Photos: Telus TaiwanFest adds some colour to downtown Vancouver
I spent a fair chunk of my day at Telus TaiwanFest in downtown Vancouver.
There were plenty of highlights for the audience, but the lowlight was probably my debut as a karaoke singer. A few audience members probably cringed as I belted out David Bowie's "Let's Dance". But it was all for a good cause, with Telus contributing $25 for each singer to the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation, which assists immigrants.
On the upside, I was on a winning team in the Survey Says contest, which is hosted every year by Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking broadcaster Peggy Yu. It's similar to the old game show Family Feud, and I was lucky to be teamed up with two bright young Taiwanese girls.
I was also fortunate to run into Gary Ho, CEO of the Tzu Chi Foundation Canada, which is a Buddhist charitable organization providing humanitarian assistance in dozens of countries.
He informed me that the Tzu Chi Foundation is running a free breakfast program in five Burnaby schools for poor children.
Many westerners are unaware of the work of the Tzu Chi Foundation, which has 15,000 members and 3,000 regular volunteers in Canada.
At Telus TaiwanFest, the Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers assist people at recycling stations, ensuring this is one of the cleanest festivals of the year in Vancouver.
Last year, the festival diverted 80 percent of the garbage out of the waste stream. The volunteers could be spotted today removing trash all over the place, including in front of the Lennox Pub at Granville and Robson streets.
The foundation has a heavy presence in the 600 block of Granville. Further north in the next block, one of the sponsors, Proctor and Gamble, was handing out free Gillette razors.
Telus TaiwanFest is perhaps best known for the food, which is available in three locations: in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery and in the 500 and 800 blocks of Granville Street.
In the 700 block of Granville, various chefs are offering demonstrations—when I was in the area, it was farm-to-table specialists Stephen Aspinall and Christine Liu.
If you click the "photos" tab at the top of this page, you'll see some snapshots I took in the downtown, but you won't see any of me performing karaoke. You may have to go to YouTube to find that.