Here is Lewis Kane with me at the Burns Statue in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. We had earlier been at the Burns Poetry Marathon at Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre where Lewis had played my Accordion for Auld Lang Syne, and I had performed a “rap” version of Burns’ Address to the Haggis.
Then I told Lewis about the Burns statue in Stanley Park – which he didn’t know about… So off we went to Stanley Park, after a quick stop to the Liquor Store and the food court where we found styrofoam glasses and a paper plate.
On the way to the park, Lewis asked 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.gunghaggis.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.”
The Burns statue is at the entrance to Stanley Park, across from the Vancouver Rowing Club. It was unveiled in 1928. The rededication plaque reads:
“This statue of Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Bard, was unveiled by J. Ramsay MacDonald, a Prime Minister of Britain, on 25th August, 1928. 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
At the statue we met a man and a woman who were sitting in the sunshine, at the base of the statue. We struck up a good friendly conversation by asking how they came to the Burns statue today, and where were they from? Peter was from Tasmania, and Laura had just picked him up from the Vancouver airport, and on Sunday they would drive to Seattle where she lives.
Peter was amazed at the coincidence of our meeting. He has Scottish ancestry, and he was very surprised to 1) find a Burns statue in Vancouver, 2) to meet somebody from Scotland (Lewis) 3) that two people (us) would bring a haggis and a bottle of scotch to the Burns statue and 4) that we would invite him to the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner in Vancouver on January 27th, and in Seattle on February 17.
We took pictures for each other, then left the haggis and a cup with a bit of whisky in it, as an offering for Rabbie. Years ago, somebody used to leave a glass cup with whisky in it for Rabbie, along with a rose… but I haven’t seen it done now for a couple of years.
In 2008, we celebrated the 250th Anniversary of the Birth of Robert Burns, with an informal ceremony and readings at the statue. Read the story here: http://www.gunghaggis.com/2009/01/29/250th-anniversary-of-robert-burns-recognized-with-poems-at-statue-in-vancouvers-stanley-park/