Vancouver to China.

I’m back from a solid week’s vacation in gorgeous Vancouver. The place quietly whispers “natural beauty” in your ear almost whereever you are. The mountains pretty much surround you and the waters follow you. To the left are pine trees that climb 40 meters into the sky. To the right are swishing waters, receding because it’s low tide while birds come in to peck the mollusks clean. Above is, usually, blue sky, mild clouds and simple winds.
There is little air conditioning. Sure, it exists, if you want it and you’re, perhaps, old or sick. But you open a window and the air conditions your home. Lovely. We stayed in Coquitlam, which is about 45 minutes outside of the city. Indeed, it’s the suburbs, but nice suburbs, the kind of democratically okay suburbs that you might actually want to partake in. Tremendous diversity: I could identify lots of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Iranian and Hispanic cultures throughout that part of the town. Old and young. Some are retired. Some are superrich. Actually, a lot of people seem superrich. Having come from Winnipeg, where nice cars are hard to keep and maintain, the shiny metal skins being driven by people in Vancouver were surprising and even alarming.
Money flows in Vancouver. It’s said, or it was to me, that the money is fully Chinese. And I believe it. We went to an Asian mall at one end of Vancouver. It was huge and completely dedicated to Asian needs: every commodity and service was in Chinese, or occasionally, Japanese. 95% of the visitors were Asian and the parking lot was packed. Called Aberdeen Centre, the mall has about 80 stores and also hosts a range of traditionally Western coffee, banking and other fare.
If I could see the future, it is here. There’s little doubt in my mind that Vancouver, the West Coast, and the West generally, will become an Asian-focused economy over the next 50 years. The sheer number of people, the strength of their culture and attitudes, the prestige they so obviously attribute to being in Western Canada/The West is palpable.
I don’t mean this in any alarmist way. Cultures move like water, first to deeper pockets and then to shallower land. I expect that there will be a mall like that of Aberdeen Centre in Winnipeg in the next 20 years. But I assume there will be one in every city on the West Coast in 10.