Monthly Archives: April 2011

“We Are The People” is a theatre play about 125 years of Vancouver's heart of the city

“We Are The People” is a theatre play about 125 years of Vancouver's heart of the city

April at 20:00
10 April at 14:00

Ukrainian Hall

805 E. Pender Street

Tonight, I will be going to check out this play.  Apparently some of the characters are people we have only heard about such as “Gassy Jack” Deighton, former pub owner, and Bruce Eriksen, former city councilor.  But both made important contributions to Vancouver's development as a city.]

I first met Vancouver Moving Theatre's creators Terry Hunter and Savannah Walling, at the 2008 BC Community Achievement Awards, when they were honoured for their dedication to both their work and to the community they try so hard to represent.

Check out their website

for more about the play.

We Are The People

An original musical celebration
commemorating 125 years of laughter and tears
in the Downtown
Eastside – the heart of our city.

We Are the People commemorates 125 years of laughter and
tears in the Downtown Eastside – the historical heart of our city. This
concert of original and period songs of struggle, loss, celebration
and perseverance showcases the home-grown creativity of the Downtown
Eastside community.

Historical events highlighted in this City of Vancouver 125th
Anniversary concert include the rescue of Vancouver residents by
members of a Squamish congregation during the 1886 fire, the 1907
Anti-Asian riot, labour struggles of the 1930’s, historic personalities
such as saloon keeper Gassy Jack Deighton, industrial tycoon /
philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, activist and City Councillor Bruce
Eriksen; inner city challenges such as poverty, unemployment,
homelessness, prostitution and addiction; neighbourhood victories such
as the establishment of the Carnegie Community Centre and  the Militant
Moms’ successful protest; and Downtown   Eastside values of tolerance,
courage, compassion and community.

The project’s principal artists are award winning Savannah
Walling (
Artistic Director and lead writer) and Neil
(Music Director, Conductor and co-composer).
The songs are composed by some of Vancouver’s finest composers: Michael
Creber, Earle Peach, Joelysa Pankanea, Wyckham Porteous, Bill Sample,
Yawen V. Wang
and Neil Weisensel. Song lyrics
have been written by Dalannah Gail Bowen, James Fagan Tait,
Bob Sarti, Savannah Walling
and emerging community writers
from the Downtown Eastside.


It's officially (finally) Tartan Day in Canada

It's officially Tartan Day in Canada.

Canada finally has it's official Tartan Day, after all the provinces had previously proclaimed Tartan Day.  In 2008, I arranged to have Tartan Day proclaimed in the the City of Vancouver.

-photo courtesy of T.Wong

Xavier MacDonald, Todd Wong and Sean John Kingsley wear their tartans to the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team practice on April 6th, 2011, Tartan Day.

I also wore my kilt at the Vancouver 125 Celebrations where I was helping to supervise the ball hockey games at Jack Poole Plaza in the afternoon.  There was fresh snow on the mountains, so thank goodness it was warm in the sunshine.

Check out the different tartans of each province.  Personally, I like the Nova Scotia and Sasketchewan tartans… Something about the blues and yellows of each.  The BC tartan with its red and green looks too much like a Christmas decoration.


I am part of the Vancouver 125 team.  I was
down at Jack Poole Plaza from 1:30-5:30, helping out with the ball
hockey tournaments. The 6pm Happy Birthday ceremonies included: birthday singalong by Vancouver Bach Choir + cake +
cauldron lighting at 6:45pm!
-photo T.Wong

The sky turned blue with occasional clouds, with lots of sunshine for the Vancouver 125 Celebrations, marking the 125th birthday of the City of Vancouver.  Fresh snow decorated the local mountains, yet the Jack Poole Plaza was a warmish 9 degrees in the sunshine.  The concert stage opened at 4pm with Uzume Taiko, followed by Mmm-HoP, and Leela Gilday.  The 6pm ceremonies featured a birthday singalong by the Vancouver Bach Choir, of which city councilor Heather Deal is a singer.

photo – photo Deb Martin
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson with Vancouver 125 Team city employees Kathy Bengston and Todd Wong.  The Mayor was dressed for ball hockey and he played with some of the teams, then later posed for pictures with the youth teams.  Wong works for the Vancouver Public Library and wore the Fraser Hunting Tartan kilt, because April 6th is also Tartan Day throughout Canada, and because the Fraser Hunting Tartan has the similar blues and greens of the Vancouver Tartan.  Bengston was part of the City of Vancouver Host team and was stationed at the Downtown Live City venue during the Olympics.

My role for the Vancouver 125 Team was to help out with the ball hockey games.  During my breaks, I walked around the Jack Poole Plaza and saw the music performances that featured some of my friends.  Bonnie Mah is part of Uzume Taiko.  Ndidi Cascade was one of the performers of Mm-HoP: Hop Jump Jive.

Uzume Taiko blends the traditonal and contemporaryarts into a great cultural fusion using Taiko drums, traditional Japanese masks…. and bagpipes!

Here is the bagpiper for Uzume Taiko wearing Japanese styled outfit.

A large screen projected rap singer Ndidi Cascade into a large image for the crowd, as she performed with Mm-HoP: Hop Jump Jive


It was a picturesque day with fresh snow on the mountains, and all the people creating a happy crowd.

Vancouver Sun: Why have most of Vancouver's Mayors been Scottish and none Chinese?

Why has Vancouver had so many mayors with Scottish
roots? When will Vancouver have a mayor with Chinese ancestry?
Sun writer Douglas Todd asks Todd Wong, 5th generation Vancouverite for
the answers.

 I did mention that in the 1st election Chinese voters
were turned away, because they going to vote for their boss, sawmill
owner Richard Alexander instead of Malcolm Alexander McLean, a realtor.

 It's also important to note that Canadians of Chinese
ancestry were unable to vote for a long period up to 1947, until the
repeal of the Chinese Head Tax/Chinese Exclusion Acts. My grandmother,
born in this country could not vote until she was 37 years old!!! So
racism has also played a big role in not developing any Asian or
non-Scottish mayors.

Charlie Brown Christmas Music by Trio Pacifica with my bagpiper friend Joe McDonald

Vancouver Christmas Music

A Charlie Brown's Christmas with Trio Pacifica

Here's is something seasonably early.  Charlie Brown's Christmas music by Vince Guaraldi, was one of my first records I ever owned as a child.  My friend Joe McDonald is now playing Charlie Brown Christmas music with his musical partners in Trio Pacifica. 

Joe McDonald LOVES Charlie Brown Christmas Music!

Italian-American Christmas jazz music that is universally loved.  What could be more multicultural than this?

Joe has played bagpipes for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese
New Year events since 2001, both at Chinese Restaurants and the
Vancouver Public Library for Gung Haggis World Poetry events.

Check out this Charlie Brown Christmas Music youtube video:

Vancouver Christmas MusicTrio Pacifica

If you want a wonderful addition to any Christmas Party!

Check out Joe's website for more information

Contact Joe McDonald 604 435 2954 for bookings