Category Archives: Vancouver 2010 Olympics

One year ago… I was paddling a dragon boat flotilla to accompany the

One year ago…  An Olympic flame was carried by an Italian-South Asian-Canadian Olympic kayaker on False Creek…..

and I was paddling in the accompanying flotilla from the dragon boat and outrigger canoe community.

Olympic gold medalist canoeist Hugh Fisher carries the Olympic Flame, along Granville Island.  Hugh helped to found the False Creek Racing Canoe Club for the inaugural Vancouver dragon boat races in 1986, held during Expo 86.


The Olympic torch has been passed – to Kamini Jain, Olympic kayaker @ 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games, from Hugh Fisher, gold and bronze medalist paddler at 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. – photo Todd Wong.

We launched the 6 dragon boats and 6 outrigger canoes from Vanier Park, @ Kits Point, right beside the Coast Guard Station @ Burrard Marina.  I was lead stroke with Marina McCready, formerly of the False Creek Women's Team.

we were part of a flotilla of 6 dragon boats + 6 outrigger canoes,
that accompanied the torch bearers in a voyageur canoe and a dragon
boat = 140 dragon boat paddlers + 45 canoe paddlers = 185 paddlers + 2
torch bearers!

Hugh Fisher with his 1984 kayaking medaling partner Alwyn Morris.  Morris is Mohawk First Nations, and was a torch bearer on the Kahnawake Reserve outside of Montreal.  It was Morris, a full-blooded Mohawk who held up an eagle feather on the medal podium, after they received their gold medals for the Men's K-2 1,000m race at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Kamini took a picture with me and my friends Lisa and Gio – who was born in Italy!  Kamini was born in Tripoli, Libya, with South Asian and Italian ancestry.  Lisa and I are both multi-generation Canadians – she was born in Winnipeg, and I was born in Vancouver.

see more pictures on my Flickr account:

Feb 12 Dragon boat for Olympic Torch Relay

Feb 12 Dragon boat for Olympic…

149 photos, 3 videos

See last year's story:



healthy eating tips

If the word diet conjures up images of kale salad, you’ve got to find better inspiration. Believe it or not, healthy eating can be something you learn to love. Once you nix the sodium-filled processed foods and replace them with real, whole, fresh foods, your taste buds will take on a transformation. But, to make this switch, you have to find healthy foods you love, not just healthy foods you’re supposed to love (no offense to kale). These are the latest prostadine reviews.


First off, you need to make sure you’re eating at least three meals a day, says Baptist Health Medical Group weight-loss surgeon Paige Quintero, MD. “Your metabolism – that elusive force that can make or break your journey to a healthy weight – is triggered by eating breakfast. If you rise at 8 a.m. but fail to eat your first meal until noon, you have missed out on stimulating your metabolism for four hours of the day.” Metabolism is the process your body uses to turn food into energy. That’s why skipping breakfast can make you feel sluggish and tired, leaving you susceptible to temptation for a quick sugar fix.


Experts agree that planning your meals ahead of time will help you stick to a healthy diet. Why not try outlining your meals for a week – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks – and see if that helps you stay on track?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate helps you build an eating plan while incorporating the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Here are some yummy food ideas from Dr. Quintero and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that can be part of your daily menu plan: Check these cortexi reviews.

  • Smoothies. To get a morning dose of fruit, try a smoothie. Peel and slice a banana. Freeze overnight. In the morning, blend with fresh strawberries and low-fat yogurt.
  • Snack attack. Pre-portion raw veggies into small bags in your fridge so they’re grab-and-go ready. Try red bell peppers, cucumber slices or whole radishes.
  • Anytime breakfast. Add a serving of a variety of leftover veggies from your fridge and saute in a skillet with a touch of olive oil. Beat egg whites and combine for a fluffy veggie omelet.
  • Craving carbs? Try a baked potato topped with salsa and low-fat cheese. It’s all the satisfaction of french fries with a fraction of the fat.
  • Sweet treat. Choose whole-grain bread and wraps for your sandwiches. When a sweet craving hits, try almond or peanut butter on a wrap with sliced strawberries. You’re getting protein and fruit! Learn more about the best keto pills for weight loss.

More media stories

What is Defensive Driving?

Defensive driving is about learning a series of skills and techniques that goes beyond the knowledge of traffic laws and standard driving abilities. These techniques provide you the abilities to anticipate a risk based on a situation and prevent a possible accident.

In order to be a safe driver, you will need to be able to consider the current traffic, weather and road conditions and be aware of your surroundings, as well as other drivers and any actions they are about to take, and foresee any unsafe situation and take actions to prevent an accident.

Key steps and techniques of Defensive Driving:

1. Stay Alert and Concentrate.
An important aspect of defensive driving is to be alert and concentrate on your driving and your surroundings. If you are not alert and cannot concentrate, your response time to a hazard situation decreases, and you may not be able to react promptly. Learn more about online traffic school california courses.

2. Scan and Identify the Hazard.
The Identify process is an important process of being able to quickly and accurately identifying a hazard. This process will require the driver to scan the surrounding environment constantly for hazards that can cause unsafe driving environment.

For example, if you are driving on the freeway, scan far ahead to make sure that there is no accident, a large object on the freeway, or a traffic jam ahead which requires you to slow down or come to a complete stop.

3. Predict the Implication.
In this phase, you quickly need to predict what happens if you do not do anything about the hazard, or what happens if you do something about it and are going to create other hazards as a result of your action.

Example: What happens if you hit a big object on the highway? Can you change the lane safely to avoid the object?

4. Decide what is the best course of action.
In this phase, you quickly need to make a safe decision of avoiding the crash or hazard. In this situation, you need to stay calm to make sure that your decision is not emotional and will not cause a more serious hazard.

Example: If you see a big object in the highway, you need to assess the situation and decide if you can safely change the lane away from the object, or stop because you cannot safely change the lane.

5. Execute the best course of action.
In this phase, you are safely taking actions or reactions based on your best decision.

Example: If you see a big object in the highway and you can safely change lanes away from that object, safely change lanes to avoid a collision with the big object.

Perception and Reaction Time
There are four phases to seeing a hazard, recognizing that it is a hazard, decide how to react and initiate the reaction. This four-phase process is called “PIEV”:

  1. Perception time is the amount of time that it takes a driver to see a hazard.
  2. Intellection time is the amount of time that it takes a driver to figure out that the hazard can cause a crash or a dangerous situation.
  3. Emotion is the amount of time for the driver to decide what to do.
  4. Volition is the amount of time that takes to start the reaction (e.g., moving the foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal).


Perception and reaction time depends on a driver’s awareness and health condition.  Studies show that most alert drivers have perception and reaction times of less than 1 second.

Thus, if a driver is fully focused on driving, aware, not tired, and constantly scanning the road ahead and around for hazard, he/she can see and react to the hazard in a much quicker time, which provides a better chance for the driver to avoid a crash or hazard.

Healthy Diet



Humans need a wide range of nutrients to lead a healthy and active life. For providing these nutrients, good nutrition or proper intake of food in relation to the body’s dietary needs is required. An adequate, well balanced diet combined with regular physical activity is a cornerstone of good health. Poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased susceptibility to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity.

A healthy diet consumed throughout the life-course helps in preventing malnutrition in all its forms as well as wide range of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and conditions. But rapid urbanization/globalization, increased consumption of processed foods and changing lifestyles has led to a shift in dietary patterns. Visit

People are consuming more foods high in energy, fats, free sugars or salt/sodium, and many do not eat enough fruits, vegetables and dietary fibers such as whole grains. So, these all factors are contributing to an imbalanced eating. A balanced and healthy diet will vary depending on the individual needs (e.g. age, gender, lifestyle, degree of physical activity), cultural context, locally available foods and dietary customs but the basic principles of what constitute a healthy diet remain the same.

A balanced diet is one which contains variety of foods in such quantities and proportion that the need of all nutrients is adequately met for maintaining health, vitality and general wellbeing and makes a small provision for extra nutrients to withstand short duration of leanness.

The major food issues of concern are insufficient/ imbalanced intake of foods/nutrients.  One of the most common nutritional problems of public health importance in India are low birth weight, protein energy malnutrition in children, chronic energy deficiency in adults, micronutrient malnutrition and diet related non-communicable diseases. Health and nutrition are the most important contributory factors for human resource development in the country.

Healthy dietary practices begin early in life. Recent evidences indicate that under nutrition in utero may set the pace for diet related chronic diseases in later life. Breastfeeding promotes healthy growth and improves cognitive development, and may have longer-term health benefits, like reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing NCDs later in life.

Since a healthy diet consists of different kinds of foods, the emphasis has been shifted from nutrient orientation to the food based approach. Foods can be categorized according to the function as- 

  • Energy rich foods (Carbohydrates and fats)-whole grain cereals, millets, vegetable oils, ghee, nuts and oilseeds and sugars.
  • Body building foods (Proteins)- Pulses, nuts and oilseeds, milk and milk products, meat, fish, poultry.
  • Protective foods (Vitamins and minerals) – Green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk and milk products and flesh foods.

Diet during different stages of Life

Nutrition is important for everyone. However, the requirement is different for every individual may it be an infant, growing child, pregnant/lactating women and elderly people. The diet varies from person to person depending upon various factors like age, gender, physical activity, nutritional requirement during different physiological stages of the body and other various factors. Body weights and heights of children reflect their state of physical growth and development, while weights and heights of adults represent steps taken towards good health.

Diet for an Infant:

If you have an infant or kid at your place, make sure that they get enough nutrition in their growing years of age. Babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. Breast feeding should be started within an hour after delivery and do not discard first milk (colostrum), as it boosts the immunity of the baby and protects baby from several infections. Exclusive breast-feeding ensures safe nutrition to the infant thereby reducing the risk of infections and also helps in the overall development of the baby   Breast-milk is the most natural and wholesome food for growth and healthy development of infants.  Breast –fed infants do not need additional water.  After six months, you can feed your baby with complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed. Complementary food should be rich in nutrients. These complementary foods can be prepared at home from commonly used food materials such as cereals (wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, etc.); pulses (grams/dals), nuts and oilseeds (groundnut, sesame, etc.), oils (groundnut oil, sesame oil etc.), sugar and jaggery. You can feed your baby to variety of soft foods like potatoes, porridge, cereals, or even eggs. According to WHO,

  • Infants should be breastfed exclusively during the first 6 months of life.
  • Infants should be breastfed continuously until 2 years of age and beyond.
  • From 6 months of age, breast milk should be complemented with a variety of adequate, safe and nutrient dense complementary foods.

Infants cannot eat large quantities of food at a single time so they should be fed small quantities at frequent intervals (3-4 times a day). Also, the food should be of semi-solid consistency so that the infants can swallow it easily.  A balanced diet is the key to protect your child against nutritional deficiencies. Protein Energy Malnutrition more commonly affects children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. Malnutrition is defined as “a state of poor nutrition caused by insufficient or unbalanced diet”.

Points to Remember:

  • Start breast-feeding within an hour after delivery and do not discard colostrum.
  • Breast-feed exclusively (not even water) for six months.
  • Continue breast-feeding in addition to nutrient-rich complementary foods preferably up to 2 years.
  • Breast-milk alone is not enough for infants after 6 months of age. Complementary foods should be given after 6 months of age, in addition to breast-feeding.
  • Feed low-cost home-made caloric and nutrient rich complementary foods.
  • Observe hygienic practices while preparing and feeding the complementary food for infants.
  • Read nutrition label on baby foods carefully as children are most prone to infections.
  • Avoid junk foods.

Diet for a Growing Child:

Children who eat a balanced diet lay the foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle and this further lowers the risk of long term health issues. Childhood is the most critical time for growth as well as for development of the mind and to fight infections. So, it is very essential that the children get a good dose of energy, proteins, vitamins and minerals. It is very important to follow that hygienic practices are followed while preparing and feeding the complementary food to the child; otherwise, it might lead to diarrhoea. A well formulated balanced diet is necessary for children and adolescents to achieve optimum growth and boost their immunity. Balanced Diet, playing outdoors, physical activities of child are essential for optimum body composition and to reduce the risk of diet related chronic conditions later in life and to prevent any sort of vitamin deficiency.  Adolescence has various other factors attached to it: rapid increase in height and weight, hormonal changes and mood swings.

Olympic Torch carried on Dragon Boat and Voyageur Canoe on Final Day

Olympic Torch carried on Dragon Boat and Voyageur Canoe on Final Day

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Olympian Hugh Fisher carried the Olympic Torch on a dragon boat on part of the final leg of the Olympic Torch Relay that has traveled from sea to sea to sea and all across Canada.  He passed it on to Olympian kayaker Kamini Jain in the middle of False Creek, as she stood on a voyageur canoe.

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I was part of the 6 dragon boat and 6 outrigger canoe accompanying flotilla, that followed the torch bearing boats.  We all stood for a photo op with torch bearers Hugh and Kamini, after it was over.

Pictures and more stories coming later 

2010_Olympics_Feb12 192 Todd stands with Kamini Jain, Olympic torch bearer for 2010, Olympic kayak racer in Athens 2004 and Sydney 2000.

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Alwyn Morris won gold and bronze partnered with Hugh Fisher in the Mens K-2 events in LA 1984.  Alwyn is the first and only gold medalist Aboriginal Canadian, and he held up an eagle feather when he ascended the podium in 1984.

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Geo, Lisa and Todd hold the Olympic flame with torch bearer and gold medalist Olympian Hugh Fisher (LA 1984).

Gung Haggis dragon boat team paddle on Sunday Feb 7th

Gung Haggis dragon boat team paddles False Creek and takes in pre-Olympic sight-seeing.

We have a dragon boat team of keeners…. who wanted to paddle in February.  It was our first paddling practice since early November, when we had a few practices after paddling in the Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta.  Fifteen people jumped into the dragon boat for 11am practice on Sunday Feb 7th,

And… I think… I really needed to paddle to get myself warmed up for paddling in the dragon boat flotilla that will accompany the Olympic Torch Relay on Feb 12th, for when Gold medalist Olympian Hugh Fisher will pass off the Olympic Torch from a dragon boat to Olympian Kamini Jain in a voyageur canoe.

I only paddled for half the practice. if
that… I also coached some of the paddlers a bit for some 1-on-1 coaching  for only half the
time.   I steered for the remaining half, after switching with Stephen Wong, who started off steering for the team.

The team met at the parking lot for False
Creek Yacht Club for 11am, then had a quick warm-up, then headed to the
boat for 11:15am, headed over to Alder Bay to pick up Debbie, then back to
FC Yacht Club to pick up a paddler named Tony who arrived late after his morning meeting.  Next we paddled towards and past the Burrard St. Bridge to show
paddlers where the lights are for the from the
nightly spectacular light show.

I pointed out where the boat launch for the Burrard Marina is, where dragon boat paddlers for the flotilla that will accompany the Olympic Torch Relay will organize.

Next we paddled Eastward to Granville Island to identify the Ferry dock at West Side of Granville Island,
where the torch will be handed to torchbearer Olympian Hugh Fisher.  We looked over at the bright yellow building, formerly known as Bridges Restaurant, that is now being transformed into the Swiss Pavillion.  At the North end of the Granville St. Bridge is a floating hotel lodge that has been towed down from Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) that is normally lodged at Langara Island.

We took a little stretch, then switched sides.  I took a turn at steering, and let veteran paddlers Stephen Wong take his turn for paddling.  Just East of Granville Island is the Spruce Harbour Marina, where nearby, is the area where Hugh will pass the torch to Kamini
Jain in the middle of False Creek.    Hugh will be in the dragon boat, and pass the torch to Kamini in the voyageur canoe.  There are great viewing areas from both the North and South sides of False Creek, so it is perfect for cameras and television crews to set up for a unique photo opportunity.

We spotted the big black
pontoon floats that are being used for security to block off the boat
traffic in the East Bay, that are positioned along Cambie St. Bridge.  We paddled along beside it and waved to the officers in the Police Boat, guarding the perimeter, that includes the Olympic Village.

Next we paddled near the Yaletown ferry dock, where
Kamini will hand the torch to a runner, after she climbs out of the voyageur canoe.   The torch will then proceed up the streets towards Georgia Street, where it will arrive at the First Nations Aboriginal Pavillion where there will be a blessing ceremony.  This will be one of the final stops of the Olympic Torch before it travels to the Opening Ceremonies about 2 blocks down the street to BC Place Stadium, later in the evening.

It was a good paddle, and our paddlers were happy and pleased that I would be a part of the dragon boat flotilla accompanying the Olympic Torch Relay.  But most of all, the paddlers were all happy to be paddling again, and in friendly company.  Many times I heard somebody say, “I'm just here for the social aspects” as we paddled back to FC Yacht
Club…. by about 12:30pm.

The next plan was to have lunch.  I promised that I would treat everybody to dim sum lunch, if they came paddling.

We were at Floata Restaurant for dim sum,
at 1pm, at least my car was.  Other people got re-routed by traffic
diversions.  By the time they arrived, there were lots of dim sum selections on the table.  Haw-gow shrimp dumplings, Siu-mai pork dumplings, Lo-bak-goh pan-fried turnip cake.  We also tried a special appetizer plate that included jelly fish,  crispy pork skin and bbq pork.  There was also shanghai style dumpling with shrimp meat and green vegetable, steamed pork bun, sliced-almond covered shrimp balls, fish cakes, and more!  I also ordered house special chow mein with crispy noodles, and Geurng-chow-ngor-hah flat rice noodles with sliced beef.

This was Katie's first time having dim sum in Vancouver.  She's originally from Ontario, and only been in Vancouver almost a year…. and somehow never found her way to dim sum yet.

Georgia pronounced that the meal was “heaven”

GREAT LUNCH!!!  and we finished off with Chinese egg tarts for dessert.

Olympic Torch to be carried by dragon boat in its final journey to Opening Ceremonies

Dragon boat to carry the Olympic Torch!

The last day of the Olympic Torch Relay Feb 12th will feature Dragon Boats and Canoes as Olympic gold medalist Hugh Fisher, from a dragonboat, will hand off the torch to Kamini Jain, in a voyageur canoe, in the middle of False Creek.   This event will take place on February 12th in Vancouver BC.  Details and exact times will be released soon.

Fisher won Olympic Gold and Bronze with Kayak partner Alwyn Morris at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.  Kamini Jain competed in K-1 single kayak events in 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games.  Fisher is one of the founders of the False Creek Racing Canoe Club which has helped to shape dragon boat racing in Canada and also influence it's development in North America. 

Kamini is the current head coach of the FCRCC, and took the Mixed team to gold and silver in Sydney Australia for the 2007 IDBF World Championships.  FCRCC-cored Premier Mixed: 2nd at 500m (by 0.51 secs!), 4th at 200, 1st at 2K

It's going to be exciting as 6 dragon boats (20 paddlers) and 6 outrigger canoes (6 paddlers) make up the escort flotilla, that will accompany the torch bearing boats.  It will bring back memories of the torch first arriving in Canada after landing at the airfield, and then arriving to BC's Provincial Legislature Building in Victoria, carried by First Nations cedar canoes.

And I will be one of the paddlers in the flotilla!  Yippee! 

2009_June 060 by you.

Here's the Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dragon boat team at the 2009 Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  One
of these BuK boats will probably be used to transport the Olympic Torch
in the final legs of the relay to the Opening Ceremonies at BC Place

The six dragon boats and outrigger canoes will be paddled by False Creek Racing Canoe Club, and some other clubs.  I think I will be on a boat where paddlers from different teams have been invited to participate.  I am very excited at being invited. 

Back in the summer, I did a video audition to be a torch bearer for the City of Vancouver, as two library workers would be included amongst the selected workers from police, firemen, city workers and parks workers.  Sadly, I wasn't chosen – but I know our library workers are deserving and wonderful people, especially my friend Judy Caldwell, who is a librarian, and dragon boater.  Judy is one of the founders of the Abreast in a Boat dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors, and we were both awarded the 2008 BC Community Achievement Award.

I've been involved with dragon boats in Vancouver for many years.  I attended the first dragon boat races on False Creek in 1986 during Expo 86.  I joined my first team in 1993.  Soon I was coaching other teams, and competed in Victoria races in 1997 and San Francisco in 1999.  I was invited to join the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Race Committee in 2000.  In 2003 I helped to found the Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Race, as board member of the CCC Dragon Boat Association.  The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team has been active since 2002, and dedicated to promoting multiculturalism through dragon boat paddling.  We have put Taiwanese dragon boats into the St. Patrick's Day parade in 2004 and 2005.  The team has been filmed for tv documentaries for French, German and Canadian television, and also for an upcoming documentary movie.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the Gung Haggis team, at the 2007 Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat race!  Imagine holdin the Olympic Torch from the head of the dragon – but these Taiwanese boats won't be used for the Olympic Torch Relay.

Here is information about viewing the Olympic Torch on False Creek from the False Creek Racing Canoe Club Website:

After covering 45,000 Km across Canada, the Olympic flame will be crossing the waters of False Creek on its final
journey to BC Place for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter
Olympics …

… the next-to-last leg of the Torch Relay, on February 12th, will be from Granville Island to Yaletown!

That a final-day leg is on the water – really, it's a bit odd when you think in terms of Winter in Canada
– is a recognition of the importance which paddle sports have in many
parts of Canada, especially in & around Vancouver and the Lower
Mainland … even in Winter!

That the
leg is on False Creek is recognition of how many people see the Creek
as the central hub of their training & racing & simple
recreational-paddling activites – not just FCRRC, but all the other
clubs & groups & individuals using it too.

And too, of
how much the Creek has changed since it was primarily a very
unfriendly-to-recreation beehive of industrial activities, before Expo 86 –
when the first Dragon Boat events took place there.

Key details (there might be more to come a bit later in the week – stay tuned):

  • on February 12th, departing from the FC Ferry dock at
    the West end of Granville Island, the Torch will be carried in a Dragon
    Boat and a Voyageur Canoe to the Yaletown dock at the Quayside Marina.  Full details & map here, and in the Vancouver2010 Interactive map (go to Day 106 & select Vancouver)
  • Kamini Jain, FCRCC's Head Coach, and Hugh Fisher, one of FCRCC's founders, both of whom have competed in paddling events at the Summer Olympics for Canada, have been honoured by being chosen as Torch Bearers for the False Creek leg

So let's all get out to watch the Torch's voyage, and cheer Kamini & Hugh.

  • Suggested viewing points are Granville Island, the Granville Street
    Bridge, the Seawall either side of David Lam Park and the Cambie Street
  • Eager to absorb all the Olympic spirit of the final day?  Come down
    to Granville Island earlier, and follow the torch as it makes its way
    through the streets before crossing the water (see the map for full
    details of the two days – 105 & 106 – that the Torch is in
    the city)

Two cautions:

  • Boat traffic (including canoes, kayaks, etc.) will be extremely restricted
    during this time!

… taking out your own boat (or one of the Club's OCs or Marathons or K/C-1s) to view the Torch Relay will
likely result in being turned away and missing the view you can get
from on-land viewpoints

  • Make sure you allow yourself lots of time to get there, and don't plan on parking on or anywhere near GI either (see News item for more on those topics)

For more information on the Torch Relay and other Olympic events visit—alternative-modes-of-transportation-in-vancouver_236610kB.html

Did Muk Muk, the Olympic sidekick marmot, see his shadow today on Ground Hog Day?

Ground Hog Day in balmy British Columbia. 
Did Muk Muk see his shadow?

We don't have ground hogs, we have the Vancouver Island Marmot, and are currently over-run with Muk Muks!
January20103 by you.

Muk Muk see his shadow this morning? Ground hogs don't live in
Vancouver or Whistler, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics – but marmots
do. It rained this morning. I doubt that Muk Muk saw his shadow… Too
bad – Vancouver doesn't get 6 more weeks of winter that Eastern North
American will get, as predictedy by Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania, Wiarton Willie in Ontario and Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia.

We saw a television news story that snow is being trucked to the Cypress Bowl Olympics site for Free style skiing and Snowboarding.  It's coming all the way from Manning Park!  Way past Hope and the Fraser River!  I guess there isn't even any snow at Hemlock Valley!

News results for snow, manning park, olympics
Trucks start moving snow to Cypress Mountain from Manning Park‎ – 9 hours ago

The great Olympic snow job is under way. VANOC to bring in snow by helicopter from elsewhere in the Cypress area and truck in snow from Manning Park.

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.

Who will light the Olympic Flame at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games

Who will light the Olympic Flame at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games

Chinese gymnast Li Ning lights the Olympic Flame at the Beijing 2008 games.

John Furlong, chief executive officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee said, “As it nears its final destination, we want
everyone to share the pride and surprise of the moment and as the
identity of the final torch bearer is revealed.” 

The host country makes a statement about itself, its accomplishments and its ideals by the choice of the person who lights the Olympic flame.

the 1928 Summer
Games in Amsterdam, former star athletes have usually been the final
torchbearers. Norway chose Crown Prince Haakon of Norway for the Lilliehamer games, as both his father and grandfather took part in the Olympics.

Canada's choice at Montreal 1976 and Calgary 1988 featured teenagers and a tweener.   In Montreal Summer Games, Sandra Henderson, 15, of Toronto, and Stephane Prefontaine,
16, of Montreal, were to symbolize Canadian unity. In Calgary Winter Games Robyn
Perry, 12, a junior figure skater, was chosen to represent youth and
future Olympians.

The Star in Toronto has named some suggestions:–who-should-light-the-olympic-flame

The Star listed many British Columbians as the potential last torch bearer:

Nancy Greene of Rossland, B.C., who won ski gold and silver at the 1968
Games in Grenoble

Kerrin Lee-Gartner of Trail, won gold downhill skiing in Albertville in 1992, 

Karen Magnussen (North Vancouver), won silver in women's figure skating 1972

Rick Hansen of Williams Lake, B.C. (now Greater Vancouver), a Paralympic gold medallist
and tireless champion of those with spinal cord injuries, known world wide for his 1986/87 Man in Motion Tour.

Joe Sakic, of Burnaby who starred on
the 2002 gold medal-winning hockey team, 

Non athletes include Betty Fox, mother of the late Terry Fox of Port
Coquitlam, B.C., who has been the subject of online petitions and facebook groups.

Doug Alward,
the best friend of Terry Fox, who accompanied him from the start of the Marathon in Newfound Land and every step until the end of the aborted run.

Other Canadians include:

Gretzky, an ex-Olympian and architect of that 2002 squad, might be
considered candidates, as could superdad Walter Gretzky.

Cindy Klassen,
Canada's most-decorated Olympian with six medals for speed skating

Gaetan Boucher, who won four
Games' medals for speed skating

Clara Hughes, who won medals at the Winter and Summer Games. Cycling Bronze at Atlanta 96 + Speed skating Bronze at Salt Lake City 2002 + 5 medals including Gold at Turin 2006

Bailey gold in the men's
100-metre and 4 by 100-metre relay at the 1996 games in Atlanta.

Barbara Ann
Scott, 1948 Olympic figure skating champion

Kurt Browning Four-time men's world champion figure skater Kurt Browning who never won an Olympic medal.

Rick Hansen on the Great Wall of China in 1986

I value the wonderful community work that both Terry Fox's mother Betty and brother Darrell have done for continuing to carry the flag for the Terry Fox Run, encouraging runs all across communities in Canada and more than 60 runs in 28 countries around the world.  I speak at Terry Fox Runs and elementary schools
every year, since 1993, when Darrell Fox asked me to become a Terry's
Team member.  In 1993, I was a featured speaker at the Terry Fox Run press conference with Rick Hansen.  Rick has always talked about his friendship with Terry, and how Terry's Marathon of Hope inspired his Man in Motion tour.

While I believe that Betty Fox, Darrell Fox and Doug Alward would be great people to carry
the torch during the relay, I don't think they qualify as athletic
achievers – which is the usual lighter of the torch around the world.
Think Muhammad Ali in 96,  and so….

My favorite is Rick Hansen.

Rick is an internationally known figure, famous for his two year long world Man in Motion Tour from March 1985, through  26-months,  40,000 km through 34 countries, four continents, until returning to Vancouver on May 22, 1987 at BC Place Stadium – the very same site that will be used for the Vancouver 2010 Opening and Closing ceremonies.  What separates Rick from the other former Olympic athletes and medal winners, is his humanitarian values, as the founder of The Rick Hansen Foundation, and as a long time activist for people with disabilities and people with spinal cord injuries.  He has recieved the Order of BC, Companion to the Order of Canada, many honours such as Athlete of the Year, and many many honourary doctorate degrees, and has been inducted to both the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

And remember the media reaction to Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan in his wheel chair receiving the Olympic Flag at the Closing ceremonies in Turin 2006?  Incredible!

It will send a message to the world of value and inclusivity about people with disabilities.  This is a Canadian value that we appreciate.