 Chesterfield Avenue, North Vancouver Tickets are priced at $20 for VocalEye users with Promo Code SEQ2018. Please call 604-990-3474 to purchase. VocalEye’s new Ticket Access Program provides rebates for those in financial need. Please contact for details. Running time is 80 minutes, no intermission. Described by Eileen Barrett


We are always thrilled to partner with Realwheels, but especially so on this production, which stars our very own Amy Amantea playing the role of Dr. Guzman, a research professor who is legally blind. Congratulations, Amy! We can’t wait to describe your performance and this exciting production!


Sequence, an award-winning thriller written by Canadian playwright (and eye surgeon) Arun Larka, explores the interplay between logic and metaphysics, science and faith, luck and probability, determinism and free will through two narratives that intertwine like a fragment of DNA.


A professor confronts a student who has defied probability by taking a multiple-choice exam, only to get every answer – 150 of them – wrong (the probability of achieving this result is one in a pentillion). Meanwhile, the “Luckiest Man Alive” – his status cemented by his uncanny ability to predict the winner of the Super Bowl coin toss for 20 years running – is confronted by a young woman who claims to know his secret.


What’s up with Amy Amantea and The Blind Beader?///

I couldn’t miss the opportunity to share with you all what I have been up to. If you just read the VocalEye blurb, you will have noticed that I have been cast in a professional theatre production, yup I am now officially a PAID actor!


I have been in full time rehearsals since February 1st and they have been very intense!


What is so great about the Realwheels Theatre Production is that they have hired a blind actor to play a blind character. Realwheels has a mandate to deepen the audience’s experience of the lived experience of disability – they do this through community productions, which are volunteer (I just did Comedy on Wheels in May 2017 – a fantastic production with 3 sold out performances on Granville Island)


Now I am back in this science thriller playing a genetics professor that is losing her eyesight to RP (retinitis pigmentosa). It is a four character play and my direct scene partner is a person who lives with Autism.


Here’s the funny thing. The 80  minute show has a 70 page script…since I had to blow mine up to ARIEL font, BOLD, SIZE 38 – my script is contained in a 4 inch binder and has 300+ pages.

So, the show runs from March 14-24 and VocalEye is describing 2 performances (see above for dates) and a meet up location from Lonsdale Quay Sea Bus station, the theatre is a 10 min. walk or a short bus ride and you can travel in a group.


Tickets are extra discounted for those with sight loss as a courtesy to me and my fellow community members!


I really hope you will come out and be entertained! Here is a link to the website for more details, you may have to copy/paste into your browser:


And YES!!I will be attending this year’s CCB AGM in April – and I will be bringing BIG RED (as requested) with all The Blind Beader’s creations. I am looking forward to seeing many familiar faces and meeting some new ones! – Submitted by Amy Amantea


CCB Get Together with Technology (GTT) Corner///

Apple Accessibility Support, Google Disability Email Address and the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk


We all need a little help from time to time, and with our modern devices it’s even more frequent some days.  So, when you get into trouble, or you just can’t figure something out with your iPhone/iPad/iPod/Mac computer, and if you’re an assistive software user below is the number to call.


Secondly, for those who use Android phones, or any other Google product with assistive software you can reach out to their Google Disability Support Desk by email only at the address provided below.


Thirdly, if you use a PC computer with assistive software you can call the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for expert help and guidance.


Apple Accessibility Support


Microsoft Disability Answer Desk


Google Disability Support, no phone number available:


Get Together with Technology Contacts:

For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:

Albert Ruel





Kim Kilpatrick




Donna’s Low Tech Tips

Submitted to CCB’s Get Together with Technology Blog

No need to be afraid of technology

I am Donna Jodhan, and through the CCB’s Get Together with Technology initiative I will circulate weekly into your inbox tips on how you might overcome some of your technology fears.  This is my first blog submission and I thank the GTT Team for giving me this opportunity.


Many of us did not grow up in the era of technology and it is probably why some of us are so hesitant when it comes to interacting with it.  For me, I am somewhere in between and it never ceases to amaze me how much technology can change our lives.  From the most basic of technology to the most sophisticated; it does not really matter.


I want to talk about some of the most basic technology in my blogs and I’ll start with a handy little gadget called:

“Talk to the Wilson” version 6.


This state-of-the-art digital voice recorder is simple to use. Record up to 12 hours of voice messages.

Note: Not Available with Quota Funds


Features:- NEW for Version 6:

  • Check Message
  • Message Management System
  • LP/SP switch for Long Play or Standard Play (shorter recording time, better sound quality).
  • When memory is full, the oldest recorded message is automatically deleted
  • Will store multiple messages
  • Easy to add or delete messages
  • Clips to your belt, visor, or purse
  • Ear piece (mono)
  • Use to Record:  Phone numbers, Addresses, Shopping Lists, Reminders, To-do lists, Notes, Appointments, Messages, Lectures, Directions, Audio instructions and much more!
  • Measures 2 x 3 x 0.5 inches.
  • Requires 2 AAA batteries (not included).
  • Note: Not compatible with Windows 8.
  • The Wilson digital recorder is not related to the Wilson Reading System product.
  • Downloadable Manual: The Wilson instructions are available free-of-charge as a text file on our downloadable manuals page. We do not sell the manual separately. Please visit :


The Wilson Digital Voice Recorder, Version 6

Catalogue Number: 1-03993-04

Price:    $39.95

Ordering page:,%20Version%206_36594896P_10001_11051


So have fun now with the Talk to the Wilson recorder and see you next week.


Donna’s CCB Mysteries Chapter:

If you would like to become a member of my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to either of the following libraries.


Recipes –


Audio mysteries for all ages –


Or you can subscribe to both for the price of $20 annually.




Credit Card Scam in a Hotel:///

This is a smart scam; beware! You arrive at your hotel and check in at the front desk. Typically when checking in, you give the front desk your credit card (for any charges to your room) and they do not retain your card. You go to your room and settle in. All is good. The hotel receives a call and the caller asks for (as an example) room 120 – which happens to be your room. The phone rings in your room. You answer and the person on the other end says the following “This is the front desk. When checking in, we came across a problem with your credit card information. Please re-read me your credit card numbers and verify the 3 digit numbers on the reverse side of your card.


Not thinking anything wrong, since the call seems to come from the front desk you oblige. But actually, it is a scam by someone calling from outside the hotel. They have asked for a random room number, then ask you for your credit card and sometimes other information. They sound so professional, that you think you are talking to the front desk. If you ever encounter this scenario on your travels, tell the caller that you will be down to the front desk to clear up any problems. Then, go to the front desk or call the front desk directly and ask if there was a problem. If there was none, inform the hotel manager that someone tried to scam you of your credit card information, acting like a front desk employee. Always protect your private information.


Capilano K9 Collars:///

My friend Jean Chambers has been with her service dog, Annie, for about four years. Annie has changed Jeans life. Jean has a genetic disorder that is degenerative – similar to ALS but it affects the lower half of her body. As jean started to walk slower and the movement of her lower limbs became more argues, she decided to apply for a dog.  It wasn’t long after that that Jean decided to pull out her old sewing machine and create some festive collars for Annie…She had a Canucks one, as they love to watch the game together, cupcakes, musical notes, Christmas bulbs…you name it! Then one Christmas she made on for a friend who had a guide dog and learned that guide gods utilize a special correction style collar called a martingale. Instead of a plastic buckle attachment, the martingale is attached with a length of chain that is used for correction but doesn’t choke the dog. So, Jean created a special collar for guide dog handlers. Jean has discovered a passion for creating dog collars of all sizes and patterns.


What a great custom gift! So the next time you are in the market for a unique gift for your pooch or friend of a pooch, contact Jean!

Jean Chambers – 604-281-1987 or

– Submitted by Amy Amantea




Letter to the Editor///

An opportunity for readers to provide feedback on newsletter articles or express concerns or opinions pertaining to current barriers and related issues encountered on a daily basis.


As you will see, the following advocacy efforts created a positive outcome.


Delta Airlines proposed new policy – Submitted by Bill Conway

Deltas proposed new policy in a nut shell:

……all Guide & Service Dog users must seek permission 48 hours prior to flight departure.

…all Guide & Service Dogs users will no longer be permitted to use curb check-in convenience

…all Guide & Service Dog users must fill out a form 48 hours prior to flight departure

…Delta indicates this is due to fake dog teams.

My Opinion:  On January 29, 1929, Morris Franks opened the doors of The Seeing Eye Inc., now located in Morristown New Jersey, and started the pathway of independence for the visually impaired citizens of the United States.  The first Canadian Seeing Eye Guide Dog team was in 1932 and they lived in Thunder Bay Ontario.

Morris advocated and broke down barriers so all Guide Dog teams can travel on trains, boats and airplanes, independently and without permission.  He ensured that the ground breaking work was done at the beginning, so the future can follow a simple path of direction. Never once since that time and even up to now, has a Guide Dog user ever had to ask permission to travel on any mode of transportation.

Delta is indicating that the new proposed policy is due to the increase of ‘FAKE GUIDE & SERVICE DOGS’ and some of these dog teams become unruly on their airline.

To me, whenever traveling, to a provincial, national, or international destination, I travel with my personal identification along with my Guide Dog’s identification. My Dog’s identification consist of, my school’s student identification card…that has schools name and has the IGDF certification logo stamp.  I also have a letter from my vet indicating up-to-date medical information.

This is what all Guide Dog teams should carry and should not be require in filling out a permission slip.  This way when checking through the system, at the airport, you can easily produce information that can be checked via a computer.  The computer could only confirm that the school identification you hold is a credit and certified school.


To stop all these fake dogs we can start with the following;

…protest all of the Webb sites that sell dog equipment and accessories that make fake dogs possible.  ….Let Amazon and EBay know of your displeasure of these Webb sites and the damage it is given to certified Guide & Service Dog teams.


I am still left with some questions;

…Why does Delta Airlines wish to travel backwards instead of just asking some simple questions at any of passengers check in points?

…When have you heard of anyone seeking permission to ride on a plane?

…Did the terrorist seek permission before they boarded the planes in 2001




Outcome to the above Advocacy efforts

Dear fellow Seeing Eye graduate, As many of you already know, Delta Air Lines announced changes to their policy for service and emotional support animals to go into effect on March 1st. They received a lot of criticism and based on that feedback, have changed some parts of the new policy.


Under the revised policy, still scheduled to go into effect on March 1st, passengers with service animals will no longer be required to complete the check-in process at a Delta ticket counter. Instead, passengers will once again have the option of checking in electronically, at a kiosk or at curb side. Also, advance notice is no longer mandatory so you will be able to travel on short notice or transfer from another airline to Delta without restriction. However, Delta’s new policy for service animals still requires you to “travel with the animal’s Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization record or other proof of vaccination.”


One way to help the process go more smoothly is to immediately identify your dog as a service animal that has been specially bred and trained to mitigate your disability. Also, be sure that you understand your rights, and if you are prohibited from checking in online, at a kiosk, or at curb side, immediately ask to speak with a CRO (Complaint Resolution Official). You can read more about your rights at:–legal-information/airlines-and-cruise-ships.html


Please call The Seeing Eye at 973-539-4425 or email if you experience problems on your Delta flight. This will help us track any ongoing issues.


In closing, many thanks to those of you who responded to the call for action against Delta’s initial policy. For much of his life, Seeing Eye co-founder Morris Frank tirelessly advocated for the rights of people who are blind to travel by air without the need for special permission, but simply as he put it, “as blessedly ordinary passengers.” Everyone here at The Seeing Eye salutes you for

personifying the pioneering spirit and determination of Morris Frank and other early advocates of the guide dog movement.


Here are some helpful resources for your next Delta flight.

Delta’s accessibility assistance line: 404-209-3434

Delta – Service and Support Animals: needs/service-animals.html



Ginger Bennett Kutsch

Advocacy Specialist

The Seeing Eye, Inc.

Morristown, New Jersey

(973) 539-4425




Humanware, Explore 5 Electronic Magnifier


–  Size 6.5”x4”

– Automatic light

– Up to 22x magnification adjustments

– Has rechargeable battery and power chord-

– Variety of colour adjustments-

– Stands on it own or hand held

–  Freeze frame capabilities

– 7 months old

– Reason for sale – can no longer use it

– Brand new $800

– Asking Price $500.

– Call Monica 604 701 9869


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

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 –

Linda Hall, Director – 250-376-4900 –

Kathy Sanness, Director – 778-484-2298 –


CCB Newsletters: Visions, February 2018 Canadian Council of the Blind National Newsletter






Canadian Council of the Blind Newsletter





February 2018








“A lack of sight is not a lack of vision”

Photo by Tai Jyun Chang on Unsplash





President’s Message++

As you receive this message everyone will be busy working on White Cane Week events. The fact we live in Canada with very changeable weather it is difficult for some events to take place on their scheduled day so please don’t let that deter you. This is one week that we place emphasis on our “ABILITIES not disabilities” which we live with all year and so should our events.


As persons living with vision loss we are capable of great accomplishments. Some of us are not as able as others, and that is when we can offer support and guidance to assist those in need in reaching their goals. Programs such as GTT and CCB Health & Fitness are great examples of this type of peer support and mentoring, while at the same time learning new technology, exercise, eating better and therefore leading a much happier life. When the community sees people with vision loss becoming more active it often encourages them to improve their lifestyle.


CCB is very active with many other organizations across Canada and internationally as I have mentioned before. We will continue working with these groups for some time well into the future.

One of the major undertakings for this year will be to ensure our By Laws are in compliance with the Canada Not for Profit Act. Our committee will be busy reviewing and getting the changes made as needed with input from the membership.

As we begin this New Year we will work together in a positive way to make Canada a more accessible country for everyone. In August the IFA 14th Global Convention on Ageing will be held in Canada. CCB will be presenting a paper on Eye Health and the importance of eye exams/care which is an important example of working with other groups to improve care and prevent illness – all part of our mandate.


Enjoy the many articles of interest in this edition of the CCB Newsletter.

Louise Gillis, National President


The New Newsletter++

Welcome to VISIONS our exciting new newsletter.  I’m sure you’ve noticed this has a very different layout to what we were doing before.  We are now accepting pictures with your article submissions.  Not all pictures will be published in the newsletter, but they are very welcome.  If you do submit pictures, please let us know who is in them so we can have accurate alt text and captions.  The headings in word will be done the same as they have been recently to make everything as readable as possible.  Word and pdf versions will be emailed out and on our website.  Thank you all for your help as we move forward with this beautiful new format.


It’s time to have your say++

On March 10, 2018 the Tele Town Hall organizing team will be hosting its fifth and final Tele Town Hall. Like the previous four; this will be open to participants across Canada.



Date and start times across Canada

Date: March 10, 2018


Times: 10:00 am Pacific

11:00 am Mountain

Noon Central

1:00 pm Eastern

2:00 pm Atlantic

2:30 in Newfoundland

This meeting will last no longer than two hours.

Moderator: Jane Blaine.



In the summer of 2016, we the Tele Town Hall organizing team embarked on a journey to facilitate a number of Tele Town Halls across Canada with the mission to give participants an opportunity to share their views on a variety of topics related to the current state of blindness rehabilitation and consumerism in Canada.

As a non-biased team, we felt strongly that we were in a position to facilitate these Town Halls and at the end of it all to present a report to participants and other stakeholders.

Let’s get it out there

Our first two Tele Town Halls held at the end of October 2016 and in early March 2017 invited participants to share their views on the following:

* The present state of the consumer movement in Canada

* What if anything should we be doing to affect change

* What would be a logical and reasonable path to pursue if change was desired?

* Who could be involved?

* How could this be accomplished and

* What mechanisms could be used in order to accomplish this?



Advocacy without borders

Our third Tele Town Hall held in October 2017 gave participants an opportunity to hear about how rehabilitation services and consumer movements operate in New Zealand and Australia thanks to two guest speakers who shared their views with us.

They were Martine Abel Williamson; treasurer of the World Blind Union and well known advocate from New Zealand and Fran Cutler; a well-known advocate who works both in Australia and Canada splitting her time equally between both countries.

Our fourth Tele Town Hall held in November 2017 gave participants an opportunity to hear from guest speakers from the United States.  In similar fashion to our third Tele Town Hall; we featured high profile speakers who shared their views on the state of rehabilitation services and consumer movements in the United States.

They were Mitch Pomerantz; A past president of the American Council of the Blind and an active advocate in the development of the Americans with disabilities Act, and John Panarese; a well-known trainer in Apple products and an active advocate in helping others to gain equal access to training opportunities.



Now it is time to have your final say in this series

The fifth and final Tele Town Hall will give participants an opportunity to have their say and in so doing to help shape the future of our consumer advocacy movement in Canada.  Based on comments and suggestions garnered from previous Tele Town Halls, many participants do not believe that living with the status quo is a viable option.  Accordingly, we would like to preface the discussions of this final Tele Town Hall with a list of questions meant to help you formulate some thoughts before attending.  Also, reading the notes taken during the previous 4 Tele Town Hall meetings might help us all chart a path, and those links are found below our list of “thought provoking” questions.





Question one:

How well do current blindness/low vision rehabilitation service organizations in Canada serve your needs, or how do they not serve your needs as the case may be?

Question two:

How well do current blindness/low vision advocacy/social/support organizations in Canada serve your needs, or how are they not serving your needs as the case may be?  IE, are you personally happy with the existing consumer advocacy and support movements in Canada?

Question three:

If not, what will make them more responsive to blind Canadians needs, and flexible enough to move with emerging societal demands

Question four:

What strategies are required if we’re to strengthen the voice of blind Canadians with Governments, employers and communities?  IE, do blind Canadians need one single strong voice in order to advance our needs?

Question five:

What strategies can blind Canadians employ to amplify their voices in order to be better heard within Canadian organizations “of” and “for” the blind?  IE, do blind Canadians want to be more involved in driving the organizations that provide rehabilitation services in Canada?


All Four Sets of Tele Town Hall Notes can be downloaded from:

October 29, 2016, download here.

March 4, 2017, download here.

October 14, 2017, download here.

November 18, 2017, download here.


To register as a participant please email

And you will receive an acknowledgment of your email.

An electronic copy of the rules of engagement will be sent to you during the week of March 04.

We thank you!



Donna Jodhan, Richard Marion, Robin East, Anthony Tibbs, Albert Ruel, Louise Gillis, Pat Seed, Jane Blaine, Melanie Marsden, Kim Kilpatrick, Leo Bissonnette, Paul Edwards


White Cane Week++

Get ready for another fun and exciting awareness week from February 4 to 10. Events include our annual AMI Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championship and countless local activities. Please visit the CCB website to keep yourself updated on the many exciting events that will be taking place this year across the country. And stay tuned for reports on events in upcoming newsletters!



CCB Celebrates its 15th Annual White Cane Week++

This year marks the CCB’s 15th annual celebration of White Cane Week (WCW). Each year, during the first full week of February, the Council recognizes the ability of Canadians who are blind or have low vision through a week long, national celebration. This celebration, WCW, aims to bring awareness and an appreciation to issues of accessibility, health and inclusion.

Across Canada, there are WCW initiatives on both the local, provincial and national levels. CCB Divisions and Chapters plan, promote and deliver WCW event activities within their communities.  There are sports competitions, hands-on demonstrations, open houses, an Expo and tours, amongst other events, taking place to promote and raise awareness of the White Cane as a symbol of “ability not disability”. Each event is unique to the chapter and community where it is being held. Each is built around a framework of promoting chapter activities, membership, and to raise awareness of the chapter, the CCB and its programs within these local communities.




Some White Cane Week Highlights: February 4-10, 2018


CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter Holds 3rd Annual ‘Experience’ Expo:

This year’s, ‘Experience’ Expo is being held, from 10am to 4pm, on Saturday February 3, at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, at Bloor and Spadina, in downtown Toronto. Improving on last year’s event, ‘Experience’ Expo 2018 is already an incredible success, with sold out floor space and a 35% increase in exhibitors.


‘Experience’ Expo is in its third year and is Canada’s only expo dedicated to the blind and those with vision loss.  A hands-on, interactive exposition in which exhibitors share their ‘experience’, providing creative, adoptive solutions to all aspects of life with vision loss. Through interactive demonstrations and activities, visitors can ‘experience’ new ways to overcome barriers, gain independence and live a full rich life. So come out to ‘Experience’ Expo and explore the possibilities.

Please visit our website at

CCB’s AMI Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championship; (CVICC)

This National Championship takes place each year in Ottawa, at the historic Ottawa Curling Club. The curling event brings together teams, from coast to coast, for the 5 day, tournament.  The CVICC runs Monday through Friday of WCW.  The Championship final will take place at 1:00pm, Friday February 9th followed by closing ceremonies by way of the CVICC Awards Banquet that evening. Here participating curlers are recognized, as champions, as all-stars and are rewarded with their hard fought and well-earned medals.

3 Brian Lechelt from Team Canada (Kelowna) throws his rock while Team Ontario watches

CCB 2018 Person of the Year Award Recipient:

The Canadian Council of the Blind is extremely pleased to announce its 2018 Person of the Year is the Honourable Dr. Asha Seth. The retired Senator, Dr. Seth will receive her Award on Friday, February 9th at the Councils award dinner at the Ottawa Curling Club.


The honourable Dr. Seth is a visionary leader, trail blazing a path for many to emulate. Through it all, it is her commitment to helping others that shines brightest among her accomplishments. Please refer to the full story in White Cane Magazine available, in digital form, on the CCB website at

CCB 2018 President’s Award Recipient:

The Canadian Council of the Blind’s President’s award is given annually to an individual or organization that, in their work or service, with or for the blind and partially sighted, have made a real; difference in improving the quality of life of our community in Canada.


This year’s recipient is the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) in recognition of its hard work on behalf of patient advocacy.  Dr. Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the IFA, will attend the awards dinner, at the Ottawa Curling Club, on Friday February 9th and receive the President’s Award, on behalf of the Federation. The full story can be found in White Cane Magazine available, in digital form, on the CCB website at









GTT Prince Edward Island Meeting Invitation, General Discussion and Brainstorming Session, February 28, 2018++




You are invited!  Blind and low vision GTT participants meet monthly to learn about and share their experiences using assistive technologies in their daily lives at home, school, or at work.


Agenda for the first Prince Edward Island Conference Call GTT Meeting:

Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Prince Edward Island Time.

Location: CCB Toll Free Conference Number.

Call-in Information:


Passcode is 5670311#

Smart Phone users can tap on the below number to have the passcode dialed automatically following the toll free number:

1-866-740-1260, 5670311#


Theme: •Brainstorming for the first, and future meetings of GTT and the CCB Assistive Technology Program on Prince Edward Island.

  • Albert Ruel and Sandra Poirier will lead a brainstorming session regarding future content and format for GTT Newfoundland meetings


Some are curious about the kinds of topics or technologies that may be discussed in future meetings. Here are a few potential topics:

  1. Talking books, talking book machines and accessible Libraries: How do I get started; where do I ask my questions; what do I do to find books I will like?
  2. What types of magnification technology will help me access vital text in my home?
  3. How can we who are living with Low and no vision get access to vital information?
  4. Smart phones, which one is best, how much are they and who will help me learn how to use one?
  5. Is a computer actually needed in my life, and if so who’s going to help me pick one out or learn how to use it?
  6. Is the internet a safe place to get information I need?
  7. Hey Google, Alexa, what are these smart speakers we keep hearing about, is that something I need or want?





Who Should Attend:

Any blind or low vision person who is interested in learning how assistive technologies can help them lead more independent lives.

  • Anyone interested in contributing to the future of the Prince Edward Island GTT group by sharing ideas for future meetings to discuss other blind or low vision assistive devices.


For More Information contact:

Sandra Poirier : or Albert Ruel






Inclusion – There’s an App for That!

New Technology Improves Interior Navigation for Everyone++


Vancouver, BC, February 9, 2018.


As part of CCB White Cane Week and in collaboration with the Vancouver Central Library, Right-Hear Accessible Solutions from Israel and Canadian Assistive Technology, the CCB and Gateway Navigation CCC Limited are pleased to present the first indoor audio navigation experience of its kind in Canada. Corry Stuive, representing the CCB and advisor for the Beacon Navigation Project, explains, “Accessibility and inclusion is not just about putting braille on signs, but giving the blind the equal opportunity to hear the information in the same way a sighted person can read them.  This technology creates real inclusion and independence.”


Steve Barclay, President, Canadian Assistive Technology, describes how the BLE (Bluetooth low energy) beacon was deployed at the Vancouver Central Library, “We placed nine of these beacons at decision-making points such as entrances, stairs and elevators around the Vancouver Central Library.  This created nine accessibility zones that provide orientation information. The technology builds an audio road map that any individual with a smartphone and the free Right-Hear app can use to orientate themselves to their immediate surroundings and assist them in navigating the indoor venue independently.  The service can be accessed in multiple languages.” Right-Hear


Jim Taggart, Director of Gateway and advocate for social sustainability within the architectural profession, summarizes the Project’s focus, “We are dedicated to improving the accessibility of interior spaces for members of the blind and visually impaired community in Canada. Just as smart phone-based GPS has made exterior navigation easier for everyone, so Gateway imagines a wireless, technology-based network that will make complex buildings, such as airports, transit hubs, shopping malls and public buildings accessible to all those who cannot read signage or interpret other wayfinding cues.”


Mike May, recently appointed Executive Director at Envision, Inc., will be adding his vast experience and knowledge to the panel to discuss the importance of creating accessible and inclusive smart cities. The American Foundation for the Blind recognizes Mike’s past and current contributions as a pioneer and leader in the accessible technology sector.  Mike describes one of his current projects at Envision, Inc., “One of the many exciting projects being undertaken by Envision is using proximity beacons to create smart and accessible bus stops. This will help to connect people with real-time digital technology supported by location based services that will assist all commuters, including blind or visually impaired to travel safely and independently.”

David Brun, Founder Gateway Navigation CCC Limited, reflects, “Working in banking for twenty-years and a life time adjusting to sight loss has reinforced to me the importance of accessibility, inclusion, training and employment so that visually impaired people can fully engage in our society.  That has become both Gateway’s mission and its passion.  Over the last several years, Gateway has participated in discussions with many individuals and organizations to implement the proximity beacon technology into public buildings and spaces in Canada.  We are extremely excited to be launching the Beacon Navigation Project in Vancouver and are committed to promoting accessibility, inclusion, training and employment for blind and disabled people.” For more information visit


Beacon Navigation Project




Albert Ruel, CCB

Toll Free Tel: 1-877-304-0968 Ext. 550


David Brun, Gateway Navigation CCC Limited

Tel: 604-499-4818.



CCB Access & Awareness NS Chapter – Three Members Receive Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards++

On December 8, 2017, Access & Awareness NS Chapter members, Barry Abbott, Barbara Legay (posthumously) and Chapter Chair Pat Gates, who were three members of a group of approximately 20 people with disabilities, were presented with Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards at a celebration held in Halifax. They were part of a group called the “Bill 59 Community Alliance” which worked closely with the provincial government to bring about accessibility legislation for all Nova Scotians. Bill 59: “An Accessibility Act” was proclaimed in September 2017 after several months of hard work by all involved. Nova Scotia is proud to be the third province in Canada to have accessibility legislation and our Chapter is proud to have three of our members play a role in bringing this legislation to our province.

Submitted by James Hubley, Access & Awareness NS Chapter




Seeking members for the CCB Mysteries chapter++

How would you like to be a part of a brand new chapter whose mission is to plan dinner mystery evenings where audiences get to help catch the killer and pronounce sentence as well?

Affordable, filled with excitement and fun and you never know what comes next? Please read on.

We invite persons from coast to coast to join!  We plan to hold these events in cities across Canada and here is where you can be a part of the action!


Our first event is taking place in Toronto on February 23 and doors open at 5:45 pm.

A dinner, game show, mystery, and o yes!  door prizes!


Want more info? Email or call 416 491 7711.


Advocacy News++

The CCB National Advocacy Committee has taken on the project of promoting the use of Script Talk by both our members and pharmacists across Canada. We hope that our advocacy work will ultimately result in all pharmacies adopting a uniform, accessible and equitable system across the country.


An important step in this process is to learn information about the pharmacies you are using in your home area. With this information we will then contact the major chains to provide information on Script Talk and to work towards the adoption of the Script Talk system.


Please send your information to:

Submitted by Pat Gates, Chair, CCB National Advocacy Committee






Helpful Info from the CCB National Advocacy Committee++

The CCB National Advocacy Committee, at the request of a CCB member, undertook to write to the Federal Government Minister responsible for passports regarding a concern about accessibility at a Federal service location in the member’s area. While renewing his passport, he noted that a blind person or someone with low vision would not know when their number was shown on the screen and therefore might miss their turn at the service desk.  There was no audio announcement of numbers for those waiting in the queue. We asked the Minister what could be done at any Federal service location to make it accessible.


The response from the Minister’s Office stated that any Canadian requiring adaptive services at a passport office should make themselves known to a representative in that office immediately upon arrival and let them know that they require personalized assistance. Persons requiring adaptive service would be given comprehensive, personalized assistance in order to remove any barriers.

Submitted by Pat Gates, Chair

On behalf of the CCB National Advocacy Committee


Chapter News++

The CCB CK (Chatham-Kent, ON) Chapter held a successful trivia/potluck day on January 27th. Also, the chapter now offers a peer support program, which takes place every third Wednesday of every month at 1:30 PM until 3 PM at the United Way building of Chatham Kent.

For more information, please contact Markus McCracken, Co Coordinator,

CCB Chatham-Kent Chapter     519 784 3416



International Federation on Aging (IFA) Calling for Additional Abstracts++

Due to the demand to present at the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing ( additional rooms have now been confirmed to facilitate additional abstract submissions. In order to balance the program, the IFA is highly interested in abstracts under the themes/subtheme: Combating Ageism; Toward Healthy Ageing; and Addressing Inequalities.


Further abstracts under the theme of Age-Friendly Environments are also welcome. The new deadline for additional abstracts is 6 April 2018.


With a conference program that will stimulate, educate and inform, join us in Toronto in August 2018 and take a few extra days to explore our city and region (

Assistive Technology

Get Together with Technology (GTT) Top Ten Apps of 2017++

Here are the Top Ten Apps of 2017 as surveyed late in the year through the GTTProgram Blog, GTTSupport Email List and GTTProgram Facebook Group participants.  This was not a scientific survey, so might be considered by some to be a “Fake List”.  Be that as it may, your friendly GTT Group has likely had a hand in the results, and all of you are encouraged to submit your favourites for the 2018 list as we roll into November/December.


In order to do so, please stay in touch and participate with GTT groups where ever they gather throughout 2018 by following us at:

Of course, none of the below iDevice, Android, PC or Mac apps are usable by blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted users if the operating system, screen reader and/or magnifier apps aren’t mastered first.  To learn more about how you might gain the skills you need for mastering the above, get involved with a GTT group or conference call near you and ask your questions.  You can also sign up for the GTTSupport email list for this very purpose by sending a blank email message to,











Favourite Apps Listed according to the votes submitted:



Top 10 iOS Apps:

  1. Seeing AI, a free app By Microsoft Corporation.
  2. Native iOS Mail, a free email client built into every Apple device.
  3. Voice Dream Reader, a paid app By Voice Dream LLC.
  4. Nearby Explorer, a paid app By American Printing House for the Blind (APH).
  5. TuneIn Radio, a free app By TuneIn.
  6. Native iOS Reminders, a free app built into every Apple device.
  7. Transit, a free app By Transit App, Inc.
  8. VO Calendar, a paid app By Devista B.V.
  9. Bank, free apps by a variety of Canadian Banks.
  10. CBC Radio/News, free apps by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.









Top 10 PC Apps:

  1. MS Office, a paid word processing, email and spreadsheet suite of apps by Microsoft Corporation.
  2. Audacity, a free, open source multi-track recording and editing app.
  3. Firefox, a free open source web browser by Mozilla.
  4. Humanware Companion, a free VR Stream companion app by Humanware.
  5. JAWS, a paid screen reading app by Freedom Scientific.
  6. Notepad, a free Native app by Microsoft Corporation.
  7. NVDA, a free screen reading app by NVAccess.
  8. Openbook, a paid scan and read app by Freedom Scientific.
  9. Chicken Nugget, a paid Twitter app by Accessible Apps.
  10. GoldWave, a paid audio editing, recording and conversion app by GoldWave Inc.










Top 8 Mac Apps:

  1. Amadeus pro, a paid Audio editor / sound and voice recorder app by HairerSoft.
  2. Dropbox, a free cloud based file storage app by Dropbox.
  3. Facetime, a free iOS communications app by Apple.
  4. Skype, a free communications app by Microsoft Corporation.
  5. Twitterrific, a paid Twitter Client By The Iconfactory.
  6. Native Mail app, a free iOS email app by Apple.
  7. Twitter for mac, a free twitter client By Twitter, Inc.
  8. Audacity, a free, open source multi-track recording and editing app.




Top 4 Android Apps:

  1. Aqua mail, a free email client by MobiSystems.
  2. Amazing mp3 recorder, a free memo and call recorder by StereoMatch.
  3. Nearby explorer, a paid app By American Printing House for the Blind (APH).
  4. Podcast addict, a free Podcast player by Xavier Guillemane.


Respectfully submitted by Albert A. Ruel, GTT Coordinator

For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:

Albert Ruel

1-877-304-0968,ext 550


Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968 ext. 513



How to Use Headings to Organize a Document++

Taken from:


Using good heading structure helps people without eyesight to understand how the document is organized. Screen reader and Braille users can also jump between headings, which makes navigation much more efficient than if there are no headings.


Making text larger and bold does not make it a heading. In order to convert text to a heading in Microsoft Word, you must use the built-in Heading styles like “Heading 1” and “Heading 2”, available under Styles in the Home tab of the Ribbon in Office versions 2010 and higher.


Headings should form an outline, using the “Heading 1” style for the main heading, and “Heading 2” for sub-headings. If there are additional levels of headings within the document’s outline, using “Heading 3”, “Heading 4”, etc.



Instructions on How to Add Headings to a Document, by Albert Ruel:


To create section headings in your documents, do the following:

  1. Highlight the text you wish to turn into a Heading. Note, the entire paragraph will be turned into a Heading if the text you wish to use isn’t on its own line. For example: The Contacts Section of a document might be created as follows;


For more information contact:

Sally, Sue, Bill or Jack at 1-888-555-1234.


If the names of the individuals were left on the same line as the Heading, it too would have been marked as a Level 1 Heading.  For screen reader users it is cumbersome to hear an entire paragraph read as a Heading, so keep those bits of text short.


  1. To create a level 1 Heading with the selected text, hold down the Alt and Control keys and press the number 1 on the number row. Conversely, levels 2 and 3 can be created as above, and Levels 4, 5 and 6 Headings can only be created by accessing the Styles Sheet in the Ribbons.

To Use Headings when reading text with a screen reader:

  1. To list all the Headings in a document or email message, hold down the Insert key while pressing the F6 key.
  2. Arrow through the list to read each Heading, or use First Letter command to locate a specific Heading. Note, your screen reader will announce after each Heading the corresponding number of the Heading.
  3. Press the Enter key on the Heading you wish to access and your cursor will be placed at that location within the document, web page or email message.


Using the letter H for accessing Headings in MS Word:

  1. Hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z to turn Quick Keys on. This action takes you out of edit mode and allows you to press the letter H to move from one Heading to the next, or Shift H to move backward from Heading to Heading.
  2. Once you have located the desired Heading and want to return to edit mode you will hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z again to turn Quick Keys off.


Note: pressing the letter H will navigate all the Headings in a document in the order they appear, and using Shift H will have you accessing them in reverse order.


An additional means of accessing Headings:

  1. To access the Level 1 Headings, press the number 1 on the number row.

This will take you to the first occurrence of a Level 1 Heading, and pressing it again will take you to the next occurrence.  Shift number 1 will move the cursor backward through the Level 1 Headings.

  1. Once a Level 1 Heading is located, pressing the number 2 on the number row will have the cursor landing on the first Level 2 Heading found below that Level 1 Heading.


  1. Once the desired section of a Web Page, MS Word document or Email message is found, you can press your down arrow keys to read the text found below that Heading.


  1. If the desired Heading is also marked as a Link, pressing the Enter key will activate the Link.


Note: Don’t forget to hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z to turn Quick Keys off and return to edit mode.  Quick Keys is only needed in MS Word or when creating an Outlook email message.  It is not needed on the web or when reading an email message because edit mode is not turned on when doing those functions.






In June 2017, CNIB opened a Community Hub in Toronto – the first of its kind in the province – for people that are blind or partially sighted. Located at 1525 Yonge Street (just north of St. Clair) The Hub is an innovative, accessible space where community members with sight loss can come for social and emotional support, learn new skills, take part in exciting Foundation Programs and thrive in an engaging space.


The space was designed and developed in close consultation with our program participants, volunteers and staff. Considerations ranging from the colour of the chairs (multi-coloured) and walls (white) to the accessibility of the furniture all went into the design of the space.


The building itself includes the following features:

  • Custom made furniture by Carol Kaifosh & Siobhan Allman at POCKIT Studio. The furniture was designed to be durable, collapsible, portable and accessible.
  • An accessible kitchen (donated by Mattamy Homes and The Brick) with tactile pieces and braille signage
  • Wayfinding floor strips and photo luminescent stair/handrail markings from Kinesik Engineering Products Inc.
  • Plexiglas panels under the stairwell to prevent dog paws and white canes from getting caught
  • An elevator and accessible washroom
  • Tactile artwork on the walls with braille created by Kate Ramos
  • A graffiti wall mural created by artist Leyland Adams
  • A virtual reality room and tech hub where community members, both those with sight loss and with full vision, can simulate various situations with sight loss and learn more about assistive technology
  • A Doggy Bar where “K9 staff,” volunteers and guides can enjoy a tasty treat
  • A “No-Office” community space where staff and volunteers can create and share ideas in an inclusive atmosphere

Design considerations are ongoing as we continue to grow in our space and learn from our staff, volunteers and program participants.


The Hub offers specialized life-enhancing programs designed to help people with sight loss smash barriers in many areas such as access, employment, education, leadership and research & technology.


For more information about Community Hub and to check out our programs, please visit:


In the News


Blind B.C. woman’s access to audio books threatened by political flap++


A woman who is legally blind has launched a petition to try to get the provincial government to fund an online audiobook library that she will no longer have access to at the end of this month.


Taeshim Youn, 31, has collected 100 signatures at to try to maintain access for her and other print-disabled British Columbians to a collection of 540,000 audiobook titles at the Centre for Equitable Library Access.


That includes The Books of Pellinor fantasy series that she’s listening to, her form of literary entertainment since she lost her sight after being paralyzed by an autoimmune disorder in 2006.


“I usually listen to it at night and sometimes during the day,” said Youn. “I’m bed-bound and I don’t go out as much. And when I do, I get around by wheelchair.”


Listening to books read by professional narrators is “is like watching a good movie, but better because there’s so much to it.”


Youn also wrote a letter to her Port Moody MLA, the NDP’s Rick Glumac, urging him to ensure B.C funds the national service that all provinces, except for B.C., Manitoba and Nunavut, pay for.


“You, as part of my B.C. government, have a responsibility to fund library services for people with sight loss, just like you do for sighted citizens,” she said in her letter.


“Someone has to speak up,” said Youn by phone. “I’m hoping this will help.”


CELA was formed as a non-profit, publicly funded organization in 2014 to provide the books, magazines and newspapers the Canadian National Institute for the Blind had for years provided by license to public libraries.

CNIB gave up control of the library because it was more appropriate for the government as opposed to a charity to be providing an audio library for the print-disabled, said CELA executive director Michael Ciccone.


Almost all provincial and territorial governments agreed to fund the library, but in B.C. the support came instead from public libraries. In B.C., 17 libraries in heavily populated parts of the province pay for CELA, providing access to 80 per cent of the population, said Ciccone.


CNIB had agreed to pay for access for the users in the remaining 20 per cent of the province until public funding could be secured. There are about 2,500 users of the service, he said.


The bridge funding for the service expires at the end of this month, leaving about 240 users, including Youn, without access to CELA. The library in Port Moody, where she lives, is one of the libraries that doesn’t fund CELA.


Ciccone said CELA is in talks with the provincial education ministry and is hopeful it will be funded before the end of January.


But the education ministry, in an emailed statement, said the province already funds a competing audio library called the National Network for Equitable Library Services, available through every public library in B.C.


Annual funding for NNELS in B.C. is $115,000, it said.


Ciccone said its requesting $132,000 a year to fund CELA.


NNELS, which was also formed in 2014 through the B.C. Libraries Co-operative, has 30,000 titles.


Former NNELS executive director Ben Hyman said print-disabled citizens, which includes those with vision disabilities as well as those with dyslexia or those with difficulties holding books, are better served by the two services because it offers them choice.


NNELS’s collection is growing and it will attempt to obtain special-order books, said Hyman.


He also said NNELS, which is funded by eight provinces (excluding Ontario and Quebec) has a different approach to its collection, choosing not to pay for “big-batch licensing deals” as CELA does.


He said NNELS is run through a “different philosophy,” which will enable it to build a sustainable collection that will be broadly available to what’s expected to be a growing proportion of print-disabled users.

By Susan Lazaruk






Guest Post: VocalEye August 2017 Newsletter

Image: dog’s face in a sprinkler

1) Hot Dog Days!
2) Described Performances and Events:
Aug 2: Celebration of Light Fireworks
3) Aug 6: Vancouver Pride Parade
4) Aug 11: The Drowsy Chaperone at Theatre Under the Stars
5) Aug 27: Accessible Fringe 101
6) Last Call for Raffle Tickets
7) Buddies
8) Support
9) Reminders

The dog days of summer are upon us and there’s still fun to be had! This month, we describe 3 spectacular outdoor events and we’ll be handing out free Fringe Memberships to VocalEye users who attend ($5 value). (

We’ll put our Fingerworkers to the test tomorrow at the Celebration of Light (August 2). This event is pretty much “sold out”, but we might have room for one or two more. Check with Donna,

Happy Pride Week! We are thrilled to partner with the Vancouver Pride Society for our third year, making the Pride Parade more accessible with live description. Allan and Eileen are very excited to describe the parade for you. Seats and headsets are still available and we hope you can join us for this fun, free, fantastic event! Reserve your spot with Donna,

I just got a phone call today from the Vancouver WhiteCaps and they’re offering Pride Partners a special deal that I’m passing on to all of you: tickets to the Sat August 19 game (Vancouver vs Houston) for $27 (regular price is around $60). Support Pride Night will include pre-show events and the first 1,000 ticket holders will receive a complimentary pair of Pride shoelaces (rainbow stripes, natch!). Contact Adrien at 604.669.9283 ext. 2804 or and mention VocalEye (you may want to call just to hear a beautiful Parisian accent).

You won’t want to miss our last described show of the season, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE at Theatre Under the Stars in Stanley Park with a Touch Tour afterward. What a perfect way to end the season!

August marks the beginning of the end of summer and also the end of VocalEye’s seventh season. Details for next season are coming soon, but here are a few highlights:

The new season begins with the Vancouver Fringe Festival: 100 shows, 700 performances, 11 days. We’re not describing all of them, of course, but 30 shows are designated as Low Vision Friendly and VocalEye will describe one performance as well. Find out what all this means at our Accessible Fringe 101 orientation (details below).

We are delighted to return to the Arts Club for our 8th season! Single tickets are now on sale for all described performances with shows and dates on the Arts Club website. Be sure to mark your calendars for Beauty and the Beast. We’re describing this one twice: Sunday, December 17 at 2 pm with a Touch Tour; and again on Wednesday, December 20 at 7:30 pm (no tour). Season subscriptions are also available with more savings and perks. Call 604-687-1644 for more info. (

We’ve also confirmed another described season at The Belfry in Victoria. They’re offering a season ticket package for described performances for greater savings this year. Call 250-385-6815 for more info. (

VocalEye will also return to the Surrey Arts Centre, the Kay Meek Centre, The Gateway in Richmond and Stanley Park for The Ghost Train. (

Save the date: Saturday, November 4 for VocalEye’s 5th annual TALES FROM THE BLIND SIDE storytelling fundraiser at Moose’s Down Under. (

I could go on, but summer’s almost over already. Get out there and enjoy!

See you soon!





VANCOUVER PRIDE PARADE described on Sunday August 6, 2017 from Noon until 3 pm, Beach Avenue Accessible Seating near Alexandra Park. Free public event. (

Headsets and priority seating will be provided free of charge for people with vision loss in the accessibility area from 11 am to 3 pm on Parade Day (Sunday, August 6). Reservations are required. Contact 604-364-5949 or

Seating and equipment are limited. We recommend arriving early.

Please note: The new accessibility area is located on the water side of Beach Avenue at the foot of Broughton Street. This is across the street and farther down the parade route (to the left) when compared to our location in previous years.

VocalEye is proud to describe the 39th Annual Vancouver Pride Parade for people who are blind and partially sighted. This is VocalEye’s third year describing the Vancouver Pride Parade thanks to a request from Richard Marion, a member of the blind community.

Described by Eileen Barrett and Allan Morgan with live-tweets from VocalEye volunteers.

Your sighted friends are welcome to listen in on Eileen and Allan’s description of this year’s Pride participants. Bring an extra set of ear buds and ask us for a splitter and you’ll be able to share your receiver. Friends can also follow our live tweets on Twitter ( .

The Beach Avenue Accessibility Area features seating, shade and accessible washroom facilities. Free bottled water will be available, but to reduce waste, we encourage you to bring your own water. VocalEye will provide light snacks and treats. Be sure to dress for the weather as necessary, it can be cooler near the water, and don’t forget your sunscreen! You may want to bring a little cushion for your seat.

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, described by Eileen Barrett on Friday, August 11 at 8 pm at Theatre Under the Stars, 610 Pipeline Road, Stanley Park, Vancouver. TUTS offers a free companion rate for VocalEye users. Regular ticket prices range from $30 to $49. To purchase tickets, please call 604-734-1917. For best headset reception, seating is recommended in the left section of the audience, rows 10 and higher. Running time is approximately 1 hour 50 minutes. This performance will be followed by a Touch Tour and we’ll also draw the winning raffle tickets. (

Arrive early and grab a bite to eat at the Garden Café or a light snack from the snack bar. There is a wide range of hot, cold and alcoholic beverages for sale as well. Bring your own seat cushion for more comfort. A limited number of cushions will be reserved for VocalEye guests on a first come, first served basis (

You’ll be sitting outdoors, so be sure to dress for the weather and be prepared for cooler temperatures in the evening.

“There’s nothing snoozy or sleepy about this TUTS production of The Drowsy Chaperone: it’s flat-out, full-on fun. Plus it’s wickedly clever.”
-Jo Ledingham (

Alone in his modest, one-bedroom apartment, a die-hard musical fan plays his favourite cast album, a 1928 smash hit called The Drowsy Chaperone. As the record spins, the show magically bursts to life, filling his living room with colourful characters, immersing him in the hilarious tale of a celebrity bride and her impending nuptials, complete with gangsters, playboys, singing, dancing and drinking.

“There’s much ado these days about a Canadian musical, Come From Away, making it big on Broadway and scooping a Tony Award for direction earlier this month. (

But what many people forget, or don’t know, is that just over a decade ago, another subversive little Canuck musical pulled off the same magic. Written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar as a wedding present to Martin’s wife, it was first staged off the beaten track in Toronto’s storied Rivoli bar back in 1998. A long, winding, and unlikely path led it to the bright lights of Broadway by 2006, nabbing it five Tony Awards and the chance to go on to England, Australia, and Japan.” -The Georgia Straight (



The Vancouver Fringe Festival tagline is “Theatre for Everyone”, an ideal that VocalEye fully supports! (

Personally speaking, I am a long-time fan of the Fringe. Full disclosure: I performed in the very first festival (1985) and have been involved with more than a dozen Fringe shows as an actor or director and many, many more as an audience member. Frequent Fringe-ing or Fringe Binge-ing is one of my all-time favourite things to do. With $14 tickets, a free companion rate and 60 minute shows (on average), you can do it, too! Let us show you how…

If you are a VocalEye member with vision loss or a Theatre Buddy who’s new to the Fringe, this orientation session will show you how its done!

When: Sunday, August 27 from Noon until 3 pm.
Meet up location: northeast corner of Broadway and Granville
Session location: Carousel rehearsal space, 1411 Cartwright Street, across from Kid’s Market and the Waterfront Theatre

This free orientation session includes:
* a walking tour from Broadway and Granville to Granville Island (starts at Noon)
* Accessible Fringe 101 session (begins at 12:30)
* Introduction to the Festival
* first-person reports from blind and low vision frequent Fringers, Deb Fong and Tami Grenon
* Low Vision Friendly programming
* tips on how to Fringe: choosing shows, booking tickets and more
* walking tour of Granville Island’s Fringe venues and landmarks
* snacks and refreshments
* free Fringe membership ($5 value)
* the opportunity to connect with a Fringe buddy
* the opportunity to become a Fringe buddy

This year’s Fringe is scheduled from September 7 to 17. There are more than 30 shows designated as Low Vision Friendly, plus one VocalEye described performance of “A Very Unpleasant Evening at the Rockefeller Rink Sometime Late December…ish”, on Saturday, September 16 at 3:50 pm at The Cultch Historic Theatre. This fresh and quirky comedy features some delightful characters, including one who happens to be a legally blind zamboni driver. Find out more at the orientation session!

To register, please contact Donna,
Deadline to register is August 24, 2017

Don’t miss your chance to win one of three great prizes!
* First Prize: Plextalk Linio Pocket daisy/mp3 player from Canadian Assistive Technologies, value $369
* Second Prize: One-year subscription to with AfterShokz bone-conducting headphones, value $210
* Third Prize: Save-On gift card, value $100

Ticket Price: $5

With three easy ways to purchase:
1. at the equipment table at one of VocalEye’s events
2. from a friendly VocalEye board member
3. or from Steph, 604-364-5949.

Draw Date: Friday, August 11, 2017 at 10:30 pm

Draw Location: Theatre Under the Stars, 610 Pipeline Road, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2

Presence not required at time of draw. Winners consent to the release of their name by VocalEye, 303-355 E 15th Ave, Vancouver V5T 2R2 | 604-364-5949

Number of tickets for sale = 300 | BC Gaming Event License # 95264

Limit one prize per winner | BC residents only

All proceeds go toward VocalEye’s description programs.


Theatre Buddies are available to guide VocalEye Members 18 years of age and over from a designated meet up location to and from selected theatres in the lower mainland. Reserve your Theatre Buddy by calling 604-364-5949 or send us an email. 48 hours notice is required.

** 8) SUPPORT…
VocalEye will describe more than 40 performances and events this season for people who are blind and partially sighted, thanks to the generous contributions of our funders and supporters ( .

We gratefully acknowledge the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, our Community Donors and Individual Donors for their critical financial and in-kind support. VocalEye is currently in the process of becoming a registered charity and will not be able to issue tax receipts for donations until our application is approved. In the meantime, donations are greatly appreciated from anyone not requiring a tax receipt.

We thank you for helping us provide people with vision loss greater access to arts and culture.

* VocalEye’s complete season of described performances can be found on our website ( .
* Tickets and headsets must be reserved by calling the theatre, unless instructed otherwise.
* Be sure to mention VocalEye when booking your tickets to receive any discounts offered and indicate whether you have partial vision, a guide dog or other seating preferences. Seating options may be limited.
* Arrive early to pick up your equipment so you can be seated in time for a sound check and to listen to our pre-show introduction that includes brief descriptions of the set, characters and costumes. These begin 10 minutes before curtain.
* Our handheld receivers come with a single earpiece that can be worn on the left or right ear, or you can use your own earbuds or headphones. The audio signal is mono, so it will come through on only one side.
* VocalEye Memberships are FREE for people with vision loss.
* VocalEye Members are eligible for Theatre Buddy assistance, ticket discounts and equipment pickup without a deposit.
* VocalEye newsletters are available in your choice of formats: Plain Text or HTML with images. Both include a link at the top to a simple Word Doc format.
* VocalEye respects your right to privacy. We will not rent, sell or trade our list. Our mailings are intended to inform you of our events, programs, services and fundraising activities. You may unsubscribe at any time.
* You can help us spread the word about described performances and arts access for people with vision loss by sharing this newsletter with those in your network.

Thank you for reading through. See you at the theatre!