OCTOPUS is an outreach to seniors (50+) in the community that focuses on technology and information.

It includes  virtual programs on technology and on art, music, anything creative or educational; access to information; and fraud prevention. Full details are here (PDF).

Now, working with local seniors, we have the following workshops available for participation.
Registration is limited.
All of these sessions will take place on Zoom. Click here to learn about what Zoom is and how it works.

Overview of 2021 sessions

see the next section below for details


  • Zoom Book Club
  • Listen & Learn: Virtual Ideas
  • Convert Old Photos
  • Safety Online
  • Talk New West – videos


  • Laughter and Joy with Janice Bannister
  • Universal/inclusive Design
  • Explore Narrative Writing
  • iPhone/iPad Photos
  • Quarantunes Singalong online
  • Western Art History with Optional Art Making
  • Thoughts & Emotions
  • Drawing with Brandi Williams

2021 programs

NOTE –  For programs that are more than one week: 

  • Registration is limited to participants that can commit for the whole session
  • You can use the same link for all of the dates

Century House Zoom Book Club

Three groups meet online once a month for about an hour, each to discuss a book they chose. Group members have recommended three books for next month, and the books are available at the New West Public Library.

Members are welcome to register for one or more groups each month at 10:30 on the second Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

New members are welcome. To join, send an email to facilitator Jane Hicks at  zbc@centuryhouseassociation.com. No previous book club experience is needed. The size of the group may be limited by the availability of the books at the library. 

Listen & Learn: Virtual Ideas

Heard of book clubs? Well, how about a listening club?  Here’s an opportunity to listen to CBC Ideas podcasts with a follow up discussion. CBC Ideas is a twice-weekly radio show hosted by Nahlah Ayed.  The varied topics include discussions on philosophy, politics, theology science, nature and more; they’re endless and educational. The presenters are erudite and eye-opening too.

You will need to have access to podcasts on CBC and be able to use Zoom. The plan is to listen to the podcast beforehand, then join in on a spirited discussion facilitated by Val MacDonald.

The next session is Thursday January 14 at 1:00 p.m. Register in advance.
The episode we will discuss is “Rats: Haunting Humanity’s Footsteps” (October 25).
Make sure you listen to the podcast first. You can do that here.   
Look in the episode list for the above title and date.

If you are interested in joining, but unsure about Zooming and podcasts, we can help!
Contact Shelly by phone, 604-519-1061, or email sschnee@newwestcity.ca .

Talk New West

Talk New West is a news magazine online video program that features stories relevant to Century House members. Its primary focus is stories from both the lives of Century House members as well as seniors from the larger New Westminster community. Other occasional features will branch out to include other topics relevant to seniors. 

Bookmark the Talk New West web page to make sure you don’t miss interesting new content, or subscribe to our blog where we announce new Talk New West videos.

Safety Online When Using Email or Browsing the Internet

Do you use Email or browse the internet?  Then this course is for you. Scams can happen to any of us.  In this seminar, you will learn how to spot a scam. You will learn how online scammers take advantage of our natural human tendencies and trap us into taking actions we shouldn’t, possibly leading to financial loss or worse.  Join us for an interactive discussion.

Facilitator: Tania Cernezel, Tania has been a member of Century House for about two years.  In February 2020, she retired from a long career at a local utility, working in various professional roles including Finance and Accounting, Contract Management, Project Management, Information Technology, Supply Chain and Regulatory Matters.

Register in advance for
Monday, February 22 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, March 24 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Convert Old Photos

In this three-week program you will learn how to convert prints (and negatives) to electronic (digital) format. Inexpensively preserve & share old photos with extended family members (young and old). If you have a scanner – great! If you have a home computer – good. If you have a mobile phone – well OK. If you only have the photos, we’ve still got great “how to” information for you! You will need to attend all three weeks to enjoy the benefits of this program.

Program Facilitator: René Andersen is retired from his own business in 2015. He has a technical background in computer programming, electronics, and home handy works such as carpentry, electrical and some (ugh) plumbing. He inherited a load of photo prints, negatives and slides from passed on family and is slowly digitizing these for interested family members).

Register in advance for Wednesdays, 10–11:15 a.m., Feb. 17 to March 3

Laughter and Joy

Join this zoom program to learn how the science of laughter can brighten your day and improve your health. Laughter wellness is good for you. Each week there will be:

  • A discussion of the scientific benefits of laughter to stimulate your spirit, body and brain
  • Laughter exercises and techniques to do at home with the zoom group
  • New laughter hacks for dealing with the current world challenges

A yoga mat and area for movement are recommended and all abilities can benefit from the exercises. Laughter Yoga exercises combine breathing techniques, stretching and simulated laughter exercises cultivated with playfulness. Janice has studied with Dr. Madan Kataria and is part of the World Laughter Organization. Participation at all five sessions is expected.

Facilitator: Janice Bannister is a stand-up comic, storyteller and owner of Laughter Zone 101, a comedy school that offers stand-up comedy and storytelling classes to all ages. She is a local New West producer of comedy shows such as the F is for Funny Series, Out of the Box, Laughs from the Past and Aunt Biddy’s Wake.

Register in advance for Wednesdays, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. January 13 – February 10

Universal/Inclusive Design

This Zoom program will introduce the topic of Universal/Inclusive Design, and look at both attitudinal and physical barriers that may prevent full access to community. We will specifically look at accessibility and inclusive/universal design for seniors and using a case study we will work collaboratively to develop a plan to address accessibility and inclusive/universal design issues in a given space. We will learn about change through advocacy and use our case study to present our report. Participation at all five sessions is expected. Program Facilitator: Wendy Parry

Register in advance for: Thursdays, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. January 21 – February 18

Explore Narrative Writing

Join facilitator Liz Orme for a five-week exploration of different writing genres that pertain to narrative: the personal essay, the short story, the narrative poem, and the short play. Participants will begin by listening to a reading selection (most likely an excerpt) that models the form in question, and then they will write. If they are interested, participants can share their work, via read-aloud, with others in the class, thus gaining some listener-response; they can also discuss their writing process and what they did to create the piece. To a great extent, this course will design itself based on participant bias, which means that writers can opt in and out of each week’s topic if they become captivated by something that occurred earlier in the course or if they prefer to explore a particular genre of their own. Participation at all five sessions is expected. 

Register in advance for Fridays, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. January 22 – February 19

IPhone / IPad Photos

Information on creating your own Photo Albums and taking & editing photos on your device.
Did you know you can make your own albums on your Apple device? Did you know you could change the colour of the photo you’ve taken, crop it, plus so much more? Participate in this workshop to learn these tools and more!  Facilitators:  Joy St. John and Valerie Ross

Register in advance for Tuesday, January 26 at 1:30 p.m.

Quarantunes Singalong

Join us for six weeks of virtual online singing.  Life is better when we sing together, so come get your collective dose of musical joy!  We’ll focus on songs that are fun, inspiring and easy to learn, songs you can carry with you throughout your days.  No musical experience?  No problem!  All voices welcome, come as you are.  

Program Facilitator Lisa Barker says, “We’ll be together on Zoom so we’ll see each other’s beautiful faces. To avoid sound delays, participants’ mics are turned off during each song and only the leader’s voice is heard.  We’ll unmute between songs and include some interactive participation to help spark joy and foster human connection.”

Register in advance for Wednesdays, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. February 17 – March 17

Western Art History with optional art making

Do you need some creative inspiration?  Do you miss travel and going to museums?  Are you interested in learning about art movements and their origins?  Then this course is for you.  A blend of Western Art History and creative inspiration.  This course will take you on a journey of art movements from pre-historic times to today. 

At the end of each session, you can further your studies by creating art: a poem, colouring, drawing, painting, photograph, an essay, whatever you choose.  Various step by step instructions and colouring pages will be provided.  The art making is optional, but adds to the fun and reinforces learning. Participation at all five sessions is expected. Program Facilitator: Tania Cernezel

Register in advance for Fridays, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. February 5 – March 5

Drawing with artist Brandi Williams

During this class, Brandi will cover subjects ranging from shading, observational drawing, line drawing, 3D drawing, texture, blind drawing etc.

Brandi will review all supplies during the first class, so if you are uncertain about an item on the list, you can wait until then. You can pick up the supply list at Century House or call to have one emailed. 

Participation at all six sessions is expected. 
Register now for Tuesdays, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. February 2 – March 9

Thoughts & Emotions

In this course, facilitator Dr. Donna Golding will explore a range of issues and concerns with an aim to provide strategies that enhance psychological wellbeing. 

  • Stinkin’ Thinkin’— Let’s review some common Cognitive Errors & Distorted Beliefs and change our Stinkin’ Thinkin’ to more helpful styles!! 
  • The Power of Thoughts: Positive, Negative, Intentional, Reactive — Many people have learned, have become conditioned to, various ways of thinking.  Let’s review and test out some simple thought-provoking strategies! 
  • Emotional Awareness — This seminar outlines the relationships between various emotions, thoughts, and feelings and how they correlate to healthy psychological well-being.  Using one of my clients’ favourite charts, the Emotional Blockbuster Chart, you may participate in your personal assessment of your emotional wellbeing. 
  • Scared to Death about Dying: Let’s Talk About It — Share your fears, thoughts, and experiences to this group discussion where we can consider various (psychological, philosophical …) ways to come to terms with death. 

Participation at all four sessions is expected.
Register in advance for Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. February 18 – March 11

After registering for any of these sessions

You will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Don’t forget when you get the confirmation you will look for the words “click here to join,” click there a few minutes before the session. For programs that are more than one week, you can use the same link for all of the dates.

For more information contact Shelly Schnee, 604-519-1061 or sschnee@newwestcity.ca

Past sessions

Quarantine Kitchen Party with Guy Bureau

Email Confusions and Frustrations

Staying Connected – An introduction to Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype, Snapchat & Instagram.

Lifespan – how human development changes across our lifespan.

Exploring Writing – a four-day exploration of different creative writing genres

Learning about your Device

Last Reviewed on 2021-01-08