Our Burns Dinner is held in the elegant University Club of Toronto. After being piped in to a reception where society members, Club members and guests mingle, the meal starts with a Burns grace. A first course is served, then everyone stands for the piping in of in the haggis. The piper leads the haggis-bearing party, to where, with great drama, Burns’ poem To A Haggis is recited. Everyone joins in on the last line, “Gie her a haggis!” and toasts the haggis with a glass of whisky before tucking into a delicious meal..
There are three traditional speeches at any Burns Dinner:
- Immortal Memory: An invited guest gives a speech on Robbie Burns, celebrating Burns in ways light-hearted, literary or through his songs;
- The Toast To The Lasses: This is usually an amusing speech addressed to the women in the audience and to acknowledge Burns’ love of women in general and many women in particular;
- Response: This is women’s turn to make fun of men’s foibles, without being insulting!
Speeches over, the evening continues, usually with Burns songs, and ends with everyone standing, joining hands and singing Auld Lang Syne.
The MC will be Graham Desson, our immediate Past President.
Immortal Memory, given by Douglas Gibson (publisher, author, Past President SAS, son of Ayrshire – eminently well qualified to give us an entertaining and insightful address).
Address to the Haggis – Graham Desson
Toast to the Lassies – Rev. Dr. Malcolm Sinclair