Vancouver (Toronto Star) – More than 30 years ago, immigrants from East Asia staked out parcels of land in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond. Dominated by farms, a curling rink and car dealerships, the area would one day become a vibrant cluster of businesses known as the “Golden Village.”
But the pioneers behind the transition held back on breaking ground for a long time. It was an unproven concept; back in the 1980s, there were no large Asian-themed malls in North America.
Patrick Wong’s first job in Vancouver was overseeing the business development of the newly constructed Aberdeen Centre mall in Richmond, named after the Aberdeen harbour in his native city of Hong Kong.
“We knew people from Hong Kong were considering leaving, but they had options,” said Wong, who had become hooked on the relatively laid back Canadian lifestyle and access to the outdoors when he studied at the University of Victoria.
“Australia, the U.K., the U.S., and Toronto seemed like the more popular city in Canada. Would they choose Vancouver?”
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Photos by Jesse Winter, Star Vancouver