Dragon Boat with Community Spirit? We've got it! Gung Haggis! Gung-ho!

Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

To Whom It May Concern:

Re: Alcan Community Spirit Award

Google the words “Vancouver”, “dragon boat team”, and “community” and the 1st entry is Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team is very active in Vancouver’s
community. Our Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner “Gung Haggis Fat
Choy” which our team is named after, is considered one of Vancouver’s
annual cultural highlights.  We share our proceeds with Asian
Canadian Writers’ Workshop and Rice Paper Magazine, helping to promote
Canada’s rich and important Asian Canadian heritage.  This is a
dinner that creates and shares community spirit, and is inclusive for
all who attend.  People walk out of our dinners with big smiles on
their faces, and say “This is so Canadian,” and “I have to tell all my

The spin-offs from our cultural fusion dinner have included the CBC
Television performance special also titled “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” as
well as the Simon Fraser University “Gung Haggis Fat Choy Canadian
Games” for which our coaches Todd Wong and Bob Brinson conceived of and
created the world’s first “dragon carts” to simulate a dragon boat race
on land.

Everybody attending Vancouver’s 1st and 2nd St. Patrick’s Day Parade
can tell you how surprised they were to see a dragon boat float rolling
down Granville St. Invited to bring our multicultural energy to the
inaugural parade in 2004, we are now a featured attraction, and were
written about on the front page of the first edition of the Metro –
Vancouver’s first of the new free daily newspapers, as our special
guests Vancouver City Councilor Ellen Woodsworth and CBC radio host
Margaret Gallagher were interviewed.

People walking into the Roundhouse Community Centre in February, saw
dragon boat heads being carved from cedar wood.  Yes, Gung Haggis
Fat Choy was there, carving away, ensuring a community presence and
informing onlookers about the importance of multiculturalism and our
love for dragon boating.  We will also be carving dragon boat
heads and tails at the inaugural SeaVancouver Festival this coming July.

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy team and its members have made contributions
to many dragon boat events and international teams as well.  Our
coaches Todd Wong and Bob Brinson were two of the founding organizers
of the Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Race, and worked
in close coordination with the Taiwanese Cultural Festival.  We
participated in the World’s first dragon boat barrel races in Seattle,
with the Tacoma Dragon Boat Association, and helped to develop dragon
boat barrel races as part of  the Vancouver Taiwanese DB races. We
have also worked behind the scenes to not only help supply prizes for
the other teams’ events, but we have contributed coaching many other
local teams as well.

We have many dragon boat friends outside the Vancouver community. 
Over the past few years we have contributed to and formed teams with,
and taken in paddlers for our races from Fraser Valley Dragon Boat
Association, Tacoma Dragon Boat Association, Dieselfish from San
Francisco, Wasabi Paddling Club in Portland, and the Fort Langley Canoe

And just a two weeks ago, we helped take three boats full of high
school students from North Vancouver and Quebec City on a dragon boat
program in False Creek, and accompanied them to lunch in Chinatown.

Last year, Gung Haggis Fat Choy was the dragon boat team chosen to
demonstrate the spirit of  multiculturalism in the television
documentary series “Thalassa” filmed by France 5, public television, at
the 2004 ADBF.  The Director and producer Anne Gourmand felt this
was important to show not only France, but to francophone communities
all around the world.

What is our community spirit?  We share our love of dragon boating
and multiculturalism openly and freely with not only other dragon
boaters, but also with the community of Vancouver, and Canada. 
But the “Gung Haggis spirit” is about cultural fusion and humour, and
iit is this “spirit” that is spreading not only all across Vancouver to
Simon Fraser University and the CBC, but also all across Canada, and
the world.

Please consider the Gung Haggis Fat Choy team to be the 2005 recipient
for the Alcan Community Spirit Award, for all the sharing and community
activities that this team and its leaders willingly demonstrate for all
communities, all across Canada and the world.

Peace and Blessings,

Todd Wong,
Coach and Founder of Gung Haggis Fat Choy

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