Monthly Archives: September 2010

Fiddlers Around the World @ Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens

Here's an interesting concert that brings together Chinese erhu player Jirong Huang with Tom Neville (Western fiddle) and Baljeet Singh on Indian Dilruba.  I have performed accordion/ erhu duets with Jirong at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner a few years ago.

It's been fascinating to see the success of Delhi to Dublin criss-crossing Celtic fiddle music with South Asian tabla beats, as well as the latin-celtic music of The Paper Boys.

There's a lot of intercultural musical collaborations in Vancouver, and it is often very exciting, stimulating and culturally informative.

Check it out!


 Vancouver Chinese Instrumental Music Society and Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden Present


Fiddles Around the World

Sunday, October 3, 2010, 7:30

Doors open at 7pm
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
578 Carrall Street (at Pender)

Tickets | 604 662 3207 |

 | 604 683 8240 |

| $15 general/ $10 student and senior |

Jirong Huang (Chinese Erhu, Fiddle)

Baljeet Singh (Indian Dilruba, Fiddle)
Tom Neville (Western Fiddle)

Accompanied By

Wei Li on Gu Zheng (Chinese Zither)
Bruce Henzcel (Marimba, Percussion)

Dr. Jan Walls as Master of Ceremony

The Vancouver Chinese Instrumental Music
Society and the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens are proud to present Fiddles
Around the World
on Sunday, October 3, 2010 at the Chinese Classical
Garden.  A concert for all
audiences, the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble will showcase an
exciting collection of multicultural Fiddles. This concert
features traditional and innovative music on bowed instruments.

The bowed stringed instrument first appeared in
India around 3000 BC,
and is described in
Hindu myth as Ravanahatha. From its epicenter in
India, this family of instruments radiated out to China,

Central Asia to Europe, Africa and then the New
World. Presented by
the Vancouver Chinese Instrumental Music Society, this
performance will be
emceed by renowned
linguist Dr. Jan Walls and feature Jirong Huang, our musical
director on Erhu, Tom Neville on Western Fiddle and
Baljeet Singh on Dilruba , accompanied
by the Vancouver Chinese Music
Each of these ethnic instruments will be presented in solo
performance, displaying technique and skill to
traditional songs and
also perform in
non-traditional arrangements making new music with
bows and fiddles.

“…vibrant and exciting exposure to
another culture.”  The Georgia Straight


For more information, please contact Angie

Tel 604.683.8240 | Fax 604.683.7911 | Email

We gratefully acknowledge the
support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the City of Vancouver.


Todd Wong performs at Accordion Noir Festival

It was Tuesday evening…
Accordion Noir Festival
Yaletown Trees organic coffee bar
1391 Richards St. @ Pacific Blvd

I played classical songs…
Bach's Toccata in D Minor – turning the high-ceilinged coffee shop into a
cavernous Church-like sound cave.

I chatted about using the
accordion as an instrument to interact with the public during the
historic Vancouver Library Strike of 07 – and played “hockey arena type
organ songs” to interact with the people walking past our strikeline, on
their way to see the Vancouver Canucks host the San Jose Sharks for an
exhibition game.

And leading into ballet goers going to the
Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts – I played this song: Strauss
Waltz Medley

I talked about my Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns
Dinner and how I enjoy playing intercultural events. A few weeks ago, I
performed at the Tart Boutique on Granville Island – not a sex shop –
but a Boudoir Salon – where the grand opening night had a Venetian
Masquerade theme… so I played Italian tunes… and for the audience – I
played a simple emotive version of O Solo Mio.

30th Anniversary Terry Fox Run at Vancouver's Stanley Park

30th Anniversary Terry Fox Run at Vancouver's Stanley Park

It's the largest Terry Fox Run in the City of Vancouver, and organized by the Four Seasons Hotel management.  I hadn't run it in a few years.  That year, Darrell Fox (Terry's younger brother) did the 10 km run finishing 1st.  One time, I attended with Terry's older brother in 94, and we both said a few words to the crowd.

I am a Terry's Team member, a cancer survivor who serves as a living example that cancer research has helped to make a difference. Darrell Fox invited me to be a member of Terry's Team in 1993.  That year I spoke and ran at Terry Fox Run in Burnaby in September, and also in Beijing in October.

Prior to the start, I was chatting with my friend Bruce Clark who ran in his kilt.  We met a runner from Ontario who was working in Vancouver temporarily.  He was excited about running in Vancouver.  I shared with him, that I try to run at a different run site each year.  Last year I was at Richmond BC.  I am wearing the 2005 25th Anniversary Terry Fox Run shirt – it's one of my favorites with the map of Eastern Canada across the front and back of the shirt, detailing Terry's Run from Newfoundland to Thunder Bay.

It was in June 1989, that I faced a serious cancer tumor behind my breast bone.  The doctors called it a germ cell tumor and it was as big as a large grapefruit. It was displacing my vital organs – pushing on my lungs and heart.  I was very weak. After weeks of misdiagnosis I was admitted to Lions Gate Hospital for emergency chemotherapy, where they gave me a 60% chance to live with treatment.  Without treatment I would die.  I think I was in the hospital for a month, before they let me go home on weekends.  The doctors later told me that if I hadn't had treatment, I would have suffocated, because the tumor had put so much pressure on my lungs that they were already half full of fluid. 

I have attended Terry Fox Runs every year since 1993, at different run sites throughout Vancouver's Lower Mainland including: North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, North Delta and Coquitlam.  Each year, I also speak at Elementary Schools.  Sometimes I speak to classes and usually it is to a school assembly in a gymnasium.  I share with the children that cancer research does help to save lives.  I tell them stories about the people I have met, such as Terry's family, his basketball coach, his wheelchair volleyball coach, his university friends and fellow students. 

I never met Terry Fox, but I feel that I know him through his friends and family, the many stories, films and books about him. Courage is the word that is often used to describe Terry.  He was a hero, because he attempted something incredible that had never been done before – to run across Canada on one leg.  On my wall, hangs the plaque and certificate for the Simon Fraser University Terry Fox Award that I received in 1993.  Terry's words are inscribed.”Dreams are made when people try.”


After Bruce and I finished the 3km run (we didn't do the 10km run), we had some water and juice.  Then we cheered on runners crossing the finish line.  It was a lot of fun, as many of the runners and walkers were smiling. Some were pushing baby strollers.  Some were walking dogs.  Some said it was their first time participating.  Some gave us high-5's.  It was great to create some excitement and smiles by thanking them for participating, and clapping our hands for them.

Read my Terry Fox related stories here:

Read my stories about my cancer diagnosis and survival:

Brand New Creekside Community Centre opens

Creekside Community Centre opening ceremonies on Saturday

It is an environmentally friendly building that recycles rain water.  It was used as an administrative centre for the Vancouver 2010 Athletes Village.  It will now be a training centre for elite athletes with
Canadian Sport Centre Pacific sport performance lab for registered athletes.  It will also be a paddling centre for dragon boats, kayaks and canoes.  It's the brand new Creekside Community Centre.

A First Nations drum and song were performed as part of the opening ceremonies.  Conferring over the agenda are City Councilor Heather Deal and Parks Board Chair Aaron Jasper.  In the red jacket, Olympic alpine slalom skier Bret Janyk waits.
– photo Todd Wong

A volunteer prepares to cut the special cake made in the shape of the award winning community centre.
– photo Todd Wong


The cake from a close-up overhead view reveals the words “Experience recreation at Creekside” – photo Todd Wong

We took members of the public out for free dragon boat rides – of course, they had to paddle.  We matched each brand new paddler with an experienced paddler.  Laurel is in the front row on the left.  Garrison is in the second row on the right. I am third row on the right. Former Parks commisioner Christopher Richardson is behind me on the right.  Kim is paddling in the 5th row.  Guillaume is steering.  Jessical Bently gave coaching/drumming instructions from the front and took the picture on Richardson's camera. – photo by Jessica Bentley for Christopher Richardson.

Terry Fox Run 30th Anniversary this Sunday, September 19

the Terry
Fox Run
– 30th anniversary this Sunday
This is a great Canadian
tradition since Terry did his 1980 Marathon of Hope, as he tried to run
across Canada on one leg to raise awareness and funds for cancer

Todd and Doug Alward (Terry's best friend
who drove the van in 1980) + Terry's highschool basketball coach
Terry Fleming at the 25th Anniversary Hometown Run.

I speak at a Terry Fox
Run and/or community school,

each year, since 1993,
as a Terry's Team member –
“cancer survivors who serve as living examples that cancer research
helps to make a difference”.  I have spoken at run sites throughout the
Lower Mainland + Beijing + Kelowna.

Please join me in attending a
Terry Fox Run this Sunday, with me or in your community.

following are run start times – arrive 40 minutes earlier to register
and warm up
run sites may also have 2.5km, 5km or 10km walk and runs,
some sites are suitable for rollerblades, bicycles and strollers. 

West Vancouver – Ambleside Park
10 am Vancouver – Stanley Park
am Burnaby – Swangard Stadium
10 am North Vancouver – Inter River
10 am Richmond – Gary Point Park
am New Westminster – Queens Park
10 am Vancouver – UBC – 16th &

I will be at 9am West Vancouver or 10am Vancouver….

give me a call to join me
Cheers, Todd

TLC in newstories in Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times Colonist

The Land Conservancy of BC is doing better than ever!

are recent negative news stories about TLC finances as reported in
today's Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times Colonist.  A former TLC board
member was also on CBC radio the other day.

I was elected to the TLC Board last August, as part of the 11 new board members.  Alistair Craighead is chairperson, and Briony Penn is vice-chair.  see article Newly elected board members for The Land Conservancy of BC
includes Todd Wong

See these stories here:

Vancouver Sun – Judith Lavoie, Carla Wilson – ‎11 hours ago‎ Abkhazi Gardens, one of TLC's most loved properties, has $1.339 million in mortgages

Vancouver Sun – Judith Lavoie – ‎11 hours ago‎
Abkhazi Gardens in Victoria is mortgaged at $1.339 million, with $1.148 million owing.

I am confident in the direction that TLC is going in.  Next
year TLC will host INTO (International National Trust Organizations),
and Historic Joy Kogawa House will receive more attention as an
important part of Canada's cultural, historical and litarary landscape. New TLC holdings in the past year have included the addition of Western Forest Products land titles to the Wild Hills and Wild Beaches project, and Madrona Farm.

All donations for TLC projects are put into general revenue UNLESS
they are SPECIFICALLY marked otherwise.  Please tell your friends if
they are donating to Kogawa House, to mark the check Kogawa House!  We
tried to do this for donations at my birthday party in May.

Good news is that since “the troubles of 09” – mortgages have been paid fully for Sooke Pot Holes and Madrona Farm
 – fundraising is up
– member ship is up almost 1800+, nearing 8000 members – an all time high!
– TLC board and management are addressing systemic issues
– a new Chief Financial Officer was hired.

Negative news stories have happened before and after the firing of Bill
Turner, co-founded and executive director of TLC.  Three members of the
2009 elected board resigned in 2010 citing issues at TLC.  This is still less
than the previous board that resigned over similar issues.

Please see (below) TLC's website article on the questions that were put forward to TLC
and Bill Turner.  The hard questions are asked, and Bill refutes the
misleading issues.  TLC sounds like it is on the right path towards
recovery and putting the challenging times behind us.

Cheers, Todd

TLC’s Q&A from Victoria Times Colonist and Vancouver Sun articles



Published: September 15, 2010Posted in: All Regions, TLCTags: finances, loans, mortgages, vancouver sun, victoria times colonist

Today’s Victoria Times Colonist (TC) and Vancouver Sun
ran a front-page article in which TLC’s level of mortgage indebtedness
(and other financial challenges) is being attacked by some former
Directors, claiming that it puts both the properties and TLC’s viability
at risk.  This is, simply, not the case.  In preparation for this
article, the Times Colonist asked TLC for answers to a range of
questions that had been put to them by the disaffected Directors.

Following is the material provided to the TC in response to
their questions.  Not all of this material was reflected in the article
that was written.


Are you satisfied with the current financial situation?

Given the ‘troubles’ of the spring of 2009 and the terrible financial
situation we inherited when we got back in office – yes, I [Bill
Turner] am satisfied that we are headed in the right direction.  That
does not mean I am happy – it continues to be challenging.

Is TLC secure?

The security of TLC, like all charities, depends on the generosity of
the individuals who support its work. Public attempts to undermine
TLC’s reputation in the past year have created the largest obstacle to
TLC’s success. In this time of recession all charities have to work very
hard to raise the funds they need to do their work.  

Is TLC heading in the right direction?   

Yes.  We are continuing to strengthen our financial base and keeping
ourselves in the public’s view.  In the past year, we have purchased Madrona Farm, kick-started the campaign to protect Vancouver Island’s Wild Hills and Beaches,
increased our membership by more than 1,600 members, raised more than
$8.4 million, commissioned a control/risk assessment to aid in the
ongoing strengthening of our internal operations, and continued in our
ongoing work of operating sites like Abkhazi Gardens and the Sooke Potholes,
managed our properties and monitored our 300 plus covenants and worked
with landowners and communities across B.C. to conserve special places.

Todd and Deb visit South Okanagan Conservation areas and see a moose!

Todd and Deb visit South Okanagan Conservation areas… and see a moose in Canada's pocket desert (almost)!

I visited Penticton / Naramata on the weekend, and drove down to
Oosooyoos.  This allowed me to visit some of the South Okanagan /
Similkimeen area where The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) has holdings in.  This is of interest to me because last August 2009, I was elected to the TLC board.

Friday's local Penticton newspaper had a story about
the Okanagan River conservation and how Western Painted Turtles are
having a resurgence.  TLC is listed in the story as helping to play a
role – and I remembered the recent board meeting about our role in the
Okanagan River!  I am pleased to be involved in TLC!

And Deb & I saw two moose at Vaseaux Lake where the Okanagan River meanders into wetland. 

2010_Sep_Naramata_Day3_South 058
rare sighting of moose on Vaseaux Lake – even the local park ranger was
surprised to believe it when we showed him this picture!

2010_Sep_Naramata_Day3_South 042

We also saw baby coots, hawks, turkey vultures, spawning kokanee in Naramata etc.

2010_Sep_Naramata_Day3_South 096 Baby coots at Vaseaux Lake

2010_Sep_Naramata_Day3_South 116

  Hawk near Burrowing Owl winery


Here's a display board that lists TLC as one of the property holders for Similkameen River Pines at the bottom of the map.

2010_Sep_Naramata_Day3_South 064

Training Gung Haggis dragon boat team for voyageur canoe races

Training Gung Haggis dragon boat team for voyageur canoe races

We worked hard tonight… and had some fun, chasing a dog's
ball in the water at David Lam Park bay – when the ball was too far for
the dog to find it.

Last week we were in a 10 person Swift boat, and we raced another team, also in a 10 person boat.  But they had 10 paddlers + steers, we
had 7 paddlers + paddling steers.  We agreed to a race with a 200m sprint, a left turn around a moored boat, then back to our starting position.

It was an exciting start, as both boats pulled even, then they
pulled ahead with more momentuum.  By the 200m mark they were ahead by 2 lengths.  We had the inside on the
left turn, spiked the turn, and presto!  We were 1 1/2 lengths ahead…
they tried to catch us as we raced back to the sculpture at David Lam
Bay – be we stayed ahead by two
seats.  It was lots of fun.

Tonight we met the same team, but they were in a 20 person boat.  They
were just doing a start, when we finished a long piece, to just West of
the Cambie St. Bridge.  We watched them – but some of our paddlers
wanted to do the start against them… and the back half paddlers
propelled our boat forward for about a 16-20 strokes…  Then the other boat watched our start.  We definitely had a great start for only 10 paddlers in a 10 person boat.

New exercise for starts. – really focused on transition to race pace
6 strokes
6 strokes + transition
6 + 6 + transition
6 + 12 + transition
6 + 18 + transition

Our strokes were deep and long with good torque.  I like it. 
We are working on developing a LONG reach + more abdominal and “hinge” work.

Next races are Oct 3, Sunday, UBC Day of the Long Boat
and Oct 9, Saturday, Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta