Category Archives: Wine, spirits and beer

Auchentoshan single malts whisky will be available for tastings at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner

We will have tastings of scotch whisky coming to the 2013 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner.  Auchentoshan Three Wood is one of my favorites single malt whiskies.  Fortunately, the representatives of Auchentoshan will be bringing 3 whiskies: Classic, 12 Year + Three Wood.  The Auchentoshan distillery is just outside of Glasgow, on the North side toward Loch Lomand.

The first day of my visit to Scotland… I went to a Ceilidh dance at The Hub in Edinburgh, for the finale weekend celebrations of the Year of Homecoming Scotland.  I asked the bartender to recommend a whisky for me, and he picked up a bottle of Auchentoshan Three Wood. It was very nice.

The second time I had Auchentoshan was when I bought a bottle of Three Wood for my bagpiper friend Allan McMordie’s 55th Birthday.  I had remembered that I liked it in Scotland, and it was on sale at the LCB store.  Good choice.  We both liked it.

We have had free scotch tastings at Gung Haggis dinners before.  Last year, we had tastings of a blended whisky called Kuch Nai – it is marketed for India and is a value blended whiskey that is designed to compete with Johnny Walker Red Label and Famous Grouse.

In 2008, Johnny Walker was tasted from bottles of Black, Green and Gold Label brands.  In 2009, we tasted Famous Grouse blend, as well as Macallan and Highland Park single malts which are what is used in the Famouse Grouse.

Back in May I went to the Grand Lifford Tasting and met people from both the Auchentoshan and Bowmore distilleries.  Cara actually grew up on the Island of Islay, and now works at the Bowmore Distillery.  She is holding up a bottle of the 15 year old Sherry cask Bowmore Darkest  In 2010, my brother gave this bottle to me for my birthday.  Yum…

Here we are with three people from Edgemont Wines and Spirts: John, Crystal and Tony.  The representative from Auchentoshan/Bowmore holds a bottle of Three Wood.  Don Harder is my friend and I named him the official Gung Haggis Fat Choy whisky ambassador, because 1) he loves good whisky and 2) he was going to Scotland this past summer, and planning to visit lots of distilleries.

Tony is the fellow third from left.  He poured the scotch tastings last year and gave quick talks about it.  He’ll be doing the same again for this year.

And if you can believe it – the representative for Lifford Wine & Spirits is Chinese Canadian.  Her last name is Lau, and she told me she had always been interested in coming to Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner.  Welcome Irene.. and thank you for bringing the single malt whisky!

Tickets for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
can be purchased ticket online or over the phone with a credit card, please call Kristin Cheung at Ricepaper magazine at 604-872-3464.

Click here for online purchase RSVP TODAY

Scotch tasting in Victoria


I visited with my friend Mary, who bicycled across the Isle of Islay a few years ago.  While we have talked scotch before, we have never drank any together… until Thursday night.

Favorites for the evening were the Macallan 12, Glenlivet and Laphroaig.   The Macallan 15 had previously been served at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner when Famous Grouse came as a scotch sponsor – the 15 is smooth, the 12 is nice… but I don’t much care for the 10.  Usually it’s the Glenlivet 12 that is usually served in bars and restaurants, so the 18 was nice and rich (I have a bottle of Glenlivet 15 Oak waiting to be opened).  Laphroaig is a lovely smoky Islay… one of my favorites!

I had never had the Arran Malt before.  They are the same distillery making the Robert Burns single malt – that none of my whisky drinking musician friends will touch… (except one, and he bought it on sale).  This Auchentoshan select was nothing special… I think Mary said she uses it for cooking.  But the Auchentoshan Three Wood is one of my favorites – very rich.

It was great fun to be tasting with Mary and her husband Mike, I hope to host them for an evening of tastings when they come to Vancouver.

In 2011, Mary and Mike spent the summer in Scotland.  From June to August, they hiked, biked and sailed in some of the remote areas of Scotland.

Check out Mary’s blog here:

2009 Year of Gung Haggis Fat Choy from Royal BC Museum in Victoria to Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

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.

Photo Library - 2907 by you.

January 20th

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.

Raise Money for your Favourite Charity with Limited edition bottles of The Famous Grouse up for Auction

January 20th
Georgia Straight news article

Georgia Straight: Why Canada will never have an Obama, except maybe Todd Wong

January 22nd

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

2009_January 178 by you.

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

DSC_3928_103489 - Mayor Gregor Robertson doing the honours by FlungingPictures.

February 4th
Louis Lapprend makes a youtube video of the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner event

Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2009 Dinner highlights on Youtube

February 15th
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.

March 15th

Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums & dragon boat paddlers… brave the snow in the Vancouver Celticfest St. Patrick's Day Parade

2009_March 104click here for Flickr photo set

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

April 20th
Purdy Party at Joy Kogawa House with Shelagh Rogers, John Asfour &
3 nominated poets for BC Book Prizes: Daphne Marlatt, George Stanley
and Nilofar Shidmehr

2009_April_Kogawa 059

May 19th

John Asfour, Kogawa House writer-in-residence gives reading at
Vancouver Public Library with Marcus Youssef and Adrienne Wong of
Neworld Theatre

2009_May_KogawaHouse 020

May 22nd – Todd and Deb go kayaking on Mayne Island

Kayaking in the Gulf Islands: we visit Belle Islets Chain

and visit

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

2009_May_KogawaHouse 101

June 20/21

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team has a great weekend at Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

2009_June 060 click for Flickr pictures

July 18th

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team places 4th overall at Richmond Dragon Boat Races

July 24/25

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team heats up Vernon Races

2009_July_VernonDragonBoat 005

August 8th

Todd Wong elected to board of The Land Conservancy of BC

2009_Aug_TLC 052

October 10

Gung Haggis paddlers compete at Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta: 1st in B Final 5th in A Final

2009_Oct_Ft_Langley_cranberry_canoe_race 111

November 29
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.

2009_Scotland_1 101

November 30
Toddish McWong arrives in Scotland for inaugural visit and reception at Scottish Parliament for “This is Who We Are”

2009_Scotland_ThisIsWhoWeAre 097 by you.

November 30

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)”

December 4th
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.

2009_Scotland6 105

December 21st
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. 

December 31st
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

Last Kilts Night of Summer – Sep 03 @ Doolin's Irish Pub

September 03
Doolin's Irish Pub

Kilts Night at Doolin's has been a tradition since January 1st, 2005
That's when Terry “Bear” Varga and I joined Raphael at Doolin's Irish
Pub, when we discovered that the Atlantic Trap and Gill was closed on
New Year's Day.  Kilts Night had been the first Saturday of the month
for awhile… long before me, anyways.

Now we meet at:
Doolin's Irish Pub
Nelson & Granville St.

8:00pm to Midnight
Wear yer Kilt to receive a Free Pint of Guinness

I have 3 kilts + 1 mini-kilt  available for 4 people wanting

LIVE Music w' Halifax Wharf Rats.

The August Kilts Night was GREAT!
We were also invaded by the World Police & Fire Games
What happens when Kilts meet Police athletes from around the world?
We met Spanish female pentathletes and Norwegian male hockey players + a Pub Crawl “from the Troller to the Raven”.

2009_Aug_KiltsNight 004 by you.

Raphael, Todd and Stuart with Spanish pentathletes for World Police & Fire Games

Winetasting in the Southern Okanagan: Summerland and Naramata Bench

Wine tasting and exploring in Summerland and Naramata regions of Southern Okanagan

– Part One

2009_Aug_Kalamalka 085 Todd & Deb taste the delicious fruit wines of Elephant Island Orchard Winery.

I am glad that my girlfriend Deb enjoys wine tasting, and trying out the many different Okanagan wines of BC.  On BC Day, August 3rd Monday, we travelled with friends to the Summerhill and Naramata Bench growing areas.  Only 2 hours south of Vernon, where Deb's parents live, the area is dryer and more sun drenched.  The hills are softer and less steep than Kalamalka Lake's Predator Ridge and Kalamalka Park.

It probably started with our official first date when I brought over a bottle of Summerhill Cipes Brut sparkling wine to help celebrate her new job.  3 months later we explored the Kelowna area wineries of Mission Hill, Quail's Gate, Mt. Boucherie, and Summerhill Pyramid winery.  We also drove up to to Silver Star ski resort to try out the 2nd annual Okanagan Summer Wine Festival. 

Last year, we took our friends Craig and Zsuzsanna to Summerhill Pyramid winery, and Sumac Ridge Estates.  This time we felt it we wanted to explore farther south to Summerland and Naramata Bench – where Deb hadn't been in 20 years, despite being raised in the North Okanagan.

We visited Thornhaven, Dirty Laundry and Sleeping Giant fruit winery in Summerhill, part of the “Bottleneck Drive” group of local wineries to promote the growing wine business on the west side of Okanagan Lake.  Then we visited the Naramatat Bench, home to BC's largest concentration of wineries, but only had enough time to visit Elephant Island Orchard Winery and Soaring Eagle Estates – before they closed at 6pm.

Grapes at Soaring Eagle Estates.

Thornhaven Estates was the first winery we checked in at.  After the 2 hour long drive from Vernon, we ate our sandwiches in the car.  But we could have relaxed and eaten on the lovely and inviting adobe styled outdoor patio at Thornhaven.  It looks exotic in the “Great White North” of Canada – but the Sonoran desert plateau of the American Southwest actually extends all the way into Canada near Oosooyoos.

More pictures on Toddish McWong's flickr link:

2009 July Winetasting

2009 July Winetasting

Eating on Mayne Island… 4 eateries… all delicious!

Holidays and good food go together.

2009_May_Mayne Island 171Menu board on the patio of the Wild Fennel restaurant on Mayne Island – photo Todd Wong

On Mayne Island we visited the Wild Fennel Restaurant, Springwater Lodge, the newly renovated “Brickworks Restaurant on the Bay” at the Mayne Inn Resorts, and I even had breakfast at the Sunny Mayne Bakery Café.  So I did indeed visit all four restaurants listed in the Mayne Island brochure found on the BC Ferry, and also listed on the Mayne Island Chamber website:

We had caught the 7:20 ferry from Tsawwassen, so I ate dinner in the BC Ferry Restaurant, which is basically a  mini White Spot.  I had the bacon & cheese burger with fries… but substituted a soft drink for the frozen coffee drink that had a lot of mocha in it!  Definitely better than Tim Hortons!

At 7am, Friday, I woke up early and wanted to find a place for coffee and breakfast.  Where do the locals go?  It's the Sunny Mayne Bakery Café where I found delicious fried potatoes and scrambled eggs, which I ate with ketchup and HP Sauce.  Perfect!  They even make cappucinos and mochas too.  I opted for plain coffee to which I added some chocolate, honey, and cream.  Located in the town centre on 472 Village Bay Road, beside Tru Value Foods.

2009_May_Mayne Island 092 View of Bennett Bay from Bricksworks restaurant at Mayne Inn Resorts – photo Todd Wong

We went kayaking on Friday, and was very tempted to try to buy fresh crabs from the boat hauling up their crab traps in Bennett Bay – but I didn't bring my wallet on our 2 1/2 hour kayak excursion.  🙁

Oh well, after burning up an appetite kayaking and hiking to Campbell Point, we headed to “Brickworks Restaurant on the Bay” at the Mayne Inn Resorts.  The Resort is undergoing some rennovations, so it looks like it is closed from the street.  But we drove in and found a lovely upscale setting.  With a stunning view of Bennett Bay, we sat down and quickly ordered the special of the day, “Seafood Wellington” – salmon, haddock and prawns baked in puff pastry.  At $18, it was large and reasonably priced.  We cut it in two and shared it, along with the vegetables and rice pilaf.  We sat on the remaining sun on the patio and enjoyed our dinner along with Strongbow and cider.  If we hadn't already planned to spend the sunset hours on the other side of the island, we might have stayed longer.  I was tempted by the $3.99 pub special of a chocolate shooter cup, filled with “your choice” of liquer….

2009_May_Mayne Island 097 Haddock, Salmon and Prawns stuffed into something called Seafood Wellington.  It's a good thing I like to eat my rice and brocolli.-  photo Todd Wong

History of the Springwater Lodge

We next drove to the other side of the island, back to the town centre at Miner's Bay.  At 6pm, there was still a lot of time to fill before darkness fell, and on a small island there isn't a lot to do.  Best thing is go to the pub!  The good ol' hockey game was on the tv set, next to the pool tables.  Detroit 3, Chicago 1.  We went and sat on the patio, enjoying the wonderful view of Active Pass where we had seen orcas from the ferry only 24 hours earlier.  The 3 people at the table beside us all ordered the $18 chipotle prawn special, and said it was very good.  The other table had ordered 2 piece Fish & Chips and that looked good and was much cheaper at $11.99  We ordered the 3 piece for about $1.50 more and shared.  We also ordered the Mission Hill white and red wines.  What a wonderful way to spend a summer evening… restaurant hopping and having wonderful food.  No Killer Whales were spotted, but the BC Ferries tooted their horns and passed each other in Active Pass.

The Historic Springwater Lodge was originally built in 1892, and is the oldest continuously operated hotel in BC.  It was stopping point for miners headed to the Fraser River and Caribou Gold Rush. 

2009_May_Mayne Island 102 View from Springwater Lodge patio.  BC Ferries in the distance – photo Todd Wong

2009_May_Mayne Island 172 Peter smiles after telling us that he is the one (of the partners) that is responsible for the art work. – photo Todd Wong

After driving past the Wild Fennell 4 times on Friday, we went back on Saturday specifically for lunch.  It was the restaurant recommended by our kayaking guide,
and we also remembered it the book “Best Places to Kiss in the
Northwest – a romantic travel guide
.”  It's a cosy little place filled with art created by one of
the owners – Peter.  The food was very good, and not out of line with
any of the “west coast bistros” throughout Metro Vancouver – but it had
that special Gulf Island charm, and the prices are quite reasonable. The shrimp soup with wild mushrooms was very nice, and our sandwiches were delicious.  I had the smoked tuna clubhouse with shrimp and avocado aoeli.  Deb had the vegetarian hoagy with ceasar salad.  I think they were about $12 or $14 each. The restaurant is located at the Fernhill Plaza next to the Tree Frog Gallery, the Mackenzie Gallery of Fine Art and the nice store with all the glass work and pottery.

2009_May_Mayne Island 169Smoked tuna Clubhouse sandwich with shrimp and avocado aoeli, and with the Shrimp and Wild Mushroom soup of the day.  Yum!

2009_May_Mayne Island 170

Deb had the vegetarian hoagie with a caesar salad.  Lots of red and orange peppers, mushrooms, and greens.  Double yum!

Happy Chinese New Year! Gee…. it's a lot like Scottish Hogmanay!

2009_January 234 by you.
A very multicultural group of poetry loving revelers shared food and drink at Library Square Pub on Chinese New Year's Day. Two international students from Brasil joined us along with Karen, a man from Iran, 5th generation Vancouverite Todd Wong, born in Scotland June Ventners-Clark, Peter Clark, Phoenix and Sherry Shigasu.

After the World Poetry Gung Haggis Fat Choy Gala at the Vancouver Public Library, some of us went to the Library Square Pub.  Monday night appetizers were 2 for 1.  We had nachos, spring rolls, popcorn shrimp and chicken wings.  Our multicultural crowd counted ancestry from around the world: Brazil, China, Japan, Scotland, Iran, Germany, India and more!

There are many similarities between Chinese New Year's Eve and Scottish Hogmanay:

1) Make lots of noise.  Chinese light firecrackers to create loud noises to scare away bad spirits.  Scottish also create loud noise by clanking kitchen pots and setting off cannons and church bells.  Doors are opened to let out bad spirits.

2) Pay off your debts. 
Chinese like to ensure that you start off the New Year with no debts
hanging onto your personal feng shui.  I think the Scots do the
same but especially to ensure that they aren't paying anymore interest.

3) Have lots of good food and visit friends.  Eat lots and be merry.  Both Scots and Chinese enjoy eating, hosting their friends and visiting their friends.  If you spend all your time visiting friends, then you don't have to cook for anybody.  But good guests always bring good gifts too!

4) Party on dude!  In
Asia, Chinese New Year celebrations will go on for days, lasting up to
a week!  Sort of like Boxing week sales in Canada.  In
Scotland, the Scots are proud partyers and are well known for making
parties last for days on end.

250th Anniversary of Robert Burns recognized with poems at statue in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

Informal gathering celebrates the 250th Anniversary of poet Robbie Burns birth, at Stanley Park statue

2009_January 178 by you.

Our group of Burns celebrants included bagpipers Trish and Allan McMordie (very rear), members of the Burns Club of Vancouver, members of the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University, some visitors from Scotland, and lots of Vancouverites included myself.

Three television cameras from CBC, CTV and Global came out to film our little ceremony.  Friends would later report that they saw me on the evening news on Sunday.

2009_January 118

I had never before attended a “wreath laying” at the Robbie Burns statue.  In fact, I had never before visited the the Robbie Burns statue on Robbie Burns Day.  Often, I simply passed it, as I drove along Georgia Street enroute to the Stanley Park Causeway and Lion’s Gate Bridge.

But this year was different.  It was the 250th Anniversary of Robert Burns, and I had contacted a few organizations back in December.  Dr. Leith Davis of the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University, had committed to contacting Burns Clubs and Scottish organizations around the world whose cities also had statues of Robert Burns

When I arrived just before 12 noon, there were already some bagpipers playing tunes in front of the statue.  Surprise!  It was Trish and Allan McMordie, of the JP Fell Pipe Band from North Vancouver.  It was exactly one year ago on Robbie Burns Day, when Allan and I first met at the Rock 101 Bro’ Jake show.  Allan also came to Vancouver City Hall, when I received the City Proclamation for Tartan Day, and we created a photo op with then Mayor Sam Sullivan, and councilors Heather Deal, George Chow, Tim Stevenson, BC Lee, Kim Capri.  See: Tartan Day (April 6) proclaimed in City of Vancouver, April 3.

2009_January 117

My friend Stuart Mackinnon, newly elected Parks Commissioner, was there with his doggy companion Kiku.  Stuart was dressed in his kilt and sweater ensemble.  To see Stuart this past week, at the VDLC and Gung Haggis Fat Choy Burns suppers, you would think he’s been wearing kilts all his life – but it’s not true.  He only started wearing kilts less than 2 years ago, after he joined the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.

Also attending, were some members of the Burns Club of Vancouver, and from the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University.  Some onlookers came up to ask if they could take our pictures – especially with the bagpipers, as Trish and Allan McMordie were wearing their “dress whites.”

2009_January 128

Ray Eagle sang “My Luv is Like a Red Red Rose” and I put a red rose into his hand, to the delight of the crowd.

2009_January 135

Robert Barr of the Burns Club of Vancouver, talked about how when the Robbie Burns statue was put up in 1929, it was the first statue in Vancouver, and a thousand people came to watch the statue unveiling by J. Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister of Britain, on 25th August, 1928.

2009_January 157

Dr. Leith Davis, director for the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University, talked about her new virtual project of setting up a wreath laying and Burns statue in Second Life.  She only arrived back in Vancouver the night before after having spent 2 weeks in Scotland for Homecoming Scotland activities. We took a group picture, that Leith then sent to other Burns statues ceremony groups around the world.  With the television cameras on us, I led spontaneous singings of “Happy Birthday Dear Rabbie” and “Auld Lang Syne.”To close our ceremonies, I performed the immortal Burns poem, “Address to a Haggis” with audience participation repeating the last line of each verse.  Both Leith and the Burns Club members complimented my performance as one of the best they’ve seen.  I have definitely improved over my last year’s reading of “Address to the Haggis” at last year’s Burns Club Vancouver Burns Supper.  I actually know the entire thing by heart now

2009_January 180

When I arrived just before 12 noon, there were already some bagpipers playing tunes in front of the statue.  Surprise!  It was Trish and Allan McMordie, of the JP Fell Pipe Band from North Vancouver.  It was exactly one year ago on Robbie Burns Day, when Allan and I first met at the Rock 101 Bro’ Jake show.  Allan also came to Vancouver City Hall, when I received the City Proclamation for Tartan Day, and we created a photo op with then Mayor Sam Sullivan, and councilors Heather Deal, George Chow, Tim Stevenson, BC Lee, Kim Capri.  See: Tartan Day (April 6) proclaimed in City of Vancouver, April 3.

2009_January 184

Here’s the bottle! It was auctioned off that evening at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Robbie Burns Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner for $750 CDN.  Half of the funds will stay in Vancouver, and half will go to Scotland’s National Trust to help sponsor the Chinese punch bowl that Robbie Burns used at his brother Gilbert’s wedding.

Here are previous articles I wrote about the George Lawson statue of Robert Burns:

Robert Burns Statue in Vancouver’s Stanley Park\

on Tue 09 Dec 2008 Burns statue in Stanley Park

on Sat 24 Jan 2009
Burns Statue in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, The rededication plaque reads: “This
statue of Robert

Burns statue in Vancouver’s Stanley Park can also be seen in other Canadian cities

Check out the rest of my pictures on Flickr.

Robbie Burns statue 250th Birthday ceremony

Robbie Burns statue 250th…

Photos from 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner

Gung Haggis Fat Choy is always a wonderful event for photographs.  Special thanks to our incredible photographers Patrick Tam, Lydia Nagai and VFK.

If you like their photos, please contact them and purchase them.  We have asked them to put “water marks” on their photos, so that we will advertise and promote them.

They help us with our event, because they believe in the community work and social consiousness raising that we do.

DSC_3928_103489 - Mayor Gregor Robertson doing the honours by FlungingPictures.
A wonderful job by everybody last night –
Veteran Gung Haggis performers Joe McDonald and Heather pronounced last
night as “The Best Gung Haggis Dinner yet”

And Dr. Leith Davis
(Director of Centre for Scottish Studies, Simon Fraser University) said it was the best Burns Supper she had ever attended – and she just
spent 2 weeks in Scotland for Homecoming Scotland!

to everybody.  The energy was brilliantly contagious and fun.  There
were lots of nice surprises in the program, with the Mayor reading a
Burns poem, a treatise on the details of scotch drinking, Parks
Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon singing A Man's A Man For A' That, and
hip hop artist Ndidi Cascade coming up from the audience to rap a verse
of Burns' Address to A Haggis.

But it was the performances by
Silk Road, Joe McDonald, Adrienne Wong, Jan Walls, Tommy Tao, Rita
Wong, Catherine Barr, Heather Pawsey & DJ Timothy Wisdom, Bob
Wilkins & the Gung Haggis Fat Choy pipe band,  supplemented by
Alland & Trish McMordie with Don Scobie from Seattle… and an
immortal address by Dr. Leith Davis – that knocked the audience over!

With wonderfully warm co-hosting from Gloria Macarenko and Catherine Barr….

And strong support from stage manager Charlie Cho, and sound technician Carl Schmidt.

Many thanks…. to helping rise funds for Historic Joy Kogawa House,
Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop/Ricepaper Magazine and Gung Haggis Fat
Choy dragon boat team.

We will have some pictures available for you soon.

Thank yous and Blessings to

Patrick Tam – Flunging Pictures 

DSC_3928_103489 - Mayor Gregor Robertson doing the honours by FlungingPictures.

661 – 20090125 – Robbie Burns’… – Patrick Tam photo set.

Lydia Nagai – Lydia Nagai Photography

IMG_0525 by Lydia Nagai.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2009 – Linda Nagai photo set.

VFK Photography

GHFC 2009 VF3_4418.JPG by vfk.

GHFC 2009 VF3_4664.JPG by vfk Silk Road Music performing in front of life-size photos of Nellie McClung, Mungo Martin, Emily Carr and Todd Wong – courtesy of Royal BC Museum.- photo VFK

 Tips To Help You Start Living Healthy In 2022

We’re all encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle, but what does that involve and how do we get there? Health doesn’t just entail eating right or exercising. True health incorporates other areas we might not give much thought to, like positivity and self-care. Here, we share with you seven fantastic ways you can get healthy – and stay healthy – in 2022.

1. Follow a Balanced Diet

The saying “everything in moderation” really goes a long way. A healthy diet full of a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains, nuts and healthy fats helps to keep our bodies and minds in proper working order. There are foods you’ll want to limit, though. Processed foods might taste great, but they often carry a hefty amount of salt which can trigger high blood pressure and heart disease.

2. Embrace Positivity

Negative people or situations can trigger disordered eating and low moods. Look at the people in your life and the things that take up your time, and if something or someone brings you a lot of negative feelings, it might be a sign you need to cut ties. At the same time, work to let go of negative self-talk. A positive self-regard leads to a more positive lifestyle. Visit

3. Keep Moving

Exercise has been proven to lower the risk of disease, increase bone density, and even help us live longer. But how much is enough? The general recommendation is to engage in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day.

4. Know Your Stats

Having an idea of your overall health can help you identify areas you might need to improve. A blood test is a simple way of pinpointing any concerns. Your doctor can recommend particular things you might need to monitor or check, like your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol.

5. Stay Hydrated

Without enough water, our bodies are unable to function normally, remove waste, and transport nutrients and oxygen. Adults need, on average, three litres of water a day. If you lose more water due to exercise, heavy perspiration or frequent urination, you will need to drink more regularly.

6. Talk About It

With mental illnesses like depression on the rise, more people find themselves feeling isolated and alone. Talking to a trusted friend or health professional about how you’re feeling can offer you the help you need to restore positive mental health.

7. Stop Smoking

Smoking is an addictive behaviour that carries no health benefits. Smokers are at greater risk of serious health issues, including lung disease, heart attack and stroke. Your family and friends can also be affected by inhaling second-hand smoke. It’s never too late to quit, and there are many support options available to help you give up smoking.