Insight January 2015


Happy New Year! Welcome to the January edition of “Insight”. This month is all about YOU! We want to answer your questions and hear your stories.We’ll introduce you to Izzy, who can answer your questions about vision loss; we’ll help you share your story with us; and we’ll tell you about the newly redesigned CNIB Pedestrian Bridge in Toronto.

Share Your Story, Change a Life

Share-a-story.jpgHas CNIB touched your life in some way? Is someone you love receiving our support? Tell us your story!

We're always eager to learn more about the people who make up our community, and love to share their stories with our audience. It makes connections, helps remove stigma, and empowers other Canadians who are living with vision loss.

It's a simple and easy way for you to share your experiences and for us to get to know your story and your needs. It’s how we got to know Shayden – who was just three years old when we met him – and his mother, Jacinthe.

Sharing their story was a way to not only give back, but to cope with their own reality and help other families know that while it might seem scary, you’re not alone. 

"We're really lucky that we get to hear a lot of stories from the people and families we help," says Katharine Harris, Manager of Corporate Communications at CNIB. “But that doesn't mean we don’t want to hear more! Hearing from Canadians who are blind or partially sighted about their experiences helps us help others."

Click here to share your own story with us!


Dear Izzy: Social Blunders in Burnaby

Dear-Izzy.jpgDear Izzy is an anonymous advice column that offers solutions to everyday challenges for people with vision loss. Check out this month's question…

Dear Izzy,

Yesterday I was sitting on the bus when the person next to me said, "Hello"; I quickly replied with a greeting and a comment about the weather. I was very embarrassed when the passenger turned to me and explained that he was on his cell phone. Earlier this week I heard that my neighbour was disappointed when I did not greet her on the street corner. She must understand that I did not see her. Do you have any advice?

-Social Blunders in Burnaby

Dear Social Blunders in Burnaby,

If you are unsure if someone is speaking to you, simply smile. If the person was in fact talking to you, it will initiate the conversation. If not, it never hurts to smile at someone. Don't forget that this can happen to anyone, with vision loss or without. You may not know that a person is on the telephone if they are using a hands-free headset.

Inform your family, friends and neighbours about your vision loss. Encourage them to identify themselves when they approach you. If a person does not identify themselves, do not hesitate to ask, "Who am I speaking to?" Eventually your family and friends will learn to do this automatically.

Remember that you look the same as always. Your family and friends may forget that you have difficulties with your vision. You may be able to recognize some voices in certain settings, but if you bump into that same person unexpectedly you may not know who it is if it is out of context. For example, you may recognize your doctor's voice at her office, but if you ran into your doctor at the grocery store, you may not know who she is. A white cane will indicate to people that you have reduced vision and remind them to introduce themselves. Happy travelling!

Have a question for Izzy? Send it to Your question may appear in a future edition of “Insight”! You can also check out Izzy's blog on


Bridging the Accessibility Gap: CNIB's Pedestrian Bridge Now Open

CNIB_Bridge Opening Ceremony

On November 21, 2014 CNIB officially reopened and renamed the CNIB Bayview Pedestrian Bridge with a ribbon cutting and first walk.

The bridge revitalization project wouldn't have been possible without Federal Government leadership and support of the Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2012 through the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, and our individual donors Ron Sidon and Joseph Salek.

“Our Government’s continued commitment to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians is clearly demonstrated by investments in communities like Don Valley West,” said MP John Carmichael. “When we improve facilities such as the CNIB Pedestrian Bridge, we are strengthening our communities, and by strengthening our communities, we are building a prosperous southern Ontario.”

For individual donors Sidon and Salek the CNIB Pedestrian Bridge was more than just another cause to get behind. For more than 45 years, Sidon has travelled under the Bayview Bridge. His wife, Anne, also grew up a short distance from CNIB so it was always a familiar sight. It wasn’t hard for him to convince Salek to get on board.

“When I read about the need to revitalize the bridge I immediately thought that this was an initiative that I could get behind,” says Sidon. “I wasted no time contacting MP Carmichael’s office and they put me in touch with the team at CNIB who were excited about my investment and commitment to the revitalization of the bridge not only as a landmark, but as a safe and accessible point of access for clients, employees and community members to cross busy Bayview Avenue.”

“When Ron mentioned the bridge I wanted to know more,” says Salek. “We sat down and he explained the project, his commitment to helping to restore the bridge and about the impact it would have on the lives of people who were blind or partially sighted. I was quickly sold on the idea and his enthusiasm, and committed to partnering on the revitalization of the bridge.”

The revitalized bridge design complies with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, signifying progress towards building accessible, inclusive communities for all. Improved accessible features include:

  • An elevator on the west side of the bridge that will feature high contrast, brailled buttons with audio accompaniment;
  • A ramp on the east side of the bridge that will replace the current stairs to provide fully accessible access from the bridge to the building’s entrance
  • Even lighting throughout the bridge, which is active during the day and evening;
  • Tactile surfaces throughout the bridge structure to assist with navigation and orientation;
  • High contrast features throughout to assist with way-finding for individuals with low vision.

“The bridge revitalization project is the culmination of support from Ron Sidon, Joe Salek and the federal government Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund,” says John Rafferty, president of CNIB. “We are thankful for their support and commitment to providing people who are blind or partially sighted with a safe and accessible pathway to and from CNIB.”


Shop-CNIB.jpgShop CNIB

12-month bilingual large-print planner 

Keep your life organized with help from this 12-month large-print bilingual (English and French) planner. Because it's dateless, you can start using it any time of year. Print is 1 centimetre high and mylar tabs divide the planner into 12 months.

Click here to order the “12-month bilingual planner.”  To browse hundreds of other Shop CNIB products for everyday living, visit one of our 20 stores across the country, visit our webstore or call the CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642 to order a free catalogue.


Help us change the lives of people who are blind or partially sighted

Researchers estimate that half a million Canadians are living with significant vision loss today. As a Partner in Vision, your generous donation of $10 or more a month will help people who are blind or partially sighted build the skills, confidence and independence to enjoy life again – to see beyond vision loss. Become a Partner in Vision


Note: The information provided in this article is for awareness purposes only, and should not replace the expertise of an eye doctor. CNIB recommends that you visit your doctor of optometry regularly for thorough eye exams, up-to-date medical information and advice tailored to your own unique vision health and family history.

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