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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year:

Golden Village: Richmond BC
Habeeb Salloum

No need to visit China, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, or other Asiatic countries! No need to fly to Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai or Tokyo to experience Asiatic cultures or shop for the latest product produced in the Far East or to sample the foods of the Orient. In one day you can visit all these countries. It’s not impossible! Just visit Richmond, a Vancouver suburbia city, and explore its Golden Village, a bit of Asia in Canada, housing the products of all these lands.

The Golden Village is best known for its shopping malls accommodating much of the goods of the Orient and offering these exotic goodies to the Canadian public. With some 65% of Richmond’s population of Asiatic origin, these people who have their roots in the Far East make up the highest percent of the population in any city outside of Asia. Encompassing more people than Old Chinatown in Vancouver, which is the oldest Chinatown in Canada, the Golden Village is often referred to as the ‘new Chinatown in Metro Vancouver’.

One’s visit to Richmond would be short-changed if the Golden Village were omitted from an exploration of the city. Full of the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of the Orient, the three large malls with their bakeries, cafes, restaurants and shops, constitute the core of the ‘Village’. Within a four-block area one can find some 600 shops, the vast majority carrying the exotic products of the East, art galleries, tea Shops, jewellery outlets, teashops and the latest fashions and technical inventions, as well as eating- places, hotels and karaoke bars. It is a unique Asiatic world, transported to Canada’s Pacific coast – all within a five-minute taxi ride from Vancouver’s airport.

A high concentration of Asiatic malls with innumerable food courts cater to the local community and tourists from inside and outside the country who make up the vast majority of customers who frequenting the Golden Village. For those looking for something new one can include while shopping, massages of all types, a genuine tea ceremony and dining in one of the eating-places to sample a wide range of oriental foods.

One of the oldest and largest of the Asian-themed malls is the three-storey Aberdeen Centre, eventually totally rebuilt in 2003. It once served mostly Chinese from Hong Kong. Today, it is also patronized by mainland Chinese and Japanese as well as others - mostly of Asiatic origin.

A sprawling three-storey complex it houses some 250 stores and a charming atrium water fountain display. The Aberdeen Centre is the only mall in Canada with a modern atmosphere that appeals to both the Canadian-Chinese and Canadians of other ethnic origins. Noted for its famous Daiso, a $2. store, this well known Japanese retail discount outlet where one can find goods from herb teas and salted lemons to crispy sweet fried crabs and Chinese candy, is the centre is a shopper’s paradise.

One must visit the President Plaza, an Asian-themed, largely Taiwanese mall noted for its foodstuffs –some rare, such as fish and other sea creatures splashing around in tanks, canned bamboo shoots and much, much more. The mall also incorporates the large Radisson Vancouver Airport Hotel; a Buddhist temple operated by Taiwan's Fo Guang Shan; a humanistic Buddhist order and a T & T Supermarket, Canada's largest Asian supermarket chain.

Then there is the Yaohan Centre, originally designed to carry a Japanese theme, but in reality it turned out to be a pan-East-Asian centre. For those enamoured with exotic gourmet foods, its food court features more than 15 different Asian cuisines. The home of the Osaka supermarket, stocking all sorts of foodstuffs, the whole mall can be a first-class Asian shopping experience.

Parker Place, a Hong Kong style mall is not as large as the other three malls. Here one can find numerous clothing shops featuring Asian style fashions. It houses some 50 chic fashion boutiques, which offer the most inclusive styles of fashion found in China, Hong Kong and Japan,. The second oldest mall in the ‘Golden Village, it adds a little of Hong Kong to the other malls.

There are other small malls and restaurants that flow out from the core-malls in the Golden Village. Alexandra Road, edging the malls and labelled as ‘Food Street’, has the highest concentration of eating places in Richmond, featuring a wide range of Asian cuisine as well as hot pot and buffet restaurants. No one who visits Vancouver should leave without first having a meal at the Golden Village. It will be a treat long remembered.

Reflecting the Asian face of Metro-Vancouver, the Golden Village is known as the ‘Asian Gem of British Columbia’. There is no better place to see how the Asian immigrants, especially the Chinese have come a long way into becoming an important part of Canadian society – a long way from when they had to pay a head tax in order to immigrate to Canada.

Facts About Richmond and Vancouver:
1. The Vancouver International Airport is located in Richmond. A taxi from the Airport costs from $10.00 to $20.00 to any place in Richmond, but if you are staying at a hotel in Richmond, most have FREE airport shuttles.
2. The Golden Village is located in the City of Richmond, bordered by Sea Island Way, Garden City Road, Alderbridge Way and No. 3 Road. It is five minutes from the Vancouver International Airport – three bridges connect the airport area almost directly to the Golden Village
3. At most times of the year you need an umbrella in Vancouver.
4. Try Vancouver's Sky Train - the quickest and most scenic way to traverse the metropolitan region.
5. Tourists in Vancouver and the surrounding towns can swim and ski the same day, enjoy one of the most scenic settings in the world and relax in the banana belt of Canada.
6. Visitors to the Golden Village have countless choices in restaurants, food courts and other types of eating-places – it’s an Asiatic gourmet world, featuring the top dishes eaten in the Orient. Some travellers say that the best Chinese food in the world is to be found in the Golden Village in Richmond. It is said that the food at the Village’s restaurants is balanced in seasoning and appealing to the palate in flavour and quality and that it overshadows the same dishes prepared in Asia.
7. All prices quoted are in Canadian dollars.
Two Fine Places to Stay in Richmond:
Radisson Vancouver Airport Hotel: a deluxe, award-winning conference hotel located in the Golden Village, near the Vancouver International Airport and a short drive from downtown Vancouver. 8181 Cambie Road, Richmond B.C. Canada V6X 3X9. Tel: (604) 276-8181; Toll Free: 1-800-333-3333. Fax: (604) 279-8381.
Email: Website:
River Rock Casino Resort: Western Canada's only 4-Diamond casino resort, featuring luxurious suites. 8811 River Road, Richmond, BC V6X 3P8. Tel: 604.247.8900. Toll Free: 1.866.748.3718. Fax: 604.207.2641. E-Mail: Website:

For Further Information, Contact:
Tourism Richmond Visitor Centre: 11980 Deas Thruway, Richmond, BC Canada V6W 1L1. Tel: (604) 271-8280. Toll Free: (877) 247-0777. Fax: (604) 271-8281

© Habeeb Salloum March 2009

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