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Elizabeth Rusk teaches braille to Edna Sharpe, 1934.


  In response to rising blindness rates caused by the Halifax explosion and in First World War vets, CNIB is founded in 1918.

  CNIB founders open Pearson Hall at 186 Beverly St. in Toronto, which serves as a residence, rehab centre and braille teaching facility, and becomes home to CNIB's library department and headquarters.


  CNIB establishes divisions across the country, starts to deliver censuses and tracking client needs, eye conditions and demographics.

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  CNIB reaches out to blind Canadians in isolated communities across a 1,600-kilometre area in central and northern Canada.

  CNIB appoints a blindness prevention committee to eliminate avoidable blindness.

1930s, 1940s

  Ontario passes the Blind Workmen's Compensation Act and Parliament also passes an act providing pensions for the blind.

  In 1930, CNIB's advocacy efforts get success with the Blind Voters Act (allowing a blind person to vote with the help of a sighted person).

  CNIB offers rehab training to blinded Second World War soldiers.


  By the 1950s, CNIB is the largest organization of its kind in the world.

  CNIB helps sponsor a course in 1956 for blind computer programmers.

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  The first Eye Banks are founded through the close co-operation of CNIB and key doctors in the department of ophthalmology at the University of Toronto.

1960s to 1980s

  Workplace blindness prevention program, the Wise Owl Club of Canada, is launched.

  First mobile eye care units are created.

  CNIB Library introduces talking books on cassettes.

  In 1961, CNIB Lake Joseph Centre opens, a lakefront facility offering recreation and skills development in a safe, inclusive environment.


  Specialized software programs allow blind or sighted volunteers to translate French or music in braille.

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  Wayne Gretzky's autobiography marks the first time a major work is published at the same time in print and braille.

  CNIB celebrates its 75th birthday with Technibus, a travelling technology exhibit.

1990s, 2000s

  CNIB Library for the Blind becomes exempt from copyright law in 1997, which gives it the right to produce material in braille, e-text or audio for the personal use of blind people.

  Bank of Canada introduces bank notes marked with raised dots.

  Euclid Herie, president emeritus of CNIB, establishes the World Braille Foundation.


  CNIB and leaders in eye health sign the Canadian Patient Charter for Vision Care.

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  Canada becomes the 20th country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, which allows visually impaired people access to published works.

  CNIB launches its CNIB Guide Dog Program, designed to raise and train guide dogs for Canadians, in April 2017.

Advertising produced by The Globe Content Studio. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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