Robert Burns Statue in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

Toddish McWong goes to visit Robert Burns statue in Stanley Park

2008_Dec 033 by you.

The Robert Burns statue in Stanley Park can easily be seen when you drive into the park.  It is across from the Vancouver Rowing Club, looking southward across Coal Harbour towards Georgia Street.

People often ask me, “How did you become involved/interested in Burns.”

“Well…” I answer, “It all began one winter’s day at Simon Fraser University when no other students wanted to help carry a haggis for the annual Robert Burns Day ceremonies.”  see full origins story at

It was then in 1993, that I first coined the term “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” and created the nickname “Toddish McWong.”

It wasn’t until 1998 that I created the first Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in the living room of a friend’s town house.  We entertained 16 invited guests with music, poetry, Chinese food and haggis.  The next year I recreaed the dinner in a restaurant for 40 friends and called it a fundraiser for our dragon boat team.  Each year the dinner roughly doubled in size, to 60, 100, 200, 400, then 590 in 2005.

In 2003, CBC Vancouver made a television performance special titled “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” it aired January 23/24 2004.

In 2004, December, I was interviewed by CBC The National’s Peter Mansbridge for the first “Road Story” which focussed on Vancouver’s multiculturalism.

In 2005, Simon Fraser University Recreation Department asked to create the “SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival.” – for which I invented “dragon cart racing” as a kind of “dragon boat on wheels.”

In 2007, The Seattle Caledonian Society asked to create a Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in Seattle.  We successfully held it on February Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy Seattle: Scots-Americans enjoy a big success for a first initiative south of the border!

In 2008, Vancouver Celtic Fest asked me to play/represent Robert Burns in a fun poetry event called “Battle of the Bards.” I dressed up in a kilt and performed Burns poetry, against Irish poet “William Butler Yeats” and Welsh poet “Dylan Thomas”, played by actors Mark Downey and Damon Calderwood.  Here’s my blog article: Toddish McWong’s “Robert Burns” wins Battle of the Bards at Celtic Fest

Life since 1993, has become increasingly Burnsian.

The 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner is set for January 25th, at Floata Seafood Restaurant in Vancouver Chinatown.

Tickets are $60 for individual or $600 for a table of 10 + service charges, and will be available soon – by the end of the week through Firehall Arts Centre.

It will be a grand extravaganza for both the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birthday + Chinese New Year’s Eve countdown for the Year of the Ox.

2008_Dec 045 by you.
Todd examines the rededication plaque on the statue base, – photo J. Maxwell.

The rededication plaque reads:

“This statue of Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Bard, was unveiled by J. Ramsay MacDonald , a Prime Minister of Britain, on 25th August, 1928.
Robert Burns’s sincere desire for friendship and brotherhood among all peoples is clearly shown in his many poems and songs.  His poetry and letters, both serious and humorous are worthy of study by those who value liberty and freedom.
This memorial was rededicated on the 200th Anniversary of the Bard’s death by the Burns Club of Vancouver.
21 July 1996
“Then let us pray that come it may
(as come it will for a’ that)…
that man to man, the world o’er
shall birthers be for a’ that
Robbie Burns Statue in Stanley Park Dec

Robbie Burns Statue in Stanley…

3 thoughts on “Robert Burns Statue in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

    1. admin

      Hello Jeremy…. I wear usually wear 3 different tartans. 1) Fraser Hunting Tartan – because that was the first kilt I wore at Simon Fraser University… and it works as a “sport tartan” when the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team goes to race events. 2) Maple Leaf Tartan – created for all Canadians to wear – now officially adopted as official tartan of Canada. 3) Macleod of Lewis – because “Wong” means “yellow” in Chinese language. And this is the most yellow kilt I could find. Also the former president of Macleod Association of Canada is a friend of mine, and all the people at the Clan Macleod tent at the BC Highland Games loved my kilt, and invited me to join Clan Macleod.


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