Chuck Davis' “History of Metropolitan Vancouver” mentions a Robbie Burns Dinner in Vancouver Chinatown
I am sorry to say that Chuck Davis never attended a Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.
following entry in “The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver”,
1935, ISBN 978-1-55017-533-2 (2011 edition) at page 151 states as
follows: (brought to my attention by David J. Bilinsky)
(entry for 1928)
AUGUST 25 A statute of the famed Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-96)
was unveiled in Stanley Park by the Rt Hon. Ramsay Macdonald, the former
British Prime Minister. The bronze and granite statute is an exact
replica of one standing in Burns' birthplace in Ayrshire, Scotland
(Local Scots annually mark Robbie Burns Day on January 25, but it was in
the 1930's that fervour was particularly marked. Even the Chinatown
Lions' Club organized an annual Burns dinner, complete with haggis
served with a sweet and sour sauce.)
Chuck and I knew each other though… I first encountered him many times at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, where he would often come to do research. Later, I became involved with Chinese Canadian historical events and issues, and our paths would cross. One time, we had a lengthy chat about the Janet Smith murder case, when a Scottish nanny was killed in Vancouver, and a Chinese house boy, was wrongfully accused of the murder, then later acquitted.
– photo Todd Wong
But Chuck did came to speak to the Vancouver Library workers during a historic
1st time ever strike – when I invited him to come out. He was always very proud
that his book “The Vancouver Book” was the 2nd most stolen book at the
Vancouver Public Library.
– photo Todd Wong
I had organized an author's reading series for the CUPE 391 strikeline, inspired by 2 reasons.
1) Victoria author Terry Glavin had wanted to do research at VPL
2) a lot of community groups such as the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra had booked the
community rooms at VPL, and could no longer have a space to do public programs.
This picture was takenin 2009, to mark the 250th birthday of Robbie
Burns. We also did a virtual wreath laying in “2nd Life” – organized by
Dr. Leith Davis – director of Centre for Scottish Studies SFU – who had
just flown into Vancouver YVR from Scotland, and came straight to our
ceremony. That night at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner – she declared
it the best Burns Dinner she had ever attended – having spent the
previous week in Scotland attending many Burns Suppers.
Read the story of the event here:
250th Anniversary of Robert Burns recognized with poems at statue in Vancouver's Stanley Park
The Chinatown Lion Club dinners began at the Bamboo Terrace Restaurant
just over 50 years ago. They continued for many years, many of them organized by
Vancouver lawyer Chuck Lew, but dwindled in recent years. I attended
one of the dinners at Floata – possibly in 2009. We did a one time
merger… maybe in 2010. I asked Chuck about creating a 50th
Anniversary Robbie Burns Chinatown dinner for Vancouver Chinatown Lions
Club – but I don't think they ever had one… He told me that it was
getting harder to organize… and even had asked me about organizing the
dinner for the Chinatown Lions Club – which I declined, in order to focus on Gung Haggis Fat Choy events.
For the record – Chinatown Lions Club always served the haggis
traditional style with sweet and sour sauce (or some kind of Chinese
sauce). They never ventured into fusion cuisine. Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinners have created a number of haggis-fusion-cuisine dishes –
including: deep fried haggis won-tons, deep fried haggis / seafood
dumplings, haggis won ton soup, haggis spring rolls, steamed haggis /
shrimp dumplings, steamed haggis / pork dumplings, haggis lettuce wrap.