Archive for the ‘Burns Night’ Category


A Resounding Success

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With fewer than thirty tickets sold, the crowd at the Duke of York on Monday night was quieter than we expected it to be when the event was in its initial planning stages just three months ago.
We took only half of the entire floor that we had reserved from the Duke to fit the thirty-five of us into comfortable seats.  While we mingled as people streamed in, five students from the York Celtic Ensemble played a selection of fantastic music.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from them at all, but with a high endorsement from Andrew we banked on quality and were pleasantly surprised even so.  They played beautifully and I am hoping we will be hearing from them again in the near future here at the Wayfarers.

As people entered, they were greeted by Andrew at the top of the stairway just inside the Duke’s front doors.  A handbill that explained who we are and what we do was given to them, and included a pair of coupons – one for Flirty Girl Fitness and one for L.A. Fitness – that would provide some free or discounted workout time at each of the facilities to all of our attendees.

Just inside the door of the beautiful Queen Bess room at the Duke was our silent auction table.  Two pieces of art on canvas, six pieces of jewellery, an autographed series of books, monthly passes at LA Fitness, a ten-class punchcard at Flirty Girl Fitness and a handwritten letter to be sent from Scotland by us while we’re there were amongst our generously-donated auction items.  More than $400 was raised throughout the night from these tables with the help of our fantastic guests.

As the night went on, we all managed to mingle with most of the guests who attended thanks to the smaller crowd.  I was amazed at the diverse attendance, and so happy that everyone seemed to enjoy themselves even if they didn’t seem so sure on seeing the crowd. Dinner orders were taken as the music was wrapping up, and people were ready to eat.

As the music faded around 7:30, I stood up and said some words with the Wayfarers about what our cause is and what inspired it.

We are here today as our own fellowship – our own group of people here to make a difference. My name is Dan. Many of you already know me. I had the idea for the Wayfarers and our Quest one day while walking the immeasurably gruelling twelve kilometers to Paul’s house in early June of last year. “How great would it be,” I asked myself, “if I did more than twice this distance, every day, for weeks on end?

“What if I did it in costume? No – in armour?”
I knew before I’d finished the walk that evening that I wanted to do this – the fire lit in my head was not going to be ignored just because of the clear difficulties I already saw rising on the horizon.

To help me fight those difficulties I went to some heroes of my own.

My favourite part of the night was being able to introduce the Wayfarers.  I didn’t do it perfectly – the speech was far from my best work – but when I call these men my heroes, I am not just using a turn of phrase.  Each and every one of them has been a hero to me in one way or another, without even taking into account this Quest of ours.  This Quest is just taking it to a whole new level.

After I was done saying my piece, we sat down to a feast: people had a choice of Caesar salad, Scotch broth, or mixed greens for an appetizer, which was put down as I finished my speech.  The wait staff, Elaine and Melanie, were unbelievably helpful and on-the-ball despite the crowd; they were some of the best bartenders and bar staff I’ve had the pleasure of working with in any capacity.  The Duke’s kitchens were quick with the food, too: steaming Steak and Stilton pot pies, tenderly battered fish and chips, or rich Bombay chicken curry was brought upstairs on the double and everyone ate before anyone got restless.  I had the pot pie myself and can speak only to its quality – utterly divine – but have heard great things about all of the food that was served.  The brownie or sticky toffee pudding that our guests had the choice of for dessert sealed the deal and made sure that we would keep the Duke in mind for our next event.

The silent auction ended just before 9pm, with the more than 15 items being given out and paid for in short order.  Despite our having the ability to take credit card payments for the items, everyone opted to pay with cash.  It made our job easier at the end of the night calculating our totals, and the promptness with which people handed it to us (and the smiles on their faces when they did so) went a long way to easing any stresses that may have come with running an event like this.

The event was without a doubt a resounding success, and the Wayfarers knew before we left that with it had come a significant new milestone: at the Duke, we hit $10,000 in worldwide donations.  This is a huge number and mind-boggling to all of us, and with it we can see our goal from a bit higher up on the mountain ahead.

We have a number of other great events planned this year, so keep your eyes peeled… but I’d like to leave you with the end of the speech I gave on Monday, as I think it makes a point about all of you that should not go unheard:

Dumbledore’s Army, the Pevensey family and the Fellowship of the Ring have two very important things in common. First, they stood up against something bigger than themselves. They saw wrongdoing, they saw hurt and darkness and pain, and they said “I can do something about that.” Second, they did their epic deeds with the help of hundreds, even thousands of people.

Without those people, none of the heroes we read about now could have found success. Without you, we can’t either.

Thank you, everyone.


Burns Night: Five Answers

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We’ve gotten a few questions of interest over the last few weeks about our Burns Night and today’s the day to answer the top five for the public!

1. How is the money from my ticket sale being used?

Because this event isn’t free (and none of us – sadly! – has yet struck it big in the lottery), the ticket price reflects a 50% donation to the Canadian Cancer Society and 50% covering of costs.  All money used to cover costs are for individuals’ dinners; none of the Wayfarers will benefit financially from any event we run this year, and many of the things we are using for the dinner have been generously donated either by external corporations or by individuals, including the Wayfarers themselves.

2. How will the auction work?

The auction will be performed as a silent auction, with items (and descriptions) laid out on a table.  There will be sheets that will detail what the item is, who provided or sponsored it, the approximate retail value and the minimum bid.  The sheet will also state what the minimum “raise” is.  Bids that do not follow this minimum raise will be disregarded, so please make sure you’re paying attention!

When you make a bid, write down your name, phone number and the bid you would like to make.  We will be asking that you pay for your item on-site, and for this we are able to accept cash, credit card or PayPal, as we are able to make these payments directly to our charity service via tablet PC.  The phone number is only in case you have to leave the event before the auction winners are announced, between 8:30 and 9:00pm.

We have a few great items for the auction and have more coming in over the course of the next week – we’ll be making a post about some of them around this time next week, so keep your eyes peeled!

3.  Why are credit card and debit card payments not acceptable any more for ticket sales?

Because of the fact that we are collecting all of our donations directly to the organization and not looking to hand out tax receipts ourselves, we are not a registered charity (or even an incorporated not-for-profit) – we are just a group of guys trying to do some good.  Unfortunately, that means we don’t have the numbers we need to get a not-for-profit PayPal account, which limits our ability to take card payments online for things we need to use the money for – per question 1, above.

4.  Why are you holding this night on the 23rd instead of on its actual date, the 25th?

This one’s easy – because we all want to be able to celebrate on the 25th in our own way!

No, in all seriousness it’s because Monday night is a good night for the bar – it will cost us less to use the Duke, and that means more money goes to the charity.  And that’s a good thing for everyone!

5.  What sort of entertainment is being provided?

We are lucky to have gotten the York Celtic Ensemble, from York University, to play us in during cocktails and up until dinner starts.  During dinner we will likely be using a recording to give the poor musicians a break!

You will also be “treated” to some quick poetry readings from Robbie Burns’ repertoire as well as (possibly) some other Scottish-themed readings.

If you have any further questions, fire us off an email at burnsnight@wayfarerquest.com and we’ll reply as soon as possible!  And who knows, your question may find its way into our next questions post.


Burns Night Approacheth

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When I started bouncing the idea for the Wayfarers around in my head – and in the heads of my friends – I knew that it would be a lot of work.  At first the work involved was simply training and getting gear together; then it expanded to getting the word out and trying to raise funds.

Since then it has exploded to nearly monthly events, starting with this month’s Burns Night on January 23rd.  As already briefly discussed, our Burns Night at the Duke will be a $60 plate event that will include live music, delicious served food and a chance to meet the Wayfarers and talk to us about what we are doing.

We have finally put together the Burns Night Order Form – a simple sheet that you can print off to give to a Wayfarer with cash (if you know us personally) or email details from to us.  Remember that we need a choice made for each of the options at the bottom of the sheet, for every person that is attending.

Accepting anything other than cash payments ends up costing us money; we are willing to do it via PayPal but need to charge an additional $3 (for a total of $63 per ticket) in order to cover our own costs and not take away from the fundraising that we are performing.  If you would like to attend but will not be able to pay cash until the event itself, email us and tell us so.  We will reserve your seat.

That said there are still seats available and we would love to have you for a night of great food from the Duke itself, live music provided by the York Celtic Ensemble and a cause for the ages.

Order your tickets now by emailing us here!


Burns Night 2012

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Robbie Burns, poet and author of Scotland, was born on January 25th and the day is often celebrated in Scotland (and by Scottish emigrants to other countries) as a day to toast Scots heritage with scotch whisky, haggis and good friends.

Because of this, on Monday, January 23rd (so that you can celebrate in your own way on the 25th!), we will be hosting a Burns Night at the Duke of York pub here in Toronto.

With the doors opening at 6:30pm and live music provided by the York University Celtic Ensemble, we will have a served dinner provided from the Duke’s menu and only a short speech – promise! – from me.  A silent auction will also be held with donations from around the city to help raise money for our cause.

The cost of this semi-formal gala dinner will be $60 if you pay in cash, with an additional small fee of $3 (totaling $63) if you would like to pay with credit card or debit card via PayPal, just to cover the costs we incur for accepting them at all.  Proceeds after covering the cost of the meals themselves will be donated directly to the Canadian Cancer Society through our website.

Only 86 tickets are available to the event and we are aiming to sell out, so if you are interested contact us at burnsnight@wayfarerquest.com – we will put your name on the list.

Ticket reservation is available using this form or by emailing the relevant information to the email address provided above!