"I will never forget the day my son was introduced to a white cane for the first time! The sun was shining, birds were chirping and it was peaceful day in the park by the old CNIB building. With his cane in hand and a smile on his face, for the first time he walked quickly.... with confidence, without the fear of tripping over something he couldn't see. He explored the beautiful park while stopping to splash his cane in little puddles and to feel the difference between the grass and the sidewalk. He walked up and down little hills and giggled loudly as he realized that he didn't need to be holding on to my hand while he explored. It was a magical introduction to a life with improved safety and independence.
I remember the first time we went to the new Broad Street location. The traffic was loud and vehicles were quickly whizzing by. The confidence we had previously witnessed was replaced with fear. He did not want to leave my side. Although we do want him to eventually be able to navigate any location, this was far too much stimulation for him to handle while he was learning to trust his cane to keep him safe.
We are thrilled that CNIB will be returning to the park where everyone can enjoy the beauty and peaceful feeling it has to offer!"
Mother of CNIB Regina client, Fletcher
"I am strongly supportive of the CNIB redevelopment project for a variety of reasons, as follows:
First, as a Volunteer within CNIB’s Guide Dogs Program, I have found the temporary space being utilized by CNIB on 14th Avenue and Broad Street to be inadequate for training purposes, particularly for the new Puppy Raiser Program. The current space allocation does not provide opportunities for CNIB to train guide dogs on-site. This can pose some real challenges in terms of ensuring the success of the Guide Dogs in Training Program.
Second, the current transitional location is poorly aligned with the needs of the blind and vision impaired. This can include: safety considerations related to traffic; poor access in terms of ingress and egress into the building; and limited access to parking, including for public transit for persons with disabilities.
Third, the proposed partnership with Brandt represents an innovative opportunity to grow collaborative partnerships between a human service delivery organization like CNIB and local corporate sponsors.
Finally, the proposed development site has long been used by CNIB in Regina and does not represent a fundamental change in the historic use of the property. The development of the site and a building could also lead to additional partnership opportunities with other community-based organizations that serve the needs of Regina citizens."
CNIB Volunteer Puppy Raiser for Future Guide Dog Percy
"I am very grateful to have the CNIB located in the park. As a person who has had to learn how to walk with a white cane, it is so much less stressful doing so in the surroundings of the park. Learning two navigate without vision can be very overwhelming so having the CNIB located in the park is logical.
My son was three years old when I first lost my eyesight. I remember the first time I held my white cane in my right hand while I held my son's small hand in my left hand. I remember feeling overwhelmed but those few steps got me started towards the place I am at today as an involved and active mom."
CNIB Client and Volunteer, Regina
"As tenants and business owners in this area we have been excited since the initial announcement was made and were disheartened to see it being stalled. The design and layout of the building are beautiful and will add a lot to this particular area of the city, that still a lot of people are not familiar with, not to mention the added visitors this project will bring in general to our neighborhood."
Kashmir Bahia Owner/ Operator
The Lobby Kitchen and Bar, Regina
"I grew up in Regina and as a child I came to appreciate that riding my bike throughout Wascana Park was a beautiful and safe place.
I left Regina for Winnipeg, but whenever I returned I would always drive through the park and revisit many of my old haunts.
I moved back to Regina and worked in an accounting position. I noticed that my eyesight was deteriorating. My doctor sent me to see an Ophthalmologist. Doctor Ash performed a number of tests and eventually advised me that I was legally blind. I felt my whole world falling apart. I was a sailor, a runner, a skier and loved to cycle in the park. I was active and appreciated my freedom. I remember washing my face one morning and seeing the water running through my fingers and thinking it represented my life and identity slipping away. Doctor Ash told me to see the people at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
The CNIB had been in Wascana Park since 1954 and continues to serve the needs of the blind and low vision in Saskatchewan.
My introduction to the services of CNIB represented the beginning of my reawakening. They worked with me to rebuild my confidence and to begin to believe in myself again. One of the most important gifts is my independence. They taught me to use a white cane. We spent many hours travelling the various pathways in Wascana Park. This is a safe and accommodating environment to develop caning skills.
Since that time I have competed in Canadian Blind Sport and won three gold medals in running events. I continued to sail and even became commodore of a sailing club. I continued to downhill ski and ran a marathon.
Thank you CNIB for reawakening my confidence and belief in myself.
I believe that CNIB must remain in Wascana Park. I hope you join me in my 2020 vision for CNIB in Wascana Park in the near future."
CNIB Client, Regina
"As a client of CNIB for the past 30 years, and a staff member for 4 years, I am disheartened to see the uproar of community members, government, and city officials. So many people are saying that CNIB should get out of the park and we should not be able to be in the park simply because Brandt stepped up when a charity was not able to put up a new building.
There is a huge part of this story that is being completely lost. That is the clients. When I was transitioning from high school to University and trying to figure out how I was going to have my independence. I took TWO YEARS before I started university to learn how to travel independently in Regina and learn how to cook, and do all of the other things so many of those people are taking for granted.
Let me walk you through a part of my life you will never see. I was 17 years old and was handed a recorder with directions as my final exam on my orientation and mobility (how to travel with a white cane) and I had to cross over broad at our old building and take the bus and end up at a location that was pre planned. I was overcome with fear, crippling fear. I was not able to do it. I was in tears, shaking the thought of crossing that street with no audible pedestrian signals and being completely alone on the bus and being so vulnerable to a community I was not used to, completely crippled me there was no way I could do it. I was embarrassed that I showed that side of my life, I was angry that I had to do this and no one else had to, I was terrified. After, I calmed down and to this day, it haunts me that I was not able to do that, I can still feel pure fear and panic when I recount that time in my life. I hope this is something that no one ever has to experience.
Even today, so many people see the confidence and outspoken side of my life but what they don’t see is the time I had to call my husband because I was lost, or when I lost the rest of my light perception and was terrified to face my journey to work.
The CNIB is the reason you all see the confident, outspoken side of me, because they have given me the courage and strength to live an amazing life. Without CNIB and the support of the community so many people who are facing vision loss will never get to the point where they can look back at that fear and say I did it.
Being able to learn to cross streets, walk on sidewalks and use landmarks, and build your confidence before you face the reality of broad street, in the safety and security of the park is something that you will never ever have to experience. Because at the end of the day you are lucky enough to have your vision. Those of us who are blind or partially sighted have to fight every single day for basic human rights like access to literature, equal access to schooling, access to public places that you can just walk into. I have to fight to have the life that I have every single day and until you have to fight for your basic human rights you will never understand why the CNIB should be able to be in the park and why the clients of CNIB and other charities are so very grateful to Brandt for stepping up and taking a beating from people who are lucky enough to have the privilege of being able bodied.
To those who continue to condemn an organization who gives people their lives back at a time when they cannot see how they can go on. I wish you would look at your park and be proud that in Regina we are able to change the lives of those who are blind and partially sighted in the safety of a supportive community in a park that we all love so much. "
CNIB Client, Staff Member and Volunteer, Regina
“It will be a more accessible space with more access for people to walk and be safe.”
CNIB Client, Regina
“I support CNIB's Redevelopment project in the park because: The park is a better location for clients who are learning orientation and mobility skills compared to CNIB’s current location. In the park there are fewer distractions which allows someone with vision loss to focus on what they are being taught. In the park, clients are able to feel safe while learning orientation and mobility skills. I also participated in CNIB youth camps, and really enjoyed being able to do activities outside in a safe environment.”
CNIB Regina Client, Moose Jaw, SK
“For me, the park is a safe space with regards to walking – there wouldn’t be as many barriers as there are crossing the street. Parking would be easy to access as well and lots of spaces to be dropped off by bus, car and taxi. A lot of people have [seeing] eye dogs so they would be more at ease. It’s a beautiful location of Regina to cheer us up, to relax, and for friends to meet.”
CNIB Regina Client, Indian Head, SK
”As a group of low-vision and blind clients of the CNIB, it has saddened us to know that there are people wo do not believe in the construction of a new facility in the park. Why? The CNIB was in the Park before the Wascana Authority even existed. Many people may not know this “fact”.
Since the demolition of our old building for safety reasons (i.e. asbestos piping), the CNIB has been renting offices on the corner of 14th Avenue and Broad Street (downtown). You might ask what is wrong with that location? We would say, “try being a 5-year old child who has lost their vision and try learning how to use a white cane for the first time crossing that intersection.”
The Wascana Park building will provide a safer and more accessible location for the clients of the CNIB to participate in skill building programs, hopefully becoming more independent in their daily lives.
The larger building will also provide the CNIB with more space creating more opportunity for even more programs for us the clients. The present cost of rent for the space on Broad Street would be negated and reverted back into programs like guide dogs, white canes, braille and other skills.
As clients of the CNIB, we believe politics and protestors destroy the beauty of Wascana Park more than our building ever will."
CNIB Peer Group
"The CNIB Saskatchewan Advisory Board is a volunteer board that works to deliver on CNIB's mission and strategic plan. This includes smashing barriers for individuals with sight loss in our community, expanding programs that enhance quality of life, increasing access to technology and employment opportunities to name a few.
Our Saskatchewan Board supports the CNIB Regina Redevelopment Project. This project affords CNIB an opportunity to reinvest money currently spent on occupancy costs into new programs and services for the blind and partially sighted community. We are grateful for Brandt's support to make this project a reality. We envision a building that is accessible for our clients in a central location that is transit adjacent. We envision more space for staff and client programming. We envision a park that is accessible for all.
CNIB in its over 60-year history in the park, has utilized the park for orientation and mobility training for clients, for kids' camps, for fundraising events and now to train future guide dogs. Wascana Park offers a safe space for someone who is new to sight loss to gain their confidence.
We support the CNIB staff, clients and volunteers and their affiliate organization, Vision Loss Rehabilitation Saskatchewan on this important development for the blind and partially sighted community."