Tag Archive for 1963

An Excerpt from Bowen Island 1872-1972

The below excerpt is from Bowen Island 1872-1972 and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the Bowen Island Historians.

During the summer months the Canadian National Institute for the Blind operates a recreation and training centre on Deep Bay. The three acre property was purchased from the Union Steamship Company and a modern lodge constructed at a cost of $150,000. Captain M. C. Robinson, at that time director of the C.N.I.B. for British Columbia and Alberta, was the moving spirit behind the whole project. He himself had been blinded at the age of eighteen during the First World War.

In the years before the opening of the centre, groups of blind vacationers had already enjoyed fishing camps on Bowen, sponsored by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. The new building was handed over to the C.N.I.B. in October 1962. Ron and Joan Hamlin, the first managers, took over the work of furnishing and preparing for summer visitors. The lodge has twenty double and three single bedrooms, a combination lounge and recreation area opening onto a broad patio with an outdoor fireplace, a kitchen run by the C.N.I.B. catering service and a separate hobby building.

A winter works crew sent by the Department of Recreation and Conservation felled trees, levelled the grounds, built camp sites and picnic shelters with brick stoves, blacktop paths across the lans and down the vine-covered bank to the beach, constructed a sea wall and a wide promenade, chained logs together to make a safe bathing area within the bay. Two gardeners came from Vancouver Parks Board on weekends all through the spring and summer and prepared lawns, planted shrubs and flowers. A few amenities especially for the blind were added — embossed room numbers on the doors, circular guards around supporting patio timbers to prevent one from bumping into them, pebble squares in the blacktop to mark turns and adjoining paths. But otherwise the place was designed on the assumption that blindness is no hinderance to enjoying any holiday activity from pitching horseshoes to rowing a fibreglass boat.

The lodge was opened on June 1, 1963. The afternoon was grey and cheerless but one of the gardeners had obtained from the Union several rhododendrons in brilliant bloom on the hotel grounds and and planted them where the ceremony was to be held and an eleven-foot totem pole was presented by Fred B. Brown for Union Steamships. The 200-pound locomotive bell, destined to be the dinner bell, was rung. It had been donated by the C.P.R.

Three weeks later the first group of guests came on a twelve-day vacation, and each summer since then there have been five or six such vacation periods as well as two orientation courses for the newly blind.

Appendix 2 The C.N.I.B. Lodge on Bowen Island from Page 172-173 of Bowen Island 1872-1972

The Caribou Observer, Announcement of Camps on Bowen Island

From the Cariboo Observer from Quesnel via the Provincial Library in Victoria. Entered into the Provincial Library in December 1963. Originally printed Thursday, May 30, 1963.

From page 1

CNIB Field Workers Attend Meeting Here

Success and progress were the key notes of reports presented at the annual meeting of the Quesnel Chapter, Canadian National Institute for the Blind held Tuesday in the Billy Barker Inn.

Chairman Frank Burns reported an excellent fund-raising drive last season had yielded close to $1,000, and went on to outline the events at the last provincial convention of the group. “It is an experience that I hope you all can share at some time, because you will come away as I did at the ability of these handicapped people.”

Monday, Mr. Burns conducted Ray Sewell and Alex Grant, both totally blind, around local elementary schools where they spoke to 1,000 children on eye care.

The two men are field secretaries for CNIB and make regular visits throughout the province calling on local associations and upon blind persons in each area.

Mr. Sewell, who has succeeded Mr. Grant as field representative for this district, gave the meeting a report on the new vacation lodge for the blind which has been built at Bowen Island.

(See Page 5-C N I B)

From page 5


Continued from Page 1-

The new holiday centre can accommodate 44 guests and provide facilities for swimming at a protected beach, promenades, patios and a fragrant garden. Plats are especially selected for their perfume so that they may be enjoyed by the sightless visitors.

Each holiday period lasts 12 days and the cost, in the case of a blind pensioner is only $18.

During the winter months it is planned to use the lodge as a training school for newly blind persons. Over 100 persons are blinded in B.C. each year, said Mr. Sewell.

Speaking of his own case, Ray Sewell offered this advice to others: “If I had worn a seatbelt on that fateful night seven years ago, I would have my sight today.” He was returning from a dance at Campbell River when his car left the road as a result of mechanical failure, and he was thrown out. For weeks he was only semi-conscious and remained permanently blind.

Now, as a result of training by the CNIB, Mr. Sewell is leading an active life as a field worker for the Institute.

Plans for the group’s annual fund-raising drive are to be announced later.