Check out this story about how times are changing for the
previously dominant ethnic group of BC: The Scots. Paula Baker has
written an article titled Changing Times for British Columbia Scots for the Scotsman.com
There are interviews with my friends Harry McGrath, coordinator for the
SFU Scottish Studies program and Jim Bain, leader for the Sons of
Scotland, as well he is an organizer of the BC Scottish Games. (special
note: Jim's wife is of Chinese descent, and his two lovely
Scottish-Chinese-Canadian daughters were competing Highland dancers!)
“Scottish societies began springing up in the 1930s but the decline began a
quarter century ago. Since then the original number of societies in the greater
Vancouver area has declined from almost half of the original 28,” writes Baker.
“Our club consists of 50 Scottish males that are ageing and their children
(first- and second-generation Canadians) don't really seem to be interested in
being part of the society,” says Ian Mason, who is president of Vancouver Burns
Club (VBC) and at 67 joins McGrath in being one of the youngest members.
“I understand what we offer – an intellectual social club that thinks about
Scottish poetry, history and heritage – isn't what a 22-year-old male would be
interested in. But even so, I don't know what I'm going to do about our sliding
Hmmm… maybe the answer is to have a 5th generation Vancouverite of
Chinese heritage going around the country promoting Robbie Burns, kilts
nights, haggis won-ton and dragon boat racing…. Especially since I've recently been
invited to do all of the above at Loch Lomand.
“I think you've identified Vancouver's Two Solitidudes: Chinese and
Scottish,” Joan Siedl, Vancouver Museum history curator told me back in
January, after I told her how my great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu
Tan had successfully appealed the wrongful arrest of Wong Foo-Sing for
the murder of Scottish nanny Janet Smith – one of Vancouver's longest
unsolved murders shrouded with intrigue in the toney Shaughnessey
neighborhood with touches of Scotland Yard.
Speaking of which – come out to the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival and
cheer on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. We will be
wearing the Fraser “Sport” tartan. 2-day passes available for $12
instead of $10 per day – just e-mail me or call 604-987-7124.