More Robbie Burns Day in Canada….
How did I celebrate Robbie Burns Day?
I put my kilt on and walked through downtown Vancouver on my way to a
meeting at the Royal Bank Tower for the Canadian Club committee meeting
for our “Order of Canada / Flag Day” luncheon. A number of our
board members had attended the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, and they
all asked me to stand up and display my kilt for their visual
After the meeting, I walked up Burrard St, to the Sutton Place Hotel,
site for the Burns Supper presented by the Burns Club of
Vancouver. 130 men attended. No women as the tradition is
that Burns Suppers were started by the Tarburton Bachelor Club. I
had never before attended a Men Only club until I attended a Burns Club
of Vancouver meeting two years ago. FYI – they do have other
meetings and events where women are invited. But it is a
historical tradition following the origins of all things Burns.
The evening's main entertainment were 5 pipers and 4 drummers from the
Seaforth Highlanders. The program featured the usual traditional toast
such as “The Immortal Memory” given by Burns scholar Dr. Andrew Noble,
songs and poems read, An Epistle, given by Alistair Taylor, and the “To
the Lassies” given by Harry McGrath, coordinator of the Scottish
Studies Program at Simon Fraser University.
The “Bill O' Fare” included:
a smoked salmon served with greens appetizer, Scotch Broth, Prime Rib
of Beef served with Tatties and Neeps, Haggis, Oatcakes and Cheese for
a dessert course, and a Malt of Glenfiddich.
The only real strange thing was that the draft beer served at the bar
was Warsteiner… my preference for Burns Day celebrations have been
the Irish Malts of Guinness and Kilkenney.
And so for Jan 26th, I went to the Robbie Burns Day celebrations at
Doolin's Irish Pub. There I bumped into Doolin's former
operations manager Evan – who helped start up the Kilts Night
celebrations at Doolin's – first Saturday of every month. Wear
your kilt and recieve a free pint of Guinness. Evan is now
operating his own restaurant in Gastown now – called Curious.
The Halifax Wharf Rats were playing a mixture of traditional and
contemporary tunes. They played their covers a la Maritime celtic
style transforming Kiss's disco hit “I Was Made For Loving You” into a
lovely accoustic romp. I loved their versions of “Tell My Ma” and
songs by “Spirit of the West”.
I also made some great new friends: Kent, Lea and Scott, who were
there for the Rotary Club's fundraiser celebrating Burns Night with
Hockey. We had a great time toasting to Burns and exploring the
historical travels of ancient Chinese, Scandinavian and Norse
voyageurs to North America – all without passports! We
discussed the merits of Irish beers Guinness and Kilkenney as well as
Rickard's Red, along with a comparsion taste test of Irish whiskey
Bushmills compared to Glenfiddich.
Hopefully I made some more dragon boat recruits during the
evening. Many people asked why a Chinese guy was wearing a
kilt. And I bumped into my old dragon boat mate Charlene – with
whom I paddled in San Francisco on the “Spirit of Vancouver” team.