White Cane Week Experience Expo

Posted on Feb 27, 2017

CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter WCW ‘Experience’ Expo a great success!

Expo visitor inquiring about alternate format reading materials
Expo visitor inquiring about alternate format reading materials

On February 4, the CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) kicked off White Cane Week by hosting the 2017 WCW ‘Experience’ Expo, a hands-on, interactive exposition in which over 30 exhibitors shared their ‘experience’, providing creative, adaptive solutions to all aspects of life with vision loss.

Guests speak with a representative from the Hands of Fire Sculpture Group
Guests speak with a representative from the Hands of Fire Sculpture Group

The Expo had four major objectives: First, to offer visitors information on as wide a range of the products, supports, services, and recreational groups and organizations available to the vision loss community in Toronto. Second, to offer exhibitors the opportunity to network, share resources, and promote their offerings to an audience. Third, to open up an information-rich dialogue with those outside the vision loss community, expanding the common conception of what living with a visual impairment means. And fourth, to bring Toronto’s vision loss and sighted communities together around a fun, interactive and informative event.

On all counts, the Expo was a resounding success! With between 350 and 400 visitors, over 50 representatives from more than 30 organizations, nearly 50 volunteers, and 15 special demonstrations, the Expo offered visitors a rich array of options open to those living with vision loss. Exhibitors were thrilled with the level of engagement, and many were able to sign up new members, arrange future sales enquiries, or pas along detailed information about their service or product offerings.

Media partner Accessible Media Inc. broadcast their first-ever live remote of the AMI Radio show ‘Kelly & Company’ from the floor of the Expo. CCB’s National President, Louise Gillis, officially opened the event, talking with visitors and exhibitors about the importance of building a sense of community and public awareness that events like the ‘Experience’ Expo afford. As CCB National’s ‘Featured Event’, the 2017 WCW ‘Experience’ Expo embodied the spirit of the scores of events rolled out in more than 80 Chapters of the CCB across Canada during White Cane Week, February 5-11.

Finishing off the Expo, visitors were treated to a special performance by CCB’s ‘Glenvale Players Theatre Group’, a community theatre company composed of visually impaired actors, directors and stage personnel, who entertained the audience with two short – and hilarious skits. To cap off the day, the CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter hosted just over 100 people of all visual abilities at a ‘Community Social’, a chance to celebrate the vitality and diversity of the vision loss community, with scrumptious food, a cash bar, music from the 50’s & 60’s, and draws for nearly $700 in donated door prizes.

“The Expo was a terrific opportunity for those living with vision loss to share an incredible amount of information across our community, explore possibilities, break the isolation that so often accompanies living with a disability, and to expand the definition of what it means to be blind”, said Ian White, CCB Toronto Visionaries Chapter President, “and we’re hoping to be able to make this event a regular part of White Cane Week celebrations.” Until then, says White, many of the resources featured at the Expo are listed on the CCB Toronto Visionaries website on the ‘Community Resources’ page at http://www.ccbtorontovisionaries.ca/community.php.

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