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Wah Yan College Kowloon Alumni Association of Ontario

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July 1st ~4th , 1999 __Sean Coghlan, S.J.

July 1st ~4th , 1999 JOINT CELEBRATION BY THE WAH YANS IN TORONTO

From July 1st to July 4th 1999 I spent four wonderful days in Toronto celebrating the 75th and 80th anniversaries of Wah Yan College Kowloon and Wan Yan College Hong Kong respectively.  In a warm display of brotherly unity and affection, the Ontario Alumni Associations of both colleges jointly organised four days of activities to mark these anniversaries.  I was one of the invited guests.  I thank very sincerely all the members of the two associations for their extraordinary hospitality.  I will not name any names.  The list of people I would have to thank is so long that I would use all my allotted space and have no room left for an account of the celebrations.  I would also inevitably omit someone and this would grieve me because of the unbelievable hospitality I experienced.  I was very moved to meet so many former students.  I felt lucky that I had been associated for twenty six years with the Wah Yans.  The gratitude expressed by so many for the years they spent in the Wah Yans convinced me that the Wah Yans have, at the very least, helped to form humble and simple men.

     Very early on Canada Day, July 1st 1999 I was picked up at my sister’s house and driven to Unionville High School.  There I refereed the Wah Yan Anniversary Cup Soccer Match between the Wah Yan College Hong Kong and Wah Yan College Kowloon.  I am proud to say that I was one of the few to stay on the field for the whole game.  Photographs were taken before and after the match.  Invited guests, Fr Farren and Mr George Tam, arrived in time for the game and Mr Tam was gradually transformed into a linesman in the absence of an appointed one.  Experience and canniness aided the portly Wah Yan Kowloon team to hold out against a very lively Wah Yan Hong Kong team.  Need I say there was a “Yum Cha” after the match.  The game was organised by Wah Yan College Hong Kong.

On Friday July 2nd Wah Yan Kowloon organised a golf tournament in the morning.  In the evening Wah Yan Kowloon held a dinner in North York attended by alumni from both colleges.  We were joined by two coach loads of alumni and families from New York and Vancouver and by individual alumni and families from Calgary, Chicago and Ottawa.  Two more invited guests, Frs Zee and Mr Raymond Yu joined the one hundred and fifty diners.

It was very late before we got to our respective homes and hotels but next day we had to be up early for a picnic/tour organised by Wah Yan Hong Kong.  Three bus loads of Hong Kong and Kowloon Wahyanites set off from North York for the Niagara Falls area.  First stop was at a farm near Grimsby where we spent a delightful hour picking cherries.  We then moved on to a congested Niagara Falls where we boated, shopped, did some sightseeing and had a packed lunch in a park overlooking the river below the falls.  Lunch was followed by visits to a vinery and to Stratford-on-Lake Ontario.  We arrived back in Toronto and 7:30pm found us sitting at sixteen tables for – yes, you guessed correctly, another dinner.  Stomachs were being exercised even more than legs!

On Sunday 4th, Wah Yan Kowloon being the Diamond Jubilinarians were the hosts.  Fr George Zee was the chief celebrant at the 9:30am Mass in Blessed Chinese Martyrs’ Church in Markham.  Fr Farren and I concelebrated.  It was a very moving experience to see the familiar faces of ten, twenty and thirty years’ ago so far from their beloved Hong Kong.  The Mass was the regular Sunday Mass (one of six) but it was swamped by Wahyanites from all over Toronto.  I believe the local parishioners had been warned!

        
To enable me to last out the final day of celebrations I declined the very kind offer of a Dim Sum Brunch to gear up for the evening.  And what an evening it was!  Four hundred and fifty men, women and children crowded the ballroom of Crown Plaza Don Valley Hotel for the Wah Yan College Kowloon Diamond Jubilee Gala Dinner.  This huge number necessitated some very slick work on the part of the hotel management.  “Only” four hundred had been expected.  But everything went very smoothly.

It was late before I got back to my sister’s house.  Next morning early I left for Hong Kong.  I left with indelible memories of a loyalty I find hard to fathom.  I asked myself what Wah Yans had done to merit such affection.

Anniversaries News Clip.

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