Monthly Archives: June 2011

Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization program doing community consultations

study of Vancouver Chinatown underway
There is a community open house, with
dinner at Floata Restaurant tomorrow Wednesday 5:30-7:30 with presentations and entertainment.
… and the
consultant is a former dragon boat paddler from San Francisco, that I first became friends with back in 2005.

City been working with the community to revitalize Chinatown for many
years.  I have known many people who have been working with the “Chinatown Revitalization Committee.”  Back in 2002, I attended some of the meetings for their arts comittee.  There are many issues that are going on.  

I would love for Chinatown to be revitalized.  My parents and my maternal grandmother grew up in neighboring Strathcona, and my great great grand father Rev. Chan Yu Tan was minister of the Chinese United Church.  Some of my earliest memories are visiting my father's parents who lived at the Maclean Park towers, one block away from Chinatown.

Back in 1986, I was a volunteer and committee member for the exhibition Saltwater City, chaired by author Paul Yee.  It was a museum quality exhibition that celebrated 100 years of the Chinese community in Vancouver.  Paul then wrote a book titled Saltwater City, which won the inaugural City of Vancouver Book Award in 1989.

In 2002, the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives, held a photo and exhibit display titled “Three Pioneer Canadian Chinese Families” – featuring the Rev. Chan Yu Tan Family, along with Lee Bick and H.Y. Louie familes.

I wrote section on Chinatown for New Colourguide for Vancouver,
Victoria & Whistler , published in November 2009 – click on the pictures to link to enlargements
that you can read.

There are many views about what is happening currently in Vancouver Chinatown, and what needs to happen, or should happen.

Here is an article in the Georgia Straight:

Here is a post from the blogsite UGLY CHINESE CANADIAN

Upcoming Japanese-Canadian Festivals for July

Check out these upcoming events at the National Nikkei Museum
& Heritage Centre.
view image of Nikkei Place

Japanese Star Festival

July 7, 11am-9pm
Celebrate this traditional summer festival by making paper decorations
and writing your wish onto a colourful paper streamer, and then hang the
decoration on bamboo. A fun activity for all ages!

Yukata kitsuke workshop
Saturday, July 16, 2pm

Would you like to wear your Yukata more often to the summer fireworks
and festivals? This is your chance to learn step by step how to put on
your Yukata and look good.
Please bring a yukata, obi, 2 or 3 koshihimo, and wear a t-shirt or tank
top with shorts.
Minimum 3 people, maximum 10.
Parents can learn how to dress their kids. Children over 10 years old
can learn how to dress themself.
Registration fee $10. Tel 604.777.7000

National Nikkei Museum & Heritage Centre
6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby, BC

More thoughts on the passing of Betty Fox

have been very saddened by the death of Betty Fox on Friday…. In
1989, I had a life-threatening cancer tumor, and probably would not have
survived – if not for cancer research done since Terry's Marathon of
Hope. I continue to be interested in everything related to Terry Fox…
In 2005. Here is a link to my blog stories about Terry Fox and Terry Fox
Runs I have participated in:

I am particularly touched by Douglas Coupland's words… “she was a mother for all Canadians.”

Coupland has written the book “Terry” and is also currently working on the new monument for BC Place Stadium… which was also the site of Betty Fox's last public appearance.

2005 documentary Terry Fox: 25 Years of Legacy was produced by Moyra
Rodger, who also produced the 2004 Gung Haggis Fat Choy television
performance special. check the video clips here:

View Clip
25 Years of Hope — The Legacy of Terry Fox
September 16th, 2005, more than three million school children in every
province and territory in Canada walked, ran and wheeled to celebrate
the 25th Anniversary of Terry's Marathon of Hope. Hosted by Jody Vance.
Featuring Terry's parents, Betty and Rolly Fox.

View Clip
Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Chinese New Year.
Robbie Burns Supper. Gung Haggis Fat Choy fuses the two unique cultural
events in a celebration of music, dance and tradition. Featuring
performances by The Paperboys and Silk Road Music.

A CBC Television production.

Betty Fox – Rest in Peace…

Betty Fox – Rest in Peace….
been an honour to support you and your family and the Terry Fox Run,
over the years… Thank you for standing on guard for Terry, Canada, and
Cancer Research.


1993 Press conference for Terry Fox Run Foundation with Todd Wong, Betty Fox, Rick Hansen.

I have served as a Terry's Team member, living examples that cancer research has helped to make a difference since 1993, when Terry's youngest brother Darrell phoned me up and asked me to consider it.  I have spoken and run at Terry Fox Runs throughout Metropolitan Vancouver in Stanley Park, Burnaby, Simon Fraser University, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, North Delta, and as far away as Kelowna and Beijing in China.

Betty Fox – It's been a wonder and a pleasure to meet and know you these past

and your family… husband Rolly.. daughter Judith… and especially your sons Darrell and Fred.

I did what you asked me to.. help to start a Terry Fox Run
at SFU in 1994… and we created a trophy case for Terry, in which your
youngest son Darrell placed Terry's favorite SFU 1000 mile club
t-shirt. You are an angel… even though you never admitted or knew it.

At the launch of the Terry Fox $1 coin at Simon Fraser University, with Betty Fox on March 14, 2005.   Vikram on the left is also a Terry's team member, who I first met at a Terry Fox Run in North Delta.  – photo Deb Martin

The last time I talked with Betty was at the 25th Anniversary of the Terry Fox Run in 2005.  In this photo, I had just introduced my friend Brenda and her young daughter to Betty Fox.  – photo by Deb Martin.

I really wanted to attend the Hometown Run in Port Coquitlam.  Usually, I would always go wherever the Terry Fox Run Organization BC Division would send me.  Sometimes I would speak at 3 events in a single day, such as West Vancouver, Stanley Park, then Burnaby.  But in 2005, I declined, stating I really wanted to be at the Port Coquitlam Run.  It was incredible!  There are so many people.  And the run goes past Terry Fox Secondary School where there is a statue of Terry, that you can have your picture taken with.   
Here is my blog story: Terry Fox Run Day – I go to the Port Coquitlam “Hometown Run”

Earlier in May of 1993, I had been awarded the SFU Terry Fox Gold Medal,
for my fight against cancer and “dedication to society” for my
community work.  Darrell had heard me on the radio being interviewed by
Rafe Mair on CKNW.  Darrell phoned me afterwards and invited me down to the Terry Fox Run office.  I met Darrell and his older brother Fred, who was taking over the the director position.  It was a wonderful pleasure, they seemed to me to be very down to earth people.  And for the next few years, I would also go out to Port Coquitlam to have lunch with Fred, and he would give me my new Terry's Team t-shirt.

The first time I met Betty Fox was at a press conference in September 1993.  I had just agreed to become a Terry's Team member.  Darrell was then director for the BC/Yukon Division.  The press conference was at the BC Sports Hall of Fame at BC Place Stadium.  I was a guest speaker along with Betty, Rick Hansen and Terry's former highschool basketball coach. 

At the time, Betty was really urging me to get a Terry Fox Run going at SFU.  Darrell would also encourage me saying, “Todd, it just takes one person.”  I tried my best, and I went to see the then-athletic director Lorne Davies, who had been at SFU when Terry was a varsity basketball player and diagnosed with cancer.  I was able to go back to Darrell and say, “Darrell, there isn't going to be a Terry Fox Run in 1993… but there will be in 1994… and it's going to be bigger than we imagined. There's going to be a Terry Fox Day.”

Here's a link to the CBC TV news story + video story, about how she supported the Terry Fox Run Foundation and what it meant to her.

Larry Kwong turns 88 today… First Asian-Canadian to play in NHL.

Great coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
TODAY is the 88th birthday of LARRY KWONG – the first non-white(?) to play in the NHL, back in 1948

At the BC Hockey Hall of Fame Dinner last year, Larry was awarded the inaugural PIONEER AWARD.  Trevor Linden came over to congratulate him, as did Pat Quinn.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team improves with each race at Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

The Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival is the biggest in North America. 
and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team is one of the most fun and positive teams in the Festival

Rec A consolation Final Race, Sunday afternoon.  Scaly Bytes team is in forefront with red shirts in a green boat.  I have paddled many times with paddler friends Ron, Stuart, Sarah, and Laurie.   In boat 3 is Eye of the Dragon team, coached and drummed by Dan Hebert.  They are the subject of the newest dragon boat film – “We Can't See You Beating Us”.  It's a special team where half the paddlers are visually challenged. – photo Todd Wong
Thank you all for a great weekend filled with positive energy…
We improved our performance with every race… our best races were on Sunday!

Saturday… we got to know the festival site, and jell
together as a team.  We especially thank Deb Martin for stepping in as
drummer, Adrian Lee for stepping in as steers, to Nadine Ross for
traveling from
Nanaimo to join us for paddling, to Joe Easton for being our land manager..  And to Grace for joining us on

Here was our lineup:

Drummer Deb Martin
1 – Ruth               Gio
2 – Debbie Poon   Hillary
3 – Keng              Anne
4 – Georgia          Maria
5 – Nadine           Karl
6 – Todd               Steven
7 – Aidan             Leo
8 – Eric               Alice
9 – Gerard           Sabina
Grace           Caroline
Steers- Adrian Lee

We raced
without spares all weekend, as 3 paddlers called in sick during the
week.  On Saturday we raced with 17 paddlers and 18 paddlers.  On
Sunday, we raced with 19 paddlers.  We NEVER finished last in a race.

Sunday, we did some technique training, with our warm up, to remind us
to reach farther.  We also did the one-finger lift with our lead stroke
Gio, to lift him into the air – a Gung Haggis team tradition!


our 1st race on Sunday semi-final.  We were in lane 2, which meant we
were the 5th seeded team. – we came 5th, of 8 boats, which put us into
the Rec E Championship

In the afternoon – we prepared with a
visualization and warm-up.  We arrived at the marshalling area early. 
We were in lane 7, as the 6th seeded team. 

It was a tight
race.  Our start was
good.  We were neck and
neck with boats on both sides.  Lane 8 was right beside us.  Lane 6
pulled ahead of us, but wasn't too far away.  Everybody paddled hard. 
We called power series, and mid-strokes Todd and Steven Wong, counted out
the strokes.  The back half was strong… the front half was in time…
Drummer Deb called the finish, and we did a running finish… with
ups… grabbing the water to bring up our rate… and we finished… in
maybe 3rd or 4th place.  It looked like third… but was very close.

did not go back to our tent for the debrief – but stayed on the East
side of the Race Registrar tables.  We debriefed our race, then saw the
times being posted for our race. 

“Third” shouted Nadine… and our team cheered!

“Fourth” corrected Gio… and our team sighed.

We felt good about our race.  We improved 7 seconds from our morning race.  Drummer Deb said she could tell we all emptied
ourselves in the race, and there was nothing left.  We did our best.

team has lots of potential.  For the past few months we have had lots
of ups and downs, as paddlers have been sick or away.  We had 19 people
paddling on Easter Sunday, with another 6 paddlers away for the
weekend.  But the roster shrank as paddlers were injured or decided that
dragon boating wasn't for them… and that is okay.  We are are a
recreational team with a flexible schedule.  We emphasize fun,
friendship and fitness… along with a multicultural twist.

now have a group of paddlers that is battle-tested.  They are race
ready.  They are enthusiastic.  They are a team.  There is tremendous
positive energy with this present group. 


The 2011 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boa team at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – What a happy bunch of paddlers, who just raced their hearts out for a close 4th place finish. – photo Brooke Samis

No practice on Wednesday – Dragon  Zone is closed.

Next practice is Sunday June 19th Father's Day- if it is open…  
Bring your father to
join us for a paddle…

Next race is July 16th – Richmond @ UBC Rowing Centre
August 13th is Vernon BC
August 20th is Steveston BC
Sept 10-11th is Penticton
Oct 8th is Ft. Langley

Please see below for pictures or results

Cheers, Todd

Complete Race Results can be found here:


2001_June_RTA_D ragon_Boat_DBF

Join the Flickr photo group:

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

Gung Haggis races dragon boat Sunday Race 69, lane 2, 10:56am

Next race for Gung Haggis team on Sunday
– 10:56am Race 69 – lane 2.

Please meet at the tent for 9:45am Race briefing… and strategy, and warm-up.
Come for coffee at 9:40 and get settled in.

Good races everybody – no major issues….
Team listens and responds well, on the water. 
Nobody getting lost… we found our steersperson and drummer for the weekend.

experienced the confusion of one of North America's biggest dragon boat
races.  8 boat heats… 180 teams… Mixed, Womens, Open + Junior

We will have some more muscle in the boat tomorrow with Alice and Eric joining us.

The new site is kind of neat… very urban… very accessible… a little bit crowded on the pathways…

the beer garden is not on the
Science World patio… where we had a great view of the finish line +
guts and glory races.   If you can – do stay on Sunday to watch the Comp
race finals… + Guts & Glory race –  18 boats on a double oval
race course, passing each other, with some collisions.  We will do a
mini-version on Oct 8th at Ft. Langley with 8 boat heats… slower
speeds, and safer voyageur canoes.

See you all tomorrow morning.

Please meet at the tent for 9:45am – for race briefing, line up changes, warm up, race strategies.

Cheers, Todd

Come cheer on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team this weekend

first dragon boat race is at 8:55am… and 2nd race should be around
1am. We will try to post when we can. Semi-finals and Finals races on
Hope you can come cheer on the GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY team – It's a good mix of rookies, and veterans.

Here is our line up for our races.

drummer Deb
1 – Ruth          Gio
2 – Debbie      Hillary
3 – Keng        Anne
4- Georgia      Maria
5 – Nadine      Karl
6 – Steven       Todd
7 – Aidan        Leo
8 – Eric           Alice
9 – Gerard      Sabina
– Caroline   Grace  
steers – Adrian

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team is racing at Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival this weekend

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team is ready to race this weekend at Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival is the largest such festival in North America.  The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team has been racing since 2002, so this is our 10th year.  The team actually started racing in 1997 under the name Celebration Team, but changed the name in 2002, after the Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner that I had started in 1999.

We had our final practice on Wednesday.  We had 18 people skipping game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs to fine tune our paddling techniques instead.  A number of paddlers were watching the game, or off sick.  We are looking forward to having 20 paddlers on the boat on Saturday and Sunday.

It's been an up and down year so far.  Practices have had inconsistent turnouts.  There have been more than the usual number of illnesses, and vacations.  In my role of coach, I have been away for a week vacation, and a week of workshops, which I have never done before.  But the foundation of the team is strong.  We have had veteran paddlers Steven Wong and Debbie Poon step up to coach the team in my absence.  Every year there are new paddlers and retired paddlers.  And every year there is a great enthusiasm and sense of team. 

Both our practices tonight Wednesday, and on Sunday were all about fine tuning our race strategies and performance.  The team paddled hard with close to full boats each day, and we could really feel a strong start, and the catch and glide that we are used to with a good performing team working together.

Last year three of our paddlers were on work or education visas from Scotland, England and Belgium.  This year we have three people from France on work visas, who have joined us.  We also have some good experienced paddlers who have joined us, who have previously paddled on other teams.  All share a good sense of fun and friendship, that our team is known for.  At the Lotus Sports Club regatta in May, two of the new paddlers tried on the kilts that are so associated with our team.  One of our new local Vancouver paddlers is a friend from our Kilts Night events – so there will be plenty of kilts to be seen this weekend.

Good luck to all our dragon boat friends at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  I look forward to seeing long time friends from Chilliwack, Portland, Seattle and Victoria – as well as friends on all the local Metro Vancouver teams.

The race grid will be released soon, so I will post our race times for
Saturday as soon as I can.  Race times for Sunday, will be posted
following our Saturday races, which will determine seeding for the
semi-final and final races on Sunday.

Check the Festival website for the race grid here:

No Blogging from Todd – away in Naramata and Osoyoos May 29 to June 4

I was away from Vancouver in Naramata BC, attending a CUPE BC workshop May 29th to June 3rd. 

I had very intermittent internet access on borrowed laptop computers.  Five members of CUPE 391, Vancouver Library Workers, went to attend and take courses in Collective Bargaining, Stewardship, and Politics in Action.

In Naramata, we also did activities such as hiking the Kettle Valley Railway line, visiting wineries, watching the Game 1, of the Stanley Cup finals.

From June 3rd to 4th, I traveled to Osoyoos with my co-worker friend Gary Jarvis.  We had a fantastic trip through the South Okanagan visiting Vaseaux Lake, camping on Haynes Point, a cross-border excursion for coffee and gas fill-up into the USA, then a visit to the N'kmip Cultural Centre, and Spotted Lake.  Driving home through Manning Park, we saw 2 deer, 2 brown bears, and 5 black bears.

My pictures have been uploaded and are available to see on my Flickr photo site:

Bears in Manning Park

Bears in Manning Park

74 photos, 4 videos 

Osoyoos in June

Osoyoos in June

266 photos, 4 videos

Naramata & Penticton in June

Naramata & Penticton in…

198 photos, 1 video