2009 was an amazing year for Todd Wong and Gung Haggis Fat Choy
2009 opened with a life-size picture of Todd Wong included in “The
Party” exhibit at Royal BC Museum, and by November 30th – Todd was
encountering a life-size picture of himself at Scottish Parliament in
Edinburgh for the exhibit This is Who We Are: Scots in Canada.
It was an exciting year for the Joy Kogawa House Society, as the long sought dream of a writer-in-residence program became a reality. Montreal Arab-Canadian author John Asfour became the inaugural writer-in-residence and helped writers at Kogawa House as well as hosted events at the house, Vancouver Public Library's Central and Carnegie branches. By Christmas time author Joy Kogawa was enjoying her first Christmas season living in the house (temporarily) since she and her family had been forced to move in 1942 when they were sent to Internment Camps during WW2.
On November 28th, I set foot in Scotland for my first time ever. Since first wearing a kilt in 1993 for the SFU Robert Burns ceremonies and hosting the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner since 1998, I no longer have to say that I've never visited Scotland before. It was a short but exciting trip as I attended the closing night reception at Scottish Parliament for the exhibit This Is Who We Are: Scots in Canada – co-hosted by the Scottish First Minster and Presiding Officer. I also visited Edinburgh Castle and many things Robbie Burns, as I made my way to Alloway in Ayrshire to visit the birthplace of Robert Burns at Burns Cottage. It had only just re-opened to the public and I had a special tour by manager of the Burns National Heritage Park.
This is a review of some my my favorite stories and events from 2009.
January 1st, 2009
A life-size picture of Todd Wong aka “Toddish McWong” is included in Free Spirit exhibition at Royal BC Museum. The exhibit closed on January 14th 2009.
VisitScotland comes to Vancouver to celebrate Homecoming Scotland with Toddish McWong and Gung Haggis Fat Choy
and brings special limited edition of 37 year old Famous Grouse whisky to auction off at the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.
Georgia Straight news article
Georgia Straight: Why Canada will never have an Obama, except maybe Todd Wong
Westender: Gung Haggis celebrates Canadian interculturalism – article by Jackie Wong
January 25th Robbie Burns Day 250th Anniversary celebration at Burns Statue in Stanley Park
250th Anniversary of Robert Burns recognized with poems at statue in Vancouver's Stanley Park
January 25th Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's 250th Robbie Burns Birthday
Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner was a big success – worth 2 ceremonial
Louis Lapprend makes a youtube video of the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner event
Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2009 Dinner highlights on Youtube
Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy, Sunday February 15th.
3rd annual Gung Haggis dinner in Seattle Washington, hosted by Bill McFadden of the Caledonian and St. Andrew's Society of Seattle. Bagpiper Joe McDonald and Todd Wong travel to Seattle to perform and MC the event.
April 6-11th Tartan Week in Vancouver
Tartan Day and Scotland Week celebrated by SFU's Centre for Scottish
Studies with Michael Russell, Scottish Parliamentary Minister for
May 22nd – Todd and Deb go kayaking on Mayne Island
Kayaking in the Gulf Islands: we visit Belle Islets Chain
May 30th – Final event for Kogawa House inaugural writer in residence John Asfour with Gary Geddes, Ann Erikson and Shelagh Rogers
Another Magical Evening for final event of Historic Joy Kogawa House's inaugural writer-in-residence program
Todd's first day in Scotland
I start off in Glasgow, visit a Haggis exhibit at Kelvingrove Museum, take the train to Edinburgh and attend the official Homecoming Finale ceilidh on the Golden Mile.
CBC Radio interview from Scottish Parliament – On the Cost with Stephen Quinn
“Vancouverite Todd Wong has been celebrating Scottish culture in this
city for years with his Gung Haggis Fat Choy celebration. Now he's in
the home of the Highlands. Stephen caught up with Todd to find out what
he is doing in Edinburgh this week. Listen to the interview.(runs 6:58)”
Todd Wong visits Robert Burns Cottage in Alloway Scotland. After extensive renovations, Burns Cottage is reopened to the public on Nov. 30th. Todd Wong has a special tour with Caroline Green, manager of Burns Heritage Park.
Christmas Party at Kogawa House
This is the 1st Christmas season, that author Joy Kogawa has spent at her childhood home, since they were removed and sent to WW2 internment camps in 1942. Friends and family of both Joy Kogowa and Kogawa House attend.
Todd does a short CBC Radio One interview for On the Coast – answering
questions about the Scottish origins of singing Auld Lang Syne.
To be continued