Toddish McWong goes to visit Robert Burns statue in Stanley Park
The Robert Burns statue in Stanley Park can easily be seen when you drive into the park. It is across from the Vancouver Rowing Club, looking southward across Coal Harbour towards Georgia Street.
People often ask me, “How did you become involved/interested in Burns.”
“Well…” I answer, “It all began one winter’s day at Simon Fraser University when no other students wanted to help carry a haggis for the annual Robert Burns Day ceremonies.” see full origins story at http://www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com/blog/OriginsofGungHaggisFatChoy/_archives/2004/1/16/14225.html
It was then in 1993, that I first coined the term “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” and created the nickname “Toddish McWong.”
It wasn’t until 1998 that I created the first Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in the living room of a friend’s town house. We entertained 16 invited guests with music, poetry, Chinese food and haggis. The next year I recreaed the dinner in a restaurant for 40 friends and called it a fundraiser for our dragon boat team. Each year the dinner roughly doubled in size, to 60, 100, 200, 400, then 590 in 2005.
In 2003, CBC Vancouver made a television performance special titled “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” it aired January 23/24 2004.
In 2004, December, I was interviewed by CBC The National’s Peter Mansbridge for the first “Road Story” which focussed on Vancouver’s multiculturalism.
In 2005, Simon Fraser University Recreation Department asked to create the “SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival.” – for which I invented “dragon cart racing” as a kind of “dragon boat on wheels.”
In 2007, The Seattle Caledonian Society asked to create a Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in Seattle. We successfully held it on February Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy Seattle: Scots-Americans enjoy a big success for a first initiative south of the border!
In 2008, Vancouver Celtic Fest asked me to play/represent Robert Burns in a fun poetry event called “Battle of the Bards.” I dressed up in a kilt and performed Burns poetry, against Irish poet “William Butler Yeats” and Welsh poet “Dylan Thomas”, played by actors Mark Downey and Damon Calderwood. Here’s my blog article: Toddish McWong’s “Robert Burns” wins Battle of the Bards at Celtic Fest
Life since 1993, has become increasingly Burnsian.
The 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner is set for January 25th, at Floata Seafood Restaurant in Vancouver Chinatown.
Tickets are $60 for individual or $600 for a table of 10 + service charges, and will be available soon – by the end of the week through Firehall Arts Centre.
It will be a grand extravaganza for both the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birthday + Chinese New Year’s Eve countdown for the Year of the Ox.
Todd examines the rededication plaque on the statue base, – photo J. Maxwell.
The rededication plaque reads:
Robert Burns’s sincere desire for friendship and brotherhood among all peoples is clearly shown in his many poems and songs. His poetry and letters, both serious and humorous are worthy of study by those who value liberty and freedom.
This memorial was rededicated on the 200th Anniversary of the Bard’s death by the Burns Club of Vancouver.
21 July 1996
“Then let us pray that come it may
(as come it will for a’ that)…
that man to man, the world o’er
shall birthers be for a’ that