Monthly Archives: December 2009

2009 Year of Gung Haggis Fat Choy from Royal BC Museum in Victoria to Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

2009 was an amazing year for Todd Wong and Gung Haggis Fat Choy

2009 opened with a life-size picture of Todd Wong included in “The
Party” exhibit at Royal BC Museum, and by November 30th – Todd was
encountering a life-size picture of himself at Scottish Parliament in
Edinburgh for the exhibit This is Who We Are: Scots in Canada.

It was an exciting year for the Joy Kogawa House Society, as the long sought dream of a writer-in-residence program became a reality.  Montreal Arab-Canadian author John Asfour became the inaugural writer-in-residence and helped writers at Kogawa House as well as hosted events at the house, Vancouver Public Library's Central and Carnegie branches.  By Christmas time author Joy Kogawa was enjoying her first Christmas season living in the house (temporarily) since she and her family had been forced to move in 1942 when they were sent to Internment Camps during WW2.

On November 28th, I set foot in Scotland for my first time ever.  Since first wearing a kilt in 1993 for the SFU Robert Burns ceremonies and hosting the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner since 1998, I no longer have to say that I've never visited Scotland before.  It was a short but exciting trip as I attended the closing night reception at Scottish Parliament for the exhibit This Is Who We Are: Scots in Canada – co-hosted by the Scottish First Minster and Presiding Officer.  I also visited Edinburgh Castle and many things Robbie Burns, as I made my way to Alloway in Ayrshire to visit the birthplace of Robert Burns at Burns Cottage.  It had only just re-opened to the public and I had a special tour by manager of the Burns National Heritage Park.

This is a review of some my my favorite stories and events from 2009.

January 1st, 2009
A life-size picture of Todd Wong aka “Toddish McWong” is included in Free Spirit exhibition at Royal BC Museum.  The exhibit closed on January 14th 2009.

Photo Library - 2907 by you.

January 20th

VisitScotland comes to Vancouver to celebrate Homecoming Scotland with Toddish McWong and Gung Haggis Fat Choy
and brings special limited edition of 37 year old Famous Grouse whisky to auction off at the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

Raise Money for your Favourite Charity with Limited edition bottles of The Famous Grouse up for Auction

January 20th
Georgia Straight news article

Georgia Straight: Why Canada will never have an Obama, except maybe Todd Wong

January 22nd

Westender: Gung Haggis celebrates Canadian interculturalism – article by Jackie Wong

January 25th Robbie Burns Day 250th Anniversary celebration at Burns Statue in Stanley Park

250th Anniversary of Robert Burns recognized with poems at statue in Vancouver's Stanley Park

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January 25th Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's 250th Robbie Burns Birthday
Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner was a big success – worth 2 ceremonial

DSC_3928_103489 - Mayor Gregor Robertson doing the honours by FlungingPictures.

February 4th
Louis Lapprend makes a youtube video of the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner event

Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2009 Dinner highlights on Youtube

February 15th
Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy, Sunday February 15th.

3rd annual Gung Haggis dinner in Seattle Washington, hosted by Bill McFadden of the Caledonian and St. Andrew's Society of Seattle.  Bagpiper Joe McDonald and Todd Wong travel to Seattle to perform and MC the event.

March 15th

Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums & dragon boat paddlers… brave the snow in the Vancouver Celticfest St. Patrick's Day Parade

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April 6-11th Tartan Week in Vancouver

Tartan Day and Scotland Week celebrated by SFU's Centre for Scottish
Studies with Michael Russell, Scottish Parliamentary Minister for

April 20th
Purdy Party at Joy Kogawa House with Shelagh Rogers, John Asfour &
3 nominated poets for BC Book Prizes: Daphne Marlatt, George Stanley
and Nilofar Shidmehr

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May 19th

John Asfour, Kogawa House writer-in-residence gives reading at
Vancouver Public Library with Marcus Youssef and Adrienne Wong of
Neworld Theatre

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May 22nd – Todd and Deb go kayaking on Mayne Island

Kayaking in the Gulf Islands: we visit Belle Islets Chain

and visit

May 30th – Final event for Kogawa House inaugural writer in residence John Asfour with Gary Geddes, Ann Erikson and Shelagh Rogers

Another Magical Evening for final event of Historic Joy Kogawa House's inaugural writer-in-residence program

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June 20/21

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team has a great weekend at Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

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July 18th

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team places 4th overall at Richmond Dragon Boat Races

July 24/25

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team heats up Vernon Races

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August 8th

Todd Wong elected to board of The Land Conservancy of BC

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October 10

Gung Haggis paddlers compete at Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta: 1st in B Final 5th in A Final

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November 29
Todd's first day in Scotland
I start off in Glasgow, visit a Haggis exhibit at Kelvingrove Museum, take the train to Edinburgh and attend the official Homecoming Finale ceilidh on the Golden Mile.

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November 30
Toddish McWong arrives in Scotland for inaugural visit and reception at Scottish Parliament for “This is Who We Are”

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November 30

CBC Radio interview from Scottish Parliament – On the Cost with Stephen Quinn
“Vancouverite Todd Wong has been celebrating Scottish culture in this
city for years with his Gung Haggis Fat Choy celebration. Now he's in
the home of the Highlands. Stephen caught up with Todd to find out what
he is doing in Edinburgh this week. Listen to the interview.(runs 6:58)”

December 4th
Todd Wong visits Robert Burns Cottage in Alloway Scotland.  After extensive renovations, Burns Cottage is reopened to the public on Nov. 30th.  Todd Wong has a special tour with Caroline Green, manager of Burns Heritage Park.

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December 21st
Christmas Party at Kogawa House

This is the 1st Christmas season, that author Joy Kogawa has spent at her childhood home, since they were removed and sent to WW2  internment camps in 1942.  Friends and family of both Joy Kogowa and Kogawa House attend. 

December 31st
Todd does a short CBC Radio One interview for On the Coast – answering
questions about the Scottish origins of singing Auld Lang Syne.

To be continued

Todd Wong on CBC Radio One December 31st – Traditions of singing Auld Lyne Syne for New Year's Eve.

Why do we sing Auld Lang Syne at New Year's Eve?

Todd Wong
be heard today on CBC Radion One 690 AM – ON THE COAST. 3-6pm

asked me about the origins of singing “Auld Lang Syne” – the Robert
Burns lyrics connection and the proper way of holding hands while
singing. Of course I threw in similarities between Scottish Hogmannay
and Chinese New Year – such as making lots of noise and paying off your

They asked if I will be with friends ringing in the New Year. I said I
am at Silver Star in Vernon, with good friends… including Craig Brown
who was at my 1st Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, when the only “kilts” we
had were Canadian Mackinkaw lumberjack shirts tied around our waists…

Origins of singing Auld Lang Syne in North America are traced back to a Scottish tradition that spread through Scottish and British emmigration.

Wikipedia writes:

Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year's Eve very quickly became a Scots custom
that soon spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (and
other Britons) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them.

Canadian band leader Guy Lombardo
is often credited with popularising the use of the song at New Year’s
celebrations in America, through his annual broadcasts on radio and
television, beginning in 1929. The song became his trademark. In
addition to his live broadcasts, Lombardo recorded the song more than
once. His first recording was in 1939. A later recording on September
29, 1947 was issued as a single by Decca Records as catalog #24260

Wikipedia's entry
also compares the 1711 version of Old Long Syne by James Watson to the 1788 version of Scots verse by Robert Burns.

Olympic mascots go to Scotland with Toddish McWong

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Quatchi, Miga and Sumi go to Scotland with Toddish McWong and Quatchi brings back a kilt

2009 was Homecoming Year for Scotland.  It was an invitation to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the birth of poet Robert Burns on January 25th, and went all through the year until November 30th St. Andrew's Day.

The year started with Visit Scotland CEO Philip Riddell bringing a special bottle of 37 year old Famous Grouse whisky to auction off at the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.  By November, there was a photo exhibit at Scottish Parliament titled This Is Who We Are: Scots in Canada.  It featured many Canadians of Scottish ancestry including Todd Wong aka Toddish McWong, who is not Scottish, but hosts the largest Burns Supper in Vancouver.

Exhibit creator Harry McGrath invited Todd to come attend the Homecoming Scotland finale weekend events and attend the Closing Reception for the exhibition.

Todd decided in the last days to attend the event, and quickly invited his friends Quatchi, Miga and Sumi to visit Scotland with him.

They arrived in Scotland, late on Saturday night, November 29th  in Glasgow.  They traveled to Edinburgh and visited many Robert Burns displays in the museums – but had lots of fun at the Scottish Parliament reception on St. Andrew's Day.  After the reception finished, they retired to a pub called Jenny Ha's – but Todd had to return to do a radio interview back to Vancouver BC on CBC Radio.

These pictures are their adventures exploring Scotland from Nov 29th to Dec 5th., 2009.

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Sumi Quatchi and Miga are excited to travel on the airplane

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We are excited to see a Harry Potter train on the Welcome to Scotland sign

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Todd and Sumi pose for a picture with the Visit Scotland display at the Scottish Parliment.

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There is a life-size picture of “Toddish McWong” featured in the Culture section of the exhibit “This is Who We Are: Scots in Canada” at Scottish Parliament.  Sumi attends the closing night reception with Todd.

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Harry McGrath (the tall dapper feller) is the creator of the This Is Who We Are exhibit.  Todd and Sumi pose with Harry's brother, niece and sister-in-law.  Harry started off the project simply by taking photos of same-named places in both Scotland and Canada.  You can find the project at

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George Anderson is almost the only other fellow wearing a kilt (besidess Harry McGrath's brother-in-law and a junior piper).  Todd had originally insisted on wearing a kilt every day in Scotland.  But he quickly found out that many Scots don't have kilts, or only wear them for special occasions.  After a few days in the Scotland cold Todd started sneezing and went back to wearing his jeans for the trip to Ayreshire.

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Sumi makes a new friend at Jenny Ha's pub, where we all head off to following the reception.

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Todd makes friends with a border collie and a black lab, beneath Arthur's Seat in Hollyrood Park.

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Todd visits the Telfer Wall – the old wall that used to surround Edinburgh city.

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Sumi finds a seat in the Telfer Wall, Edinburgh Castle is in the distant background.

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Sumi visits the pubs at The Grass Market.  Apparently this is where all the hen and stag parties happen, but we didn't see any animals.

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Finally!!!  A monument to an animal!  Sumi pays homage to the monument to Greyfriar's Bobby – the little Skye Terrier doggie that held a 14 year virgil, guarding his master's grave site, at the Greyfriar's kirkyard (church yard).

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Sumi visits the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.  He really liked this ancient picture of a boar.

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Todd went to The Vaults – Scotch Whisky Tasting Society, and drank Sumi, Quatchi and Miga under the table.  They refuse to allow any of the pictures from that night to be published.

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Sumi doesn't have as much as a hangover as the others, but still feels a bit green.  He does agree to take a picture beside his two favorite single malt scotches from the tastings. 

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Off to the Edinburgh Castle.  Sumi, Miga and Quatchi enjoy the view from the cafeteria.  It's a very cold day so Miga decides to stay indoors, especially since she is still suffering a hang-over from the night before.

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Sumi poses on a ancient cannon at Edinburgh Castle.

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Not to be outdone, Quatchi enjoys the view from a cannon at Edinburgh Castle too!

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After the castle visit, we go to the Scotch Whisky Experience and meet poet Robert Burns.  Quatchi and Sumi enjoy the poems of Burns, especially A Man's A Man For A' That, and To A Mouse.  Miga is feeling much better and can actually stand the sight of whisky again.  She excitedly seats herself on Robbie's shoulder.

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It's been a good day visiting Old Edinburgh.  Miga, Quatchi and Sumi enjoy the music and company at #1 High Street, at The Tass.

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Todd always seems to find accordions somewhere.  A whole bunch of local musicans meet at The Tass every Wednesday Night.  Todd and this fellow talked and talked about accordions and Robert Burns.

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Jennifer works at The Cafe Royal, the oldest and best Victoria pub in Edinburgh.  She is originally from Victoria BC, and was very happy to meet some fellow BCers.

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Sumi, Quatchi and Miga met some new friends including a Highland Cow, and a local named Teddy McBear.  They tried to help fit Quatchi with a kilt.  This was a great little shop at the Christmas fair at The Princes St. Park beside Waverly Train Station.

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Sarah is a student at University of Edinburgh.  She is originally from Singapore/Malaysia and spoke English the best of any other Asians that we met.  Probably because she grew up speaking English along with Malaysian and Chinese.

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We met Vicky at her father's hotel and restaurant in Ayr.  It's called the Glen Park Hotel with bar and restaurant.  Vicky actually lived in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighborhood for a year.

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We also went to the Two Dugs pub in Ayre.  Catherine was our bar server and she helped give us answers for that night's weekly Trivia Contest run by a fellow naed Pat.  Quatchi is emailing to Catherine.

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The Big Day!  We finally go visit Burns Cottage.  This is the birthplace of Robbie Burns just 250 years ago on January 25th 1759.  It is Burns' birth that is the inspiration for Homecoming Year Scotland.  The Alloway Post Office is in the background, across the street.

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We were very lucky to have a short tour of the brand new renovated displays inside Burns Cottage with
Burns Heritage Park’s Manager Caroline Glenn.  The new displays at Burns Cottage opened to the public on Nov. 30th, St. Andrew's Day with a presentation by First Minister Alex Salmond (whom we saw at the This Is Who We Are reception).

Caroline Green says on the Burns Heritage Park website:
“The Living History school visits allow school children to get a real
sense of Robert Burns’ life and to hear expert commentary on his work.
It’s a pleasure to be able to continue to educate the public and Robert
Burns even 250 years after he was born and the new Robert Burns
Birthplace Museum will ensure that this tradition continues for many,
many years to come.”

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Inside the Burns Cottage gift shop, we made friends with “Rabbie Bearns” and his partner “Jean Armour”

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Sumi, Quatchi and Miga go to the Burns Monument Park and visit the Brig O'Doon – made famous in the Burns poem Tam O'Shanter.  It is on this bridge that Tam O'Shanter excapes the ghosts who can't catch him but only the tail of his grey mare.

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We discover a Chinese restaurant around the corner from the Burns statue in Ayr.  Todd immediately starts planning to create a future Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner for some time in the future.  The waiting staff is Caucasian – but the owner is Chinese from Northern China near Shanghai.  She tells Todd that for some reason, the Scots people don't seem to like eating seafood.  And they complain if you include the heads and tails of chicken, duck and fish on the plates.

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We hang out, while Todd speaks with the owner.  We can't stay for dinner because Todd forgot his passport in Edinburgh at the Cafe Royale, and we have to leave.

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On our last day of Scotland we have a traditional breakfast with marmalade. Todd remembers reading all about marmalade from books about Paddington the Bear.

Happy Christmas in many cultures

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Santa Claus at Historic Joy Kogawa House – photo T. Wong

Christmas is celebrated by many cultures.  By visiting other countries or sharing cultures, we can bring a greater appreciation to what we know.

I was in Scotland Nov 28 to Dec 5th and it was very interesting to see Christmas decorations everywhere.  It was familiar in an unfamiliar place. Very cool.

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Christmas tree at Central Station in Glasgow.

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Shopping district in Glasgow

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Christmas lights and tartan teddy bears on Princes St.

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Store window display with Holiday fashions applied to tartans and kilts.

Winter Solstice in Vancouver – Devon is fire-tossing at the Roundhouse

Winter Solstice at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens + Roundhouse + elsewhere

I usually help organize a team social for attending the Winter Solstice events at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens – but this year I must attend AGM and Christmas Party at Joy Kogawa House.
Check out my past stories about attending Winter Solstice events here:

Check out the official Winter Solstice events here:
Event organizer Naomi Singer is an incredible arts advocate and organizer.  She was one of my fellow award recipients for the BC Community Achievement Award in 2008.

My friend Devon Cooke is performing “Fire tossing” at the Round House Community Centre.  Devon loves being involved in many cultural activities and also paddles on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.

processions start from Emery Barnes Park and Vancouver Aquatic Centre,
and should arrive at the Round House's Train tracks turnable area
beside Davie St. around 6:30ish…

There will be a lantern procession from Strathcona Community Centre to
Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens at 6pm.  Admission to the Gardens is by
Donation.  There will be lots of lanterns everywhere and FREE music.
Also check out the Round House Community Centre.
There is free music, events and the candlelight labrynth.

Ricepaper Magazine Christmas Party and new issue launch! Tonight Saturday 12

Hi Everybody

I – Todd Wong – am  MCing the Ricepaper Christmas party and new issue launch!

Leanne Riding is co-president and Tzhe Lam is also on the ACWW board.

Ricepaper Magazine is also a recipient of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

Great Fun with poetry readings and my favorite Scottish born Chinese-Canadian poet Fiona Tin Wei Lam. All are invited!

Come and celebrate the issue launch of 14.4: the Gender issue with the staff and contributors of Ricepaper Magazine, your favourite Asian-Canadian arts and culture literary magazine.

Ricepaper Magazine and Friends

Saturday, 12 December 2009
7pm to 11:30pm
Rhizome Cafe, Kingsway and Broadway
317 Broadway East
Vancouver, BC

The night includes:
– readings by Ray Hsu, Fiona Tinwei Lam, and Harmony Ho
– live music by Cary Pratt of Prairie Cat (Fuzzy Logic Records)
– raffle prize draw for fabulous prizes (to be announced later). All raffle proceeds will be going to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

Admission is by donation (no one turned away for lack of funds): $10-$20 ($10+ includes a copy of the Gender issue, $20+ includes a 1 year subscription). Besides enjoying an evening of lively entertainment and a copy of the magazine, your $10-20 donation also helps to support the next issue.

Rhizome Café has food and drink available for purchase throughout the night and is fully licensed.

Please forward this invite and bring your friends! More details to come this week!

TIX ON SALE: 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Dinner – January 31st.

Now Available: Tickets for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

– It's the 12 Anniversary of the “little dinner that could.”

January 31st, Sunday 2010
Floata Seafood Restaurant
Vancouver Chinatown
Contact Firehall Arts Centre:
phone 604.689.0926

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Dinner has created an awareness of cultural fusion that has spanned international media, and been featured at the 2008 BC Canada Pavillion in Bejing during the 2008 Summer Olympics, the Royal BC Museum celebration exhibit of the 150th Anniversary of the province of BC, and a 2009 touring exhibition in Scotland titled This Is Who We Are: Scots in Canada.

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Gung Haggis Fat Choy creator Todd Wong at the Scottish Parliament exhibition of THIS IS WHO WE ARE: Scots in Canada.  The exhibition featured a life sized photo of Wong and a video interview about the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, which features the acknowledgement of Chinese and Scottish pioneer history in Canada and contemporary culinary and cultural fusions.

Tickets are now on sale for the 12th Anniversary Dinner.
January 31st, Sunday, 2010
Floata Seafood Restaurant
Vancouver Chinatown
Doors open 5pm
Dinner starts 6pm

$60 + $5 service charge
$600 per table + $20 service charge
prices for students and children available.

Raffle Prizes are featured, as this dinner has traditionally been a fundraiser for: Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team, Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop/Ricepaper Magazine and Historic Joy Kogawa House.

Contact Firehall Arts Centre:
phone 604.689.0926
Visit the Firehall Box Office, 280 E. Cordova Street.

Box Office hours are: 9:30am – 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.

For media information
– contact: Todd Wong 778-846-7090
– email:

The origins of the dinner started with 16 people in a living room in 1998.  The next year it expanded to 40 people in a restaurant.  Soon it outgrew the first restaurant and expanded to 220 people in 2002.  Moving to a larger restaurant for 2003, and expanding to a 2-night event in 2004, serving over 500 people.  2005 saw the move to North America's largest Chinese restaurant and present home of the dinner where 570 people were accomodated.

A 2004 CBC telelevision performance special, Gung Haggis Fat Choy, was inspired by the dinner, and received two Leo nominations for best music performance, and best director of music performance.  In 2007, a CBC television documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy featured interviews with dinner creator Todd Wong, and film clips of the dinner.

A wide range of musical performers have been featured over the years including: fusion musicians Silk Road Music Ensemble, Dragon River Chinese Music Ensemble, Blackthorn celtic band, The Mad Celts, Chinese erhu master Ji-Rong Huang; opera singers Heather Pawsey, Veera Devi Khare; Jazz singer Leora Cashe.  Featured poets have included: Joy Kogawa, Rita Wong, Fred Wah, George McWhirter, Fiona Tin Wei Lam, Jim Wong-Chu, Sean Gunn and Tommy Tao.  The past 3 years have also featured sneak previews of Asian Canadian plays including: Mixie and the Half-Breeds, The Quickie, and Twisting Fortunes.

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Todd Wong visits Scotland for Homecoming Year, the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns.

For the 2010 dinner, creator Todd Wong has just returned from Scotland after visiting the birthplace of Scotland poet Robert Burns, and researching the displays of Burns for Homecoming Scotland, and museum exhibits on Scottish history and emmigration to Canada.  Wong is active in Chinese Canadian activities and visited Bejing and Xian in 1993.  He hopes to combine a merger of Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian history and culture in the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

Another extravaganza of culinary and cultural fusion are expected for the 2010 dinner.  Details will be released each week leading up to the event.  Special guest speakers, media hosts, poets and musicians are confirmed or being confirmed.  The 2010 dinner will feature old traditions and new surprises, something borrowed and something brewed – especially created for the 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Dinner.

Tell your friends, and put a table of 10 together to enjoy the singalongs!
or come as a single or a double, and meet 8 brand new best friends for the evening at your table!
It's the most fun and intimate dinner for 500 you will ever attend!

Toddish McWong returns to Canada after 7 days in Scotland

Toddish McWong's inaugural 7 day visit to Scotland

I am now back in Canada.  It was an incredible learning experience for my first trip across the Atlantic to one of the most important cultural and historical ancestral homes for this country called Canada.  Canada is probably the most Scottish nations outside of Scotland.  Our first prime minister, many of our explorers, BC's first premier, Vancouver's first mayor – were all born in Scotland.

And yet… Scotland is a country that is learning from Canada.

My trip was initiated because a life-size picture and video-interview of me were used in the photo exhibit This is Who We Are: Scots in Canada.  I have written about the exhibit here: Toddish McWong arrives in Scotland for inaugural visit and reception at Scottish Parliament for “This is Who We Are”

Here  are my pictures from the exhibit and the reception at the closing of the event on St. Andrew's Day

 Scotland - This is Who We Are: Scots in Canada

Scotland – This is Who We Are:…

Seven days were spent exploring the towns of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ayr.  I attended the reception at Scottish Parliament for the exhibition This is Who We Are, and I explored Canada-Scottish historical connections at the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle.

I also visited many exhibits about Scottish poet Robert Burns at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow's University of Glasgow, Burns Cottage in Alloway and the National Burns Historic Park, near Ayr.

Here are pictures from my 9 hour layover in Amsterdam, and my first two days exploring Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Amsterdam enroute to Scotland

Amsterdam enroute to Scotland

Toddish McWong going to Burns Country

On my way to Ayr – home of Robert Burns

I am now in Glasgow, catching a train to Ayr to find a B&B. Ayr is a resort town, so I have been told there should be nae problem finding a room.

Finally I met a native English speaking Asian. Sarah sat across from me on the train. She has been studying and working in Edinburgh.

She was actually born in Malaysia and has lived in Scotland for 4 years.

She sounds like the Harry Potter character, named Cho-San, who was Chinese-Scottish – but with a Malaysian/Singapore lilt to her accent.

It's been interesting exploring the Scottish connections of Harry Potter and JK Rowling. I have sat, eaten and used the internet at Elephant House

restaurant – the same coffee shop where much of the first 3 Harry Potter novels were written.

I had always thought that the postscript of the last Harry Potter book, should have Harry living in Canada with Cho-San as his wife.

It would be like the story of many Scots emigrants to Canada, but with a contemporary Canadian twist of multiculturalism.

Cho-San and Harry could have multicultural children! Maybe I will still write a fan-fiction piece for my website.

It could be a Harry Potter Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner!

I have found free internet in the Apple Store in Glasgow, and I am recharging my iPhone.

Kilts culture in Vancouver: Kilts Night on Thursday + December ceildh on Sat night

Kilts Night at Doolin's Irish Pub + December Ceilidh at Scottish Cultural Centre.

Every 1st Thursday of each month, I usually meet with my kilted friends at Doolin's Irish Pub at Granville and Nelson St in Vancouver.   Free Music starts at 9pm with Halifax Wharf Rats – if there isn't a hockey game on.  It's always lots of fun, and a great way to meet people.  

Big Secret: Wear a Kilt and ask for a free pint of Guiness Beer.

Another monthly cultural event happens on Saturday. It's the December Ceilidh at the Scottish Cultural Centre. 

I like Scottish Country Dancing – I just wish I could get out to it more often.

After attending the Homecoming Scotland ceilidh here in Edinburgh at The Hub.  I am ready to go for another one.  It's really easy to do, as the callers give a demonstration and tell people what to do.  eg. turn left, grab the right hand, etc etc.

Here's a full message from Ron MacLeod

Greetings, a message from the Vancouver Gaelic Society and the Vancouver Gaelic Choir. Regards, the other Ron

1. WHAT:  December Ceilidh, an evening of entertainment.

WHERE: Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street (at 73rd ), Vancouver, B.C.

WHEN: 8 P.M. Saturday, December 5, 2009. Doors open at 7 P.M.

COST: $12.00; students $6.00; under 12 years free. Tickets at the door.

Ed McIlwaine; Accordionist Sandy Black; and, Lillian Lind to lead the
audience through a Gaelic sing-along. Plus other entertainment.

OTHER: Bar service; tea, coffee and goodies.