Celebrating the Lunar New Year at Downtown Porsche
DOWNTOWN PORSCHE INVITED UCR MEMBERS to celebrate the Chinese New Year at its dealership in downtown Toronto. Despite the date change due to inclement weather, about 150 UCR members attended the event and a total of 300+ participants including the guests invited by Downtown Porsche.
As we entered the showroom, we were greeted by an eye-catching red 2019 Cayenne Lunar New Year edition by Downtown Porsche. The custom graphic wrap featured an exclusive illustration of a pig, which also represents the year of the pig in the Lunar calendar. Guests had a chance to taste a selection of delicious traditional New Year eats and treats and a bubble tea bar by ChaTime Ontario serving their signature and Lunar New Year specialty drinks. The event was accompanied by a live DJ playing a mix of current and traditional Lunar New Year music remixed in a modern style. To celebrate the Lunar New Year, Downtown Porsche generously gave away red pockets (“lai see” in Chinese) filled with a $50 gift card towards any minimum purchase of $100 or more for Porsche Design clothing and accessories in-store or at its online Porsche boutique at www.shop.dfcporsche.com
The evening began with a warm welcome speech by Helen Ching-Kircher, Dealer Principal, President and CEO of Downtown Porsche, followed by my speech to thank Helen and Dr. Peter Kircher (General Manager, Downtown Porsche) for inviting our members to the event. I also introduced Ken Tsui (Assistant Vice President of Operations, Downtown Porsche) to the audience.
Downtown Porsche has been a major supporter of the membership growth at the Upper Canada Region. During the past six years, Downtown Porsche has been giving a free first-year Porsche Club of America membership to every customer who buys a car from them. We currently have approximately 2,700 primary members and a total of 4,000 members, including family or affiliated members. The Upper Canada Region remains the largest region among 145 regions at the Porsche Club of America. I showed the audience a flyer, which listed the eight benefits of our club’s membership. For instance, Downtown Porsche is offering 10% off parts, accessories and services (some exceptions may apply) to our members who show their membership cards at purchase. Moreover, our members get exclusive access to around 60 events organized by our volunteers every year. Click https://pcaucr.org/why-join-ucr/ to see the benefits of our membership.
At the event, we presented Porsche pins to welcome 15 new members, who joined our social event for the first time: John Barkovic, Adrian Battison, Ryan Coleman, Ted and Hemans Dawson, Jon and Adam Flynn, Al McQueen, Rueven Gorscht, Darin Kramer, Hao Shi, Steve Souphanthong and Sendy Phanthvong, Fred Stockley, and Armin von Eppinghoven.
During the past few years, the Upper Canada Region has been giving scholarships to high-achieving automotive apprentices at the Centennial College in Toronto and the Fanshawe College in London. I introduced Daniel Messere, one of the UCR Scholarship recipients, who is currently working as an Automotive Service Technician at Downtown Porsche. Daniel told the audience he was very thankful for the UCR scholarship because he was able to use the $1,000 scholarship to purchase specialty Porsche tools.
Stefan Walther, UCR Director and Driving Tour Chair, told the audience we will have 17 UCR driving tours in 2019 and one of the driving tours will be hosted by Downtown Porsche. Stefan is also organizing an UCR 2019 Discover Porsche and Germany Trip, which will take place on Sept. 11-23. The trip is limited to 35 people and it is approximately $6,000 per person for 13 days and 11 nights, and the package includes visits to the Porsche Museum and factory in Stuttgart, Frankfurt auto show, and Oktoberfest in Munich. The tour will be organized by EF Go Ahead Tours. Click https://pcaucr.org/the-pca-ucr-2019-discover-porsche-and-germany-trip/ for the full itinerary.
After the speeches, the Canada’s National Lion & Dragon Dance Team—Wushu Project was brought into the showroom. The Lion Dance, which involves martial arts, dance and the beating of gongs and drums, is commonly performed during the Chinese New Year and other special occasions.
After the speeches, the Canada’s National Lion & Dragon Dance Team—Wushu Project was brought into the showroom. The Lion Dance, which involves martial arts, dance and the beating of gongs and drums, is commonly performed during the Chinese New Year and other special occasions, such as weddings, store openings etc. The lion is a symbol of power, wisdom and good fortune, therefore, the Lion Dance performance chases away evil spirits and brings happiness, longevity and good luck.
Before the Lion Dance performance, an “eye-dotting” ceremony is typically held by inviting dignitaries to use a bamboo brush to dot the eyes of the lion with cinnabar powder (“jee sa” soaked in water), and this is an action to bestow the lion with life and vigour. Helen and Peter Kircher dotted the eyes of the yellow lion, while I had the honor of dotting the eyes of the red lion together with Ken Tsui. During the eye-dotting ceremony, the drum was rolling softly with the hitting of the gong and clashing of the cymbals. We dotted the left eye of the lion first, followed by the right eye, and the tongue. We then painted from the head to the tail of the lion, which symbolized a great beginning of the year to a successful ending for both Downtown Porsche and the Porsche Club of America – Upper Canada Region!
After the eye-dotting ceremony, the Lion Dance official began with the lions moving slowly and the music grew louder and louder, with the beating of drums, cymbals, and gongs instruments synchronized to the lion dance movements and actions. The Lion Dance performance lasted for about 20 minutes and it finished by performing the traditional custom of “plucking the greens” (“cai qing” in Chinese), whereby the lion plucked the auspicious green lettuce hung on a pole. The greens were tied together with a red envelope containing money, and the lion danced and approached the greens and red envelope. Then the lion ate the greens and spat them out, but kept the red envelope, which was the reward for the lion troupe. We were all amazed to see how the two dancers (one for the head and one for the tail) of each lion cooperated to accomplish the difficult manoeuvres such as the lion jump, roll over, and plucking the greens!
At the end of the evening, Helen and Peter Kircher gave away draw prizes to a number of lucky participants at the event. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Derek Chen, the Marketing Manager of Downtown Porsche and Hollie Leong, the Executive Assistant of Downtown Porsche and the Master of Ceremony, for organizing such a phenomenal evening. I also want to thank Marlene Walther, the mother of Stefan Walther, who helped me to check in our members at the event; Eshel Zweig (UCR member and photographer) and Stefan Walther (UCR Driving Tour Chair, Insurance Chair and Social Media Chair) for taking pictures at the event for our social media. I’ve heard from someone at Downtown Porsche that this may become an annual event for them, so I look forward to another great event. </>
Story by Kathleen Wong, Past President 2017-2018. Photos by Tony Law, Hyperiris.