Monthly Archives: March 2008

North Shore News: Three North Shore residents recognized with BC Community Achievement Awards

Wow!  The BC Community Achievement Award is a big thing. 

Ming Pao contacted me last week for a short interview as well as the North Shore News.  Last week I talked with Dr. Kerry Jang who received the award last year.  Kerry thinks I should wear my kilt to the ceremony at Government House, when I go to meet the Premier and the Lt. Governor. 

My colleagues and friends from Canadian Club Vancouver, Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, Joy Kogawa House Committee and Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC are all very happy for me, and sent congratulations… as did many friends on Facebook.

Three recognized with awards

Province recognizes contributions to community

Manisha Krishnan,
North Shore News

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2008

North Shore residents are among 45 British Columbians who have been
recognized by the province with B.C. Community Achievement Awards for
making outstanding contributions to their communities.

Gordon Campbell and Keith Mitchell, chairman of the British Columbia
Achievement Foundation, announced the winners last week. They included
North Vancouver residents Todd Wong and Gordon Barrett and West
Vancouver's Jack Farley.

Wong, named for his commitment to
intercultural events like the annual Scottish-Chinese hybrid dinner
Gung Haggis Fat Choy, said he loves seeing people of all different
ethnicities taking part in the dinner and accompanying games.”We've created an event to draw together everybody, to make it multicultural, to mix it up and have some fun.”

has also spoken at many of the Terry Fox runs and is founder of the Joy
Kogawa House Society, which campaigned to save the well-known author's
home from demolition and turn it into an historical landmark in

He said he admires the other award winners and is proud to be amongst them.

“It's kinda cool,” said Wong. “I mean these are incredible people. I'm just honoured and glad to be recognized with them.”

Read the rest of the article here:

Vancouver Sun: The next celebration – Toddish McWong helps to spread the word about Tartan Day

Vancouver Sun's Chantal Eustace writes a story about kilts and Tartan Day in Vancouver.

Check out the Vancouver Sun article.
The next celebration: Wearing the tartan

Vancouver Sun – British Columbia, Canada
Todd Wong (centre right in red vest) wears the tartan on St.
Patrick's Day, along with Nathalie Coulombe (right) and others at
Doolan's Pub.

Todd Wong (centre right in red vest) wears the tartan on St. Patrick's Day, along with Nathalie Coulombe (right) and others at Doolan's Pub.View Larger Image View Larger Image and Story – click here!
We posed at Doolin's for a picture for the Vancouver Sun. left to right is Raphael Fang (Kilts Night at Doolin's co-founder), Dave Samis – dragon boater, Allan McMordie- bagpiper, Heather Deal – Vancouver city councilor, Matt – bar tender, Todd Wong – creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, Nathalie Columbe – Doolin's waitress.  photo by Mark van Manen

I usually wear a kilt about 2 or 3 times a month now, and always for Kilts Night, the first Thursday of each month.

past week I wore it on Wednesday for the Co-op radio interview, then
Thursday for the Battle of the Bards when I played Robbie Burns.  Again on Sunday for the St.
Patrick's Day parade.  Then tonight for St. Patrick's Day at the Billy
Bishop Legion.  That's four times within a span of 6 days!

Every 1st Thursday of the month, you can find me
at Doolin's Irish Pub celebrating “Kilts Night.”  Wear a kilt and
receive a free pint of Guinness.

Vancouver Sun wrote a story about Tartan Day coming up on April 5th,
and how it isn't grandly celebrated in Vancouver.  New York City has a
huge celebration which they call Tartan Week.  Last year we had a wee
celebration at Doolin's with a kilt fashion show and a scotch tasting
by Johnny Walker.  Our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team
participated in the kilt fashion show, and we ended up on the Kilts
Night poster for Doolin's.

Here are some articles I wrote last year for Tartan Day

on Sat 24 Mar 2007 09:21 AM PDT
Tartan Day for Canada? 
Should Scots' contributions to Canada be recognized?
A Bill for Tartan Day.

on Wed 04 Apr 2007 05:42 PM PDT
Tartan Day celebration at Doolin's for Kilts Night
C-402 in parliament is an independant bill

on Mon 16 Apr 2007 12:19 PM PDT
Tartan Day Eve – at Doolin's Irish Pub with the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

on Fri 13 Apr 2007 11:48 PM PDT
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team celebrate Tartan Day at Doolin's Irish Pub, April 5 – photo Todd Wong Collection.

on Wed 05 Apr 2006 06:04 PM PDT
Tartan Day, on 6 April.
Angus provost Bill Middleton said: “The new
Chinese-Scottish tartan

Gung Haggis Fat Choy parade dragon and paddles on flickr

Happy St. Patrick's Day.  It's the day after Celtic Fest and the Vancouver St. Patrick's Day parade.  I am still  wearing my green Gung Haggis Fat Choy t-shirt.

Being in a parade doesn't allow you to take pictures of your group, so it's always interesting to find pictures on flickr. 

Steven Duncan took some pictures of us setting up.  Check out his flickr site

IMG_6604 Michael Brophy gets in touch with his “inner dragon” – photo Steve Duncan (by permission)

  IMG_6563Julie and Hilary help Todd assemble the new parade dragon – photo Steve Duncan (by permission).

Check out these pictures by Click Kashmera's Buddy Icon to see more photos
By Kashmera

Stuart MacKinnon and I sat on the front of my car with our kilts on… and paddled.  We tried to get a dragon boat named “Fraser” into the parade, but it ran into trailer problems.  So we improvised.  It was quite funny, because a few people yelled out “Where's your boat?”  And Stuart insisted on paddling with my Chinese dragon hand puppet stuck on his hand.  I don't think I ever saw it come off, until there was a glass of Guinness in his hand after the parade.

DSC_4464 Gung Haggis Fat ChoyDSC_4460 Gung Haggis Fat Choy
DSC_4457 Gung Haggis Fat ChoyDSC_4459 Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team carried our new Chinese parade dragon.
Below Raphael and Leanne lead the dragon, while Michael wears a Chinese lion head
and terrorizes the volunteers!

DSC_4450 Gung Haggis Fat ChoyDSC_4452 Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Gung Haggis Fat Choy puts a dragon (not a snake) in the 5th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy puts a dragon (not a snake) in the 5th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon team: Stuart holds the paddles, while Joy, Deb, Hillary, Richard, Michael and Leanne (out of picture) hold up our new parade dragon! – photo Julie

The 15 foot long Chinese dragon undulated up and down in the air above the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Vancouver’s Granville Street.   A mini version of the larger 10 or 20 person dragons used in Chinatown Chinese New Year parades, it jerked hesitantly. Five Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team members carried short poles sporting a yellow body with red scales and blue and yellow ridge.

It flowed unsure of itself, as the leader lowered and raised the head and the body followed.  It ran from one side of the road to the other, slowing down to flap its mouth and pay attention to the children.

A Chinese dragon in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade?  Didn’t St. Patrick drive the snakes out of Ireland?  

Ahh… but this is multi-inter-cultural Vancouver.  Dragon boaters paddle in kilts, and bagpipers perform in the Chinese New Year Parade.  And the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner serves up deep-fried haggis won tons.  Welcome to Vancouver!

Yesterday I was in Chinatown looking for some kind of dragon to use for our parade entry.  I had only learned the day before that the trailer used for Fraser Valley dragon boats had some safety issues.  Damn!  

It would have been very cool to put a “Fraser” dragon boat into the Celtic Fest St. Patrick’s Day parade, and have our dragon boat team members wearing the Hunting Fraser tartans (okay we call them “sport tartans”).

I checked around to try to find a Vancouver area dragon boat and trailer to use as a replacement.  But no luck.

For the first three years of the festival, I had featured a Taiwanese dragon boat, that we pulled on a trailer.  Very colourful.  Very ornate.  Very good audience reaction, as we “paddled” on the boat and banged the drum.

But this year… Sorry – no dragon boat… so we improvised…

I looked in Chinatown stores at seven foot long plastic expandable dragon decorations.  They looked cheap.  Some looked pretty cool, with bright jewel cellophane coloured assembled pieces for its head.  $49.

But then I saw a larger cloth covered dragon for $148, like the kind used in the Chinatown parades, but with only two poles.

Then I saw a large dragon face staring at me, with a large pink tongue sticking out.  A large round body, stretching 16 feet long alongside the staircase leading to the second floor.  Wow!  It’s  yellow head was about the same size as the large Chinese Lion head mask that I have.  I wanted it!

A big commitment buying a parade dragon like that.  As I was looking at it, a woman said to me, “ Are you Todd Wong?”  My daughter Shane did a lion dance at Gung Haggis Fat Choy!”

“Hi… uh… that’s great!  Nice to see you… was that at SFU?” I answered  (I didn’t remember ever having a Lion Dance at a Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner).

“No… it was about a month ago, in Seattle!” She said, “My name is Sam.”

In Seattle Bill McFadden had organized a grand Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner with 5 Lion Dancers.  The mother and daughter had popped up to Vancouver from Seattle for the day, just to see a martial arts demonstration earlier that day on Saturday.  We had a wonderful conversation about Lion dancing, and what a beautiful dragon we were looking at.

“We don’t have a dragon at our school,” they said.  “This dragon is gorgeous!  It would be great to have.”

I bought the dragon.

The weather was chilly today for the March 16 parade this morning, high overcast.  But 5 Years…. and NO RAIN!!!  Incredible! 


Our dragon boat team members started assembling about 10:15am.  It took awhile for some of us to find us, because our car had been “temporarily” ushered into the “walkers” area instead of the “motorized” area, so that we could unload the car and decorate it.

Our paddlers marveled at the new dragon making its’ public debut.  We struggled trying to screw in the poles to the dragon.  We put green Gung Haggis Fat Choy shirts on our participants.  We put kilts on the people who didn’t show up in them.  We put green plastic bowler hats on the men or tiaras on the women, and we gave everybody mardi-gras style green, purple and blue beads.

We were festive.  We were fun.  We were happening!

People seemed to like the Chinese dragon we had on 5 poles…
and the Chinese lion head character….  Michael lead the dragon first.  He is 1/2 Chinese, 1/8 Irish and 1/8 Scottish.  Following and supporting the dragon were Leanne, Richard, Hillary and Joy.  

Lots of interaction with the audience, playing to the cameras… giving attention to the children.  Raphael and Stuart carried dragon boat paddles.  I wore the large Lion Head mask.

Todd Wong and Lion Head mask – photo Michael Brophy

We got lots of crowd reaction, when Raphael and I started sitting over the front fenders on the car hood, paddling dragon boat style.

In the parade we saw lots of great pipe bands, Irish dancers, Scottish highland dancers and even horses and Irish Wolf Hounds.

It was nice to see a Korean parade entry, and a Chinese Falun Dufa entry.  Apparently for the Chinatown parade – they wouldn't let Falun Dufa participate, because it is a “hot issue” for the Chinese embassy.  And I even found two Chinese bagpipers.  Xi “Jonsey” is in the J.P. Fell pipe band and Fu Cheong is in the Irish Pipes and Drums.

Jonesy Wu and Todd Wong – Celtic loving Chinese-Canadians in kilts – photo Michael Brophy

After the parade, we visited the Celtic village set up on Granville St., then dipped into Ceili's Irish Bar for some food and well-deserved Guinness beer.  It was great to be back at the very site where Thursday night, I had won the inaugural “Battle of the Bards” playing Robbie Burns!

But I couldn't stay long, as we still had a dragon boat team practice, and I was coaching!

THANK YOU VERY MUCH to the Celtic Fest organizers for having us in the parade.  We are glad to add  a multicultural aspect to the festival, and hope to organize an event for “Celtic-Asian-Canadians” next year – celebrating Celtic-Asian-Canadian literature, music and arts!

The rain started about 4:30pm in Vancouver after the most successful St. Patrick’s Day Parade ever.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team in the St. Patrick's Day Parade + 2pm practice

We put a Taiwanese Dragon Boat in the St. Patrick's Day Parade  for the first three years, of Celtic Fest

I tried to put a dragon boat with the name FRASER Valley dragon boat club, but they are having problems with the trailer…. so we are going to present something else for the parade.  Maybe we will have dragon puppets, or Chinese Lion- headed kilted paddlers. 

Come out this Sunday at 2pm
– for a dragon boat paddle!
meet at Dragon Zone, Creekside Park
just south of Science World.

Dragon boat practice moved to 2pm
to allow for parade involvement.

Also join us for the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
(wear something green – we will carry dragon boat paddles)
Meet at 10am (see information below)

is a great event for our bid for the ADBF special awards such as the
Community spirit, or the David Lam Multicultural Awards

Please arrive for 10am.  Parade starts at 11am.
Look for our entry #29
On Drake St  or Granville St.
as we will be positioned with Motorized vehicles.

We may have a dragon boat or not.
We will have LOTS of Funs
We will have other DRAGONS + Lion head masks
Please bring your team shirts….  or wear something green!
Bring umbrellas…. in case it rains.

This is a multicultural parade, and the organizers REALLY REALLY want a GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY entry…

We are also featuring the WINNER of the Battle of the Bards competition – Robbie Burns!!!!!

Cheers, Todd
c: 778-846-7090

Rhonda Larrabee, chief of Qayqayt First Nations, in CTV's One Women Tribe

This is the CTV documentary about my cousin Rhonda Larrabee's struggle to resurrect Canada's smallest First Nations band the Qayqayt. 

Once upon a time the band flourished on the banks of the Fraser River.  Then White settlers moved into their territories and renamed it New Westminster.  The Qayqayt were put on a Reserve, but that was taken away from them too. 

Rhonda's mother fled her homeland territories due to racism and shame.  She came to Vancouver's Chinatown, where she met Rhonda's father.  Rhonda grew up into her teenage years thinking she was Chinese.  Then she discovered she was First Nations.

Now Rhonda Larrabee is resurrecting the Qayqayt Nation.

Tribes & Treaties

This show originally aired on January 26

Tribes & Treaties

Updated: Tue Feb. 05 2008 18:04:25

One Women Tribe:

Rhonda Larrabee discovered the startling truth about her family
origins. She was not of Chinese and French descent as she was told
while growing up in Vancouver's Chinatown. Rhonda's mother was First
Nations. Then an even bigger shock – Rhonda discovered that she is the
last surviving member of the Qayqayt Tribe (New Westminster Band). She
is now striving to preserve the cultural legacy that her mother felt
forced to reject.

see the pod cast:

Toddish McWong's “Robert Burns” wins Battle of the Bards at Celtic Fest

The Battle of the Bards was the birth of a new Celtic Fest tradition.

Slam poetry face-off with Robert Burns, Dylan Thomas and William Butler Yeats!

Three actors playing W.B. Yeats, Dylan Thomas and Robert Burns traveled from Irish pub to Irish pub reading poetry, in a Poetry Slam styled contest.  It was the Battle of the Bards literary pub crawl on Thursday March 13th.  Four Irish pubs. Three Celtic poets.  One winner.

Robert Burns was played by Todd Wong aka Toddish McWong, known for hosting Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year events.

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William Butler Yeats was played by actor/musician Mark Downey.

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Dylan Thomas was played by actor Damon Calderwood, who has actually played the Welsh poet in a one person play titled “Dylan.”

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The event was hosted by Ravishing Rhonda and produced by Steve Duncan.

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Robert Burns/Todd Wong took an early lead at Doolin's

but fell into 3rd and last place at The Atlantic Trap and Gill, where Yeats took the lead.

At Johnny Fox's Irish Snug…  the score was Yeats 76.5

with Dylan Thomas and Robert Burns tied at 75.5

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For the Finale at Ceili's Irish Bar,
we pulled out the stops as we were accompanied by a DJ and a celtic fiddler

Dylan Thomas went first – but the DJ and fiddler didn't seem to know what to do with “the barking poet.” They finally found their way, as Thomas recanted quotes to the audience and read Thomas' most famous poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

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Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

WB Yeats went second and sang a song about the
The Fiddler of Dooney, and closed with a poem about the fairies of Ireland: The Man Who Dreamed of Faeryland

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HE stood among a crowd at Dromahair;
His heart hung all upon a silken dress,
And he had known at last some tenderness,
Before earth took him to her stony care;
But when a man poured fish into a pile,
It Seemed they raised their little silver heads,
And sang what gold morning or evening sheds
Upon a woven world-forgotten isle
Where people love beside the ravelled seas;
That Time can never mar a lover's vows
Under that woven changeless roof of boughs:
The singing shook him out of his new ease.

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I opened with chatting about waking up this morning, and finding myself
in the body of a Chinese….  but quickly learned that I was blessed as
Toddish McWong organizes one of the largest Burns Suppers in North
America… in my honour!

I talked about the Robert Burns Statue in Stanley Park, and how it was
dedicated by the Burns Society for all peoples, race and creed.  and
read a few verses from For A' That and A'That, and that the very words
on the statue are inscribed:

Then let us pray that come it may,
As come it will for a' that,
hat sense and worth, o'er a' the earth…
It's coming yet, for a' that,
That man to man, the warld o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

I read a poem about a bottle being a guid friend….

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Then I invited the DJ to give me some beats, and the fiddler to play a lovely tune.
then said in rapping rhyme…
My luv, My luv, I luv my luvly lady luv” (to the tune of the Black Eyed Peas song, My Humps.  The audience “got it” and so, I rapped…

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:

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Then I invited some lovely lassies to come and be my back up singers…. Georgia is one of our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat paddlers.  Masifa is a journalism student at Langara, that I had just met at the reading we gave at Jonny Fox's Irish Snug, and we included Ravishing Rhonda.

We rapped “Address to a Haggis” with the crowd participating as I repeated the last word of each verse, twice:

“As langs my arm”

“Like Amber Bead”

“Warm reekin' rich….”

“Give her a haggis.”

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For my finale…

I told them that I was going to read a poem, that I was sure they had
all heard in their lifetimes… as surely as it has survived my
own lifetime.  I would read the verses first, then  and invite them all to
sing the chorus with me.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stoup,
And surely I'll be mine;
And we'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
Sin' auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,

Frae morning sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar'd.

Sin' auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!

And gie's a hand o' thine!

And we'll tak' a right gud-wellie waught,

For auld lang syne.

Then I started to sing… and invited the audience to join in with me.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

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And when the voting was tallied… the scores were still… ever so close.

Dylan Thomas was third.

W.B. Yeats was second.

And by a single point….

Robert Burns was first.

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It was a lovely evening.  All the performers were outstanding.  Mark
Downey as Yeats.  Damon Calderwood as Thomas.  Ravishing Rhonda as our
host.  Michael Louw our DJ and Elise Boer our celtic fiddler.  Special
thanks to Steven Duncan who produced and created this event –
The Battle of the Bards

A video for Novus television was shot, and it should be up on You Tube shortly…. stay tuned for some photographs from the event.

More pictures taken by Deb Martin can be seen at

Todd Wong named BC Community Achievement Award recipient for 2008

Todd Wong named BC Community Achievement Award recipient for 2008

a) Todd Wong in Kitsilano b) 2007 BC Book Prize Soiree with Vancouver Poet Laureate George McWhirter c) 2006 Canadian Club Vancouver “Order of Canada/Flag Day luncheon with Staff Sergeant Constable Bob Underhill and author Joy Kogawa d) CBC Newsworld taping during the Chinese head tax redress campaign.

“It’s a great honour to be chosen,” says fifth generation Vancouverite
Todd Wong. “I hope that my activities can help inspire more people to become
active in their communities, and help make a difference. I love
community service.  It’s a great way to help shape the world we want to
live in.  I am indebted to the many community organizers that have both
helped to mentor and support me.”

“To save the Joy Kogawa
House was something that had to be done, just like righting the racial
injustice of the Chinese head tax.  But along the way, I have been
blessed to meet wonderful people and organizations such as the Terry
Fox Run Foundation, Canadian Club Vancouver, Chinese Canadian
Historical Society of BC, Chinese Canadian National Council and Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop.”

“It’s certainly worthwhile knowing that my contributions touch people,
in helping to make Canada a more racially tolerant place.  It was
amazing to learn about the challenges and racism that my ancestors and elders faced
while we made the CBC documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy.  I know
that it is a tribute to my family ancestors and a legacy to our younger

From the March 13th press release from BC Achievement Foundation:

Forty-five outstanding British Columbians were today named the
recipients of the fifth annual BC Community Achievement Awards by
Premier Gordon Campbell and Keith Mitchell, chair of the British
Columbia Achievement Foundation.
“As British Columbia celebrates its 150 anniversary this year, we
recognize the strength of our province is founded in the spirit, ideas
and passion of our people,” said Campbell. “It is a privilege to
acknowledge the efforts of these individuals who work for the
betterment of our communities and our entire province.” “These
individuals have shared the most valuable of today’s commodities, their
time and compassion and, in doing so, have positively contributed to
their communities.” added Mitchell. “We’re honoured to celebrate the
contributions of these exceptional British Columbians.”The recipients of the 2008 awards are listed:

Todd Wong is actively involved in many community endeavors:

Historic Joy Kogawa House Society
– founding President

helped spearhead campaign to save author Joy Kogawa’s childhood home
from demolition and turn it into a historical and literary landmark for

Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop
(publishers of Ricepaper magazine)
Co-president  (2nd vice-president 2000-2005)
– helped create ACWW Community Dinners
– promote Asian Canadian arts and culture

Canadian Club Vancouver
– board member
– help plan and organize events

Chinese Canadian Head Tax Redress campaign
– worked with committees and blogged events

Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC
– contributed to short story/recipe anthology Eating Stories: A Chinese-Canadian and Aboriginal Pot Luck

Terry’s Team member since 1993, Terry Fox Run Foundation
– Cancer survivors who speak at Terry Fox Runs
– Todd has spoken at Terry Fox Runs and elementary schools in Metro Vancouver and Kelowna

Alcan Dragon Boat Festival
– served on Race Committee 2001-2003
– helped developed Public Paddle sessions in 2006

Vancouver Taiwanese International Dragon Boat Race
– helped co-found in 2003
– servied on CCC Dragon Boat Association 2003-2004

Simon Fraser University Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival
– helped co-found in 2005
– helped co-found Terry Fox Day in 1994 and Terry Fox Run at SFU.

featured in 2007 CBC Documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy
– Rev. Chan Yu Tan arrived in Canada in 1896,
– Todd was consultant and one of the Chan descendants interviewed.

featured in 2004/2005 CBC Vancouver television performance special Gung Haggis Fat Choy
– based on Todd’s Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

View Clip

Coach and manage Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

featured in television documentaries for Paris 3, French public
television and ZDF, German public television + CBC documentary
Generations: The Chan Legacy + CBC Newsworld.

Created GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
Served over 400 people in 2008.  Interviewed by international media,
including BBC Radio Scotland and Sunday Post.  Annual dinner event
started in 1998, with 16 people and grown into fundraiser event for Joy
Kogawa House, ACWW and Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.


Vancouver Heritage Award of Honour:
City of Vancouver, February 25, 2007

Awarded to TLC, The Land Conservancy, and the Save Joy Kogawa House Committee for its outstanding advocacy efforts in saving the childhood home of writer Joy Kogawa, and bringing municipal, provincial, national and international attention to the effort with its theme of “Hope, Healing and Reconciliation”.

Outstanding Alumni Contributor:
Simon Fraser University Recreation Department, April 2005

“For making an outstanding contribution by an alumni member – for the creation of SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival.”

Terry Fox Gold Medal Award:
Simon Fraser University, June 1993.

“For someone who has demonstrated those personal qualities of courage in adversity and dedication to society, which have been exemplified by Terry Fox ”

President’s Citizenship Award
Capilano College, May 1989.

“For making the greatest contribution to College life.”

City Councilor Raymond Louie officially declares his quest to be Vancouver mayor

Raymond Louie has been a Vancouver city councilor for 5 1/2 years.  Elected in 2002.  Re-elected in 2005.  He now wants to be Mayor in 2008.

Raymond Louie and his Chinese-Canadian supporters.  Todd Wong (me) is on the far left.  Dr. Kerry Jang (5th from right) will be running for Vancouver city council .  photo Bill Keay Vancouver Sun click here

Yesterday, I was one of a dozen community leaders invited for a photo with Raymond for the Vancouver Sun. We met at the Chinese Cultural Centre, beneath the large Chinese arch.  This was the exact site where I first met Raymond in 2002, when he joined Larry Campbell, for Mike Harcourt's endorsement of Campbell for Vancouver Mayor.  The rest is history.  Campbell became Mayor.  Louie became city councilor.

When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by Dr. Kerry Jang, who will also be running as a Vision candidate for city council.  Last year, Kerry won the BC Community Achievement Award, for all the community work he has done in the medical and mental health fields.  He will be a strong member of Raymond's team.

The dozen people that came out represent the backbone of the Vancouver Chinatown community.  They are leaders of the clan and business associations such as the Chinese Benevolent Association, the Chinatown Merchants Association, the Chinese Freemasons, and the Chinatown Business Improvement Association,

Also there was James Chu of the Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Association, whom I worked with when we created the Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Race in 2003.  Raymond was instrumental in helping the TCCA stick handle through the bureaucracy to bring the four Taiwanese dragon boats donated to the City of Vancouver.  Raymond was also a “flag grabber” perched on the head of one of the dragon boats for the first demonstration race, where the boats race towards flags.  Each team must grab their own flag to help determine the winner.

Vancouver Sun reporter asked me what Raymond would do for Vancouver's arts community. 

“I first knew Raymond through his wife Tonya, when she was on the board of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society.  They both understand what arts and culture mean for a multicultural city like Vancouver. This bodes well for our city's future”

Dr. Kerry Jang nodded with me in agreement.  I continued.

“Raymond was a big supporter of the Joy Kogawa House campaign, when we came to City Hall (in 2005), appealing to save it from demolition and turn it into a literary and historical landmark for Vancouver and all of Canada.”

“In my other role as a long-time Vancouver Library worker, Raymond was the only person who stepped forward and called for a mediation two weeks into last year's Vancouver Civic Strike.  The other municipalities had already settled and it was well known that any settlement would be about the same.  After two civic workers' rallies at City Hall, I only saw two councilors come out afterwards to speak to the workers: George Chow and Raymond Louie.  The 3 month civic strike was a tremendous waste of Vancouver intellectual and cultural brain trust, by  closing the libraries.  Small businesses were also affected because they couldn't access the library's databases and other services.”

Raymond Louie is the third candidate to run for the Vision Vancouver mayoralty
nomination.  Last month in February, both Allan De Genova and Gregor
Robertson declared their runs for the Vision candidacy.  De Genova has
been a two-decade long Vancouver Parks Commissioner under the NPA,
until he was kicked from the caucus by Mayor Sam Sullivan. Robertson is
a first time MLA for Vancouver Fairview since 2005.

Raymond is also a multi-generational Canadian of Chinese ancestry like myself.  Soon after he was elected city councilor, we bumped into each other at the Three Pioneer Chinese Canadian Families exhibit at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives.  Raymond is descended from or related to H. Y. Louie, while I am the great-great-grandson of Rev. Chan Yu Tan.  Both early Vancouver pioneers were featured in the photo exhibit along with Lee Bick.

Read the Vancouver Sun article by Frances Bula: