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Century House Association

Century House Association, New West, B.C.

Century House Association, New Westminster, B.C.

OCTOPUS Technology & Information Education

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

Century House will launching Octopus 3, Evolving Technology for Seniors in fall 2022. This continues our outreach to seniors in the community with a focus on technology and information. We seek proposals from people who can develop and lead programs that are technology-based or based on art, music, anything creative or educational.   

We have been offering these programs almost since the start of COVID, to help our members keep their brains active and to socialize, and we expect to continue long after. 

Many of these programs are presented by Century House Association members; others bring in the expertise of local seniors. These sessions take place on Zoom, or a hybrid of in-person and online.  


These are current and recent sessions. Please see the Clarion newsletter or the blog for details of upcoming sessions.  We will list new programs here soon.

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 No previous book club experience is needed. The size of the group may be limited by the availability of the books at the library.

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. If you are interested in joining, but unsure about Zooming and podcasts, we can help!

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.

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 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.

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).

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.

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

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.

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

This workshop will include: information on creating your own photo albums and taking and editing photos on your device. Did you know you can make your own albums on your Samsung or LG device? Or any device that uses the Android operating system. Tablets included. 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: Gail Craft and Valerie Ross

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.”

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

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.

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.

This series is designed to support anyone who is interested in developing or enhancing a regular writing routine. Participants will write based on prompts derived from a variety of genres: short story, novel, non-fiction, memoir, and poetry. Through the prompts, writers are welcome to explore all the genres on offer or to focus on just one or two, depending on their interests. Typically, classes follow a read-write-share formula, but this will shift depending on the desires, needs and suggestions of the group. Facilitated by Liz Orme.

Dictating text to your computer, phone or tablet is now so accurate and easy that you should consider it as one of your everyday tools. This session will demonstrate it and show you how to set it up and try it. It is NOT about controlling your device or your house by voice, using Alexa, Siri, etc.

 Preview is one of the most flexible, powerful and useful tools on your Mac desktop or laptop – and it’s free, built into the operating system. In this session of Tech Time with Tim, you’ll learn power-user tricks that are easy for everyone. Some of them will even solve problems you didn’t know you had! Preview is a tool for looking at images, including PDF files (which are essentially pictures of documents), so that’s what we’ll look at, with live examples:• How to look at PDF files: merge, extract, print, annotate, and more. We’ll even use it to print a document that Word can’t print for some reason.• Editing and converting images and photosThis session is suitable for you if you have a Mac desktop or laptop and you’re reasonably comfortable using it. If you have used PDFs, images and photos, that’s nice, but not essential; maybe this will get you started.

Tim Hicks is one of our technical experts, but also an avid traveller. In this session, Tim will demonstrate and explain the awesome power of Google Maps, and also the My Maps feature for making custom maps.

Join our popular online facilitator Wendy Parry for this exciting new program. There are many factors that determine the style and meaning of a work of art. Throughout history, art has provoked outrage, and contempt as well as admiration, respect, and awe. Art cannot be removed from the context in which it was created and is always subjected to all kinds of critique. In this program will we explore the changing landscape of how and why art constantly changes and shifts. We will look at how as societies, interpretations and insights into art also change. We will look at five different art periods (movements) and learn about the artists who shaped them, what was going on in society that inspired the shift and discuss the changing contexts and look more closely at the intent and meaning behind some of the seminal works of art. In exploring the art, hopefully you will be inspired to create your own masterpiece as the program will include optional art creating! The last 30 minutes will be reserved for sharing!

Great art can be challenging, complex, and mysterious. Have you ever looked at a piece of art and wondered about its history? How did it come to be? What was the artist’s motivation and how did it come to hang in a certain gallery? If you have then this program may be of interest to you. In this program we will explore some of the world most exciting art museums/galleries. Each week we will travel to a new museum to uncover its secrets, discover and learn about intriguing masterworks and take a deep dive into learning about the life and times of the artist. Each week is designed to reveal interesting facts and history about a particular museum, take a closer look at some well-known masterpieces (and some lesser-known ones as well) and discover more about the artist(s) who created them. In exploring the art, hopefully you will be inspired to create your own masterpiece as the program will include optional art creating!

 Facilitated by the Food Skills for Families ProgramLet’s make new friends in our virtual kitchen! Learn and share fun hands-on cooking and baking skills. Together we will make healthier eating delicious, easy and fun! Three one-hour weekly Zoom sessions with the Food Skills for Families program. Each participant receives a program handbook and a grocery gift card to purchase the session’s recipe ingredients. Get ready to cook and bake alongside everyone in the comfort of your own kitchen! Meet new people and make delicious healthy food together. Virtual fun in the kitchen! After you are approved for registration you will be contacted to pick up your handbook and grocery card at Century House. Please note you will need to commit to attending all of the sessions. Limited Registration.

Join us for six weeks of this virtual singing program. We’ll sing familiar songs from different genres and decades, e.g. Beatles from the 60s; Folk Music from the 70s. No singing experience needed. To avoid Zoom time lag problems, participants’ mics are turned off during each song so only you (and anyone in your home) will hear you when you sing along with the program leader. We’ll unmute between songs to chat and share memories associated with the songs we sing. Singing warms our hearts and lifts our spirits! You may join this ongoing program at any time. Facilitator: Karin Roberts, MAMT, MTA

Ebikes are fun! If you want to ride farther, go up hill with ease, travel longer distances,and make cycling a regular activity, it’s time to go electric. Join Gordon Hobbis, owner of Cap’s Bicycles in New Westminster, for a rundown of what an ebike is. Gordon will go over the types of bikes in the market, what to consider when you are making a purchase and how to care for your new bike.

Watch a Ted Talk with a group on zoom, stay for a facilitated discussion afterwards. You will watch the video together and then stay for a discussion. Facilitated by Sydney McGillis.

Join artist Peri Nilan to create a new piece of art each week using your favourite drawing materials and your choice of colour mediums. The first week we will start with quick doodle sketches, then use these as collage to create an abstract artwork. In subsequent weeks we will complete a variety of projects, encouraging development of creative thinking skills and experimentation with combining different mediums. Instruction will include demonstration with a variety of mediums, tips on composition development, step by step instruction, and how to critique your own artwork.

This class will include: 

  • The A to Zees about Facebook including, security, private groups, adding and downloading pictures, iMessenger and more. 
  • A refresher class on: Password safety, and the difference between browsers. 

Please bring your questions to the class on any of these topics or other problems you may be having. Facilitators: Joy St. John and Valerie Ross

Why are so many people using these google tools?!
Does it cost to use the google tools?
Can Google Docs and Drive be used on an Android device??
Facilitators: Joy St. John and Valerie Ross


Let’s share our collective knowledge about Electronic Devices. This class will be informal where you bring your problem about any of your devices to the class. We’ll all try to solve each other’s problems and frustrations. I know I’ve learnt lots from all of you who have attended my classes. Send in your problem in advance if you wish.   


  1. Flash drives / jump drives / thumb drives and external hard drives for extra storage – what is the differences in them and how do I download to them. 
  2. Basic Zoom help. Come with your problems and questions. 
  3. Where do I find podcasts? How to download podcasts. 
  4. What happened to my iTunes List of music? 
  5. How do I make folders on my iPhone home screen and move my apps to the folder. What happens when my iPhone apps al start to jiggle?? 
  6. Got a question about your device? 

  Facilitators: Joy St. John and Valerie Ross

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