Live From The Aberdeen Centre Mall


Sarah wanted a change of scenery today so we took the family to the Aberdeen Centre mall for lunch and for hanging out. Normally, I work from home but sometimes you have to get out of the house. Fortunately, my business allows me to run it from anywhere in the world, as long as I have an Internet connection.

The Aberdeen Centre mall is own by Thomas Fung (no relation to Stephen Fung). I have met Thomas only few times. Extremely driven and super rich, Thomas Fung owns so many businesses, he has trouble keeping track of them. I remember when I was in the printing business and made him a couple of rubber stamps. When I went to give it to him I asked why he didn’t get this own print shop to make the stamps? His reply was, “I own a print shop?” Thomas runs his empire under the Fairchild Group of companies.

The Aberdeen Centre is a beautiful mall. It was in fact, the first “Asian mall” in Canada. Built in the early 1990’s, the mall was designed as an one-stop shopping spot with Asian themed retail stores, herbal tea shops, restaurants, cinema and bowling alley as well as continuous weekend entertainment. The mall was named after Hong Kong’s famous tourist harbour – Aberdeen.

Then in 2000, Thomas did the unthinkable. He kicked out all the tenants, tore down the entire mall and replaced it with a new Aberdeen Centre that was three times bigger than the original! The new Aberdeen Centre opened in December 2003 with just a handful of stores, including North America’s first Diaso.



Today, Aberdeen Centre is one Vancouver’s pre-eminent cosmopolitan shopping destination. The main lobby area has a fountain that sprays a water show every half hour and the third floor food court has free wireless, which is where this blog post is being made from.

Aberdeen is a really nice place to relax and work. Sarah is updating Sally’s blog from the other laptop and Sally and her grandparents are enjoying the water show. It’s time like these that I realize just how much freedom the Internet has afforded me.

49 thoughts on “Live From The Aberdeen Centre Mall”

  1. David says:

    Its quite handy having wireless in places like that. I find myself having my laptop on me more and more, and finding more and more places provide wireless. I haven’t been to Aberdeen yet, it looks like a nice mall.

    1. Leftblank says:

      Sure thing, malls look way worse here in the Netherlands in msot of the places; wifi hotspots are quite rare here – unless you drive near houses, plenty of them there πŸ˜‰

  2. Marc says:

    Wicked gutsy move on the tear-down. Very impressive and should stand as a reminder to the rest of us about what real risk is when we worry about changing the navigation on our website πŸ˜‰

    1. John Chow says:

      You have no idea how gutsy a move that was. The financial press was questioning his sanity. What kind a person tears down an entire mall that is less than 10 years old?

      The jury is still out on whether he has made his money back. Good thing for Thomas he can afford to sit on things for a long time!

      1. Marc says:

        I imagine they were questioning his sanity…

        Taking risks is a lot easier when you can afford to wait out the ROI πŸ™‚ I’m sure it still made for a very difficult decision, but having a bankroll to keep you well in the meantime helps make those tough decisions just a little bit easier. Or so I would imagine…

        1. It is quite a risk – there are so many old malls going down in my area to make room for new ones. It’s a surprise read about a relatively new mall getting torn down!

  3. Eli says:

    You should change the last link in your post “Sally’s Bog” to “Sally’s Blog” πŸ™‚

    Looks like a really cool mall, I hope to get a laptop one day when I can afford one.

  4. Shawn Knight says:

    Nice water fountain, reminds me of the one at the Bellagio in Vegas… only on a much smaller scale.

    1. True, another great fountain is in McCormick Place (the Chicago convention center). It’s not large at all, but pretty nice!

      1. Nomar says:

        We have a simular one in town here

  5. Aniela says:

    I too have been taking my laptop with me everywhere, for the past year and a half. I have a “wardriving” antenna and I constantly get signal pretty much anywhere I go in the city.

    John, you’re living the dream.

    That’s what my plan is one day, to be able to just work off my laptop πŸ™‚

    1. Jonix says:

      Working from home or in the mall πŸ™‚ it’s not a “dream”. It can be happen, and it’s not to difficult. You just need to find the right online business for you. I too go to some shopping malls in my country and use my laptop to work. I even go 2 days in each week, and travel to some other cities that i don’t know and i allways wanted to know, and do my work from there with my laptop and my 3.5G PCMCIA Card to access internet.

      Yes i said the opposite, but i must admit, it’s a dream turned into reality.
      I’m not rich, neither i’m winning lots and lots of money, but this freedom has no price for me, it’s what everyone should call LIBERTY.

      1. Marc says:

        I’ve already set out the targets that I would need to meet in order for me to get that wonderful freedom. It’s still a long way off, but at least I know what targets I need to reach. That brings it a little bit closer to reality.

        1. HMTKSteve says:

          As have I. I’m currently only bringing in about $100 a month via my websites. I make more than that in a day at my day job… Will not be quiting day job any time soon…

          1. I am no where near that yet! Soon I hope…

            I have been concentrating on building content and not on building links! 😳

        2. Allen.H says:

          I hope I will too be able to consider myself fully financially independent until the end of the year. It’s gonna be a lot of work.


  6. Good for you John. Really shows what financial freedom can bring.. enables you to do whatever, whenever, and whereever you want.


    1. I don’t know about freedom but I think it’s funny that, on a family outing, John is working – I often find that I’m thinking “Damn, I wish I had my laptop” – but my wife would kill me!

  7. James Ahn says:

    He’s worth $200 million yet he writes his own web copy? Go to and read his grammar. It’s atrocious. Nearly as bad as yours John.

    1. John Chow says:

      Haven’t you heard? The worst your grammar, the more money you make? πŸ™‚

      He doesn’t write his own copy. His staff does but everyone is Chinese.

      1. HMTKSteve says:

        Is this some new business fad?

        Receptionist from London
        Copy writer from China


  8. Tyler says:

    Where in the lower mainland is that mall? When I think of Aberdeen I am thinking of the county in Washington State… think that’s it.

    Anywho, looks really nice, almost reminds me of Pacific Place Downtown.

    Though I wonder how Henderson Place Mall in Coquitlam does since Coquitlam Centre is kiddie corner to it. Last time I was in there, there were only a small handful of shops open/leased etc. The majority of the mall was still being built.

    1. John Chow says:

      The mall is in Richmond.

      1. Tyler says:

        Ah where in richmond is it? I’ll have to go visit. Sure I could google it but I though I’d ask anyway!

        I also mean Pacific Centre not Pacific Place. Silly me!

        1. John Chow says:

          No. 3 Road and Cambie.

  9. Alex Shalman says:

    Has the internet provided you more freedom or made you more of a slave? Just throwing out an idea… but it seems like you are paying attention to blogging instead of R&R with your family. Yes, I see the other point of view too, that you get to do both.

    1. Jonix says:

      You have to try it to answer that question. I can answer for myself, nothing to do with “slave”, by the opposite, it’s pure freedom!

  10. Ryan says:

    I just want to know where the root of all evil _can’t_ find an internet connection to get work done!


    1. Marc says:

      Evil gets what evil wants, no matter where it is πŸ™‚

  11. Ed Lau says:

    You might finds me working at Aberdeen on occassion. I don’t really like working at home.

  12. Ronald Lewis says:

    I love Vancouver. I was out there last July and had a nice time. Looking forward to visiting again. Didn’t get a chance to visit Aberdeen, but I did spend some time at the mall in West Vancouver (which slips my mind at the moment).

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      West Vancouver? That’d be Park Royal. Vancouver is a very confusing place because we have the West Side, the West End, and West Vancouver, all of which are distinctly different locales.

  13. Carl says:

    What time were you there? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that dead at Aberdeen before… Nobody is there in the pics!

    1. John Chow says:

      That’s because they have have to work at a job! πŸ˜€

      Those pics were taken about at 2PM

  14. Nomar says:

    I wish I am going to have trouble in the future with keeping track of my businesses.. would be a great feeling πŸ˜€

  15. It disturbs me that a building has such a short life cycle. We truly live in a disposable society. Here in Ireland, and the rest of Europe for that matter, business owners make do with existing buildings, preserving the atmosphere of a city. I moved here last August, and one thing I DON’T miss about the US is the suburban sprawl and ‘big box’ stores. It’s nice to be able to walk or bike in 5 minutes and get everything you need.

    1. Marc says:

      It all depends on where you are. While buildings are certainly more disposable in North America, some cities are conscious of maintaining their character while other’s thrive on change. I know that here in Halifax we’ve got tons of historical landmarks in our city core and all kinds of legislation to maintain the character of the inner city. Compare that to Las Vegas :p

      When it comes to thing like malls and big box stores, very few of them carry any character anyways. That’s what makes those far more disposable.

      1. Las Vegas is the epitome of disposable. Americans don’t have the slightest clue about sustainability. DisclaimerI’m an American but I’m trying Check out Treehugger and my blog of course too. Treehugger has loads of information on the latest ‘green’ building techniques and general tips on how to tread more lightly on the environment.

  16. As I read the title of this post I thought you’d hopped on a plane to Aberdeen – Scotland. πŸ™‚

    1. HMTKSteve says:

      I was thinking Aberdeen Maryland, USA.

  17. Harry L says:

    I just discovered your site, and I am starting
    to digest ( bad pun) all the great information you
    discuss. I’m sure your site will become a great resource for me as a beginning blogger.
    But I must admit I was sidetracked by your “Fine Dining” section. I was in Vancouver for a couple of
    days 2 years ago and was impressed by the Aberdeen Mall. But I must correct you that the oldest Asian
    themed shopping mall in North America is Japan Town
    in San Francisco, CA. It was built in the early 70’s I believe, and has a nice mix of restaurants, art and antique galleries, and specialty shops.
    I can’t wait until my next trip to Vancouver to sample more of the restaurants!

  18. Ajith says:

    Hi John
    you always post cool pics are they taken with a “coolpix”? πŸ˜‰
    Actually which is your camera and howmany megapix is it? Iwould love a small decription lol

  19. Ajith says:

    Hey John
    which is your camera which took all these cool pics (coolpix?) πŸ˜‰

  20. Below Sea Level says:

    Aberdeen Centre is a ghost town. Lots of room to bust out the laptop and it is clean. Diaso is the only shop that has constant foot traffic in it. The majority of businesses are not there to make profit. Does Fairchild and Thomas care……no they still make money. Let’s see what Canada Line does but I have a feeling the River Rock stop will do better.

  21. Allen.H says:

    It’s a shame there still aren’t many malls in my country that don’t have wireless networks. Getting out of my messy room would do much to my productivity =\


    1. HMTKSteve says:

      Where I live there are open hot spots all over the place. some company named “linksys” appears to be sponsoring them πŸ˜‰

  22. Erik says:

    Free wireless??! Damn… all the airports/malls around here are so greedy.

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