Jiu Jiang Japanese Restaurant

August 19th, 2017

Jiu Jiang Japanese Restaurant is a welcome addition to Kerrisdale village. The new business is located on Balsam Street, tucked around the corner from West 41st Avenue. The restaurant opened in December 2016 and has been steadily gaining loyal customers who return to the restaurant for the fresh, made to order food and stellar customer service.

Jiu Jiang Japanese sushi 1 Kerrisdale InsiderJeff and Yvonne Chang own the family operated business; Jeff is the sushi chef and Yvonne cooks in the kitchen. Their daughters Riva and Vivian work as servers and their son Sam is being taught the craft of sushi making by Jeff.

The Changs are originally from Taiwan and immigrated to Canada in 2001. In Taiwan the family owned a market; when Jeff entered the workforce in Vancouver he began as a dishwasher at the well-respected Kamei Royale restaurant in Coal Harbour. Over his 15 years of employment at the Japanese restaurant he worked his way up to sushi chef.

Vivian and Riva Chang Jiu Jiang Japanese Kerrisdale InsiderYvonne also comes from a restaurant background. Although her background was primarily Taiwanese cuisine, Vivian mentions, “She also dabbled in Japanese cuisine before opening Jiu Jiang.” They pooled their culinary talents to open their own business. “Jiu Jiang is their brainchild,” says Riva with a smile.

Working together as a family is proving to be a great success.

Assisting their parents has always been important. Vivian says, “As kids we always helped out with the family business – it was like playing house.” Riva adds, “We know how to communicate with each other.” This is especially important in a relatively small space – the restaurant has a capacity of 38 seats. The sisters have a strong connection; they complete each other’s sentence and this partnership is also evident with their brother and parents.

Jiu Jiang Japanese sushi 2 Kerrisdale InsiderBoth Riva and Vivian left their full time careers to assist their parents. Riva worked for a number of years in the fashion industry as an administrator with Oak + Fort. Vivian worked in the fitness business and also as a barista for many years; she dreams of one day owning her own coffee shop.

The family works long hours. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 9:00 p.m. daily. In addition there is the behind the scenes prep and clean up work to manage.

“Running your own business requires dedication working 24/7.” Riva Chang

Jiu Jiang is known for its marriage of Japanese food with a hint of Taiwanese hometown flavour. They put an emphasis on utilizing fresh local ingredients. Riva says, “Vancouver is such a great city for seafood” and the menu reflects this bounty from the sea.

Jiu Jiang Japanese chef Kerrisdale InsiderDue to the availability of ingredients not all menu items are listed. Deluxe Oshi is one of Vivian’s favourite seasonal dishes. This pressed sushi consists of two layers of rice and two layers of fish – the top layer is partially grilled. What makes Deluxe Oshi so special? It contains seven types of fish, which vary depending on what is in season, but generally contains salmon, tuna, toro, sockeye salmon, saba, hamachi and sea bream.

If you are open for a culinary adventure inquire about Omakase where the chef selects your dishes. This special option requires advance notice of 48 hours for groups.

Jiu Jiang Japanese seating Kerrisdale InsiderA large part of Jiu Jiang’s clientele is Taiwanese and Japanese. Riva smiles and says, “This is an honour to us. We must be doing something right.”

“We care about everything we make and present to our customers.” Vivian Chang

The goal is to offer diners the freshest food possible; all meals are made to order. Riva says, “We give our best always. We are in the business not only of food but also people.”

The menu is brimming with a large selection of food options and the dishes are artfully presented. There is something for everyone at Jiu Jiang, whether you like cooked or raw food. Choose from appetizers, soups, salads, tempura, fried rice and Donburi. In addition, a full slate of raw and cooked sushi dishes round out the menu.

Jiu Jiang Japanese Balsam Kerrisdale InsiderBoth Riva and Vivian have tasted everything and enjoy assisting patrons with their orders. Riva mentions that two of her favourite speciality rolls are the Power of Love (unagi, cucumber, tobiko topped with chopped scallop, wasabi and unagi sauce) and the Rock ‘n’ Roll (prawn tempura, avocado, cucumber topped with tuna, salmon, green onion, spicy and unagi sauce). One of Vivian’s favourite dishes is Uni Ikura Don (sushi rice don with sea urchin and salmon roe served with miso soup and green salad).

The Changs are enjoying being a part of the Kerrisdale business community. They like the quaint boutiques and mention that the district reminds them of Victoria. They also appreciate the friendly atmosphere where people greet each other on the street. Although they are new to the area it is apparent they are eager to get involved in community events. During Kerrisdale Carnival Days they sponsored balloons for children and are looking forward to future Kerrisdale Business Association events.

Make a point of having a meal at Jiu Jiang. You will discover why so many customers return time after time; it may have been a hidden gem but not anymore now that the secret is out!

Jiu Jiang Japanese Restaurant
5707 Balsam Street
Vancouver, BC V6M 4B8
Telephone 778-379-8858

Carlson Wagonlit Travel Kerrisdale

August 19th, 2017
CW Travel 2Make Your Travel Dreams Come True.

Travel has always been Nimet Jessa’s passion; she started working in the travel industry many years ago and has not strayed from her career choice.

Originally from Tanzania, Nimet remembers a time when there was no such thing as organized safari tours in her homeland; adventures of this type appealed to her and may have helped lead her to her profession.

Today Nimet is president of Carlson Wagonlit Travel Kerrisdale. She joined the Carlson Wagonlit Travel franchise in 1994 after operating her own independent agency in Kerrisdale for a number of years. Carlson Wagonlit Travel is a global franchise with over 5,000 agencies worldwide and has offices in more than 150 countries.

CW Travel KerrisdaleCarlson Wagonlit Travel Kerrisdale specializes in leisure travel. With easy access to websites you may question why you need assistance from a travel agent when you can go online and take care of matters yourself?

Saving money is one of the key reasons to work with Carlson Wagonlit Travel Kerrisdale. This large travel agency has buying power, which allows the company to negotiate the very best hotel and airline rates.

Nimet and her staff can see the big picture and arrange many fine details that go into planning a trip.

If you handle your own booking online you run the risk of not having anyone to consult should a problem arise when you are away from home, whereas Carlson Wagonlit Travel Kerrisdale clients can relax; call Nimet and her team and they will promptly put you in touch with their international contacts and suppliers.

This team of travel professionals each have between 20 to 30 years of experience – they are seasoned travellers and are familiar with different regions of the world.

The travel agency excels in custom tours. If your dream is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with a private tour guide they can make it happen.

They are well informed about foreign borders and the rules and regulations that come with international travel including which countries require visas. They are also knowledgeable about an assortment of travel insurance policies to ensure your specific needs are met.

Carson Wagonlit Travel KerrisdaleRBC Rewards credit card holders earn up to three bonus rewards points per dollar – Carlson Wagonlit Travel Kerrisdale clients can redeem their points and be setting off on their dream vacation faster.

If you are a seasoned cruiser or are considering embarking on a water voyage for your first time Nimet says, “We specialize in this area. Both river and ocean cruises are very popular ways to travel.”

“It is exciting to plan a client’s holiday. We play a part in helping make lifetime memories.” Nimet Jessa

She and her staff are skilled in assisting with family and sun vacations. Europe is always a desired summer destination and South America is seeing a rise in popularity as well. Adventure tours are also desirable and Nimet and her team have many suggestions to help clients get off the beaten tourist track.

CW Travel Kerrisdale brochuresNimet recommends an epic 15-day luxury train trip offered by Rovos Rail through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania – it is one of the most famous train trips in the world and is known for its scenic beauty and opportunities to view African wildlife. The unique stopovers include visits to Kimberley to view a diamond museum, South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve, Victoria Falls and the Great Rift Valley.

Closer to home, Rocky Mountaineer luxury rail service is an exquisite way to take in British Columbia and Alberta’s magnificent scenery by day and sleep in a comfy hotel bed at night.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel Kerrisdale’s well-stocked brochure racks showcase many tempting publications that will have you dreaming of exotic destinations.

Will this be the year you visit an exotic destination like Vietnam or Burma, or take a romantic riverboat cruise along the Danube River from Budapest to Nuremberg to visit the Christmas markets?

The world is your oyster, and Nimet and her team are on deck to help make your travel dreams come true.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel
2496 West 41st Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6M 2A7
Telphone 604-264-0552

Artist Thomas Cannell

June 10th, 2017

Thomas Cannell artist KerrisdaleBehind the Scenes: Artist Thomas Cannell’s Banners Beautify Kerrisdale.

Look up as you walk along West 41st Avenue this summer – you will notice the street is adorned with beautiful banners in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.

Kerrisdale Insider was interested to learn the inside story and turned to Terri Clark, coordinator of the Kerrisdale Business Association and artist Thomas Cannell who designed the lovely art pieces.

The City of Vancouver’s 150th celebrations recognize the much longer history that the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Watuth First Nations people have in the area; consequently, the City’s official Canada 150th events centre on this theme.

Terri reports, “The KBA very much supported Vancouver’s 150th celebration concept, hence the idea for a banner designed by one of our very own Coast Salish artists, Thomas Cannell.”

“We couldn’t be more proud of these colourful banners that will grace our business district in time for National Aboriginal Day on June 21 through the autumn.” Terri Clark.

Thomas Cannell has worked alongside his mother, respected Coast Salish artist Susan Point. Thomas’ great great great great grandfather was Warrior Chief Capilano of Musqueam who encountered the first two Europeans, Captain Narvaez and Captain Vancouver, when they sailed into Burrard Inlet in 1792.

Thomas has spent years training and honing his skills as a carver and designer. He enjoys the challenge and experience of working with every medium he chooses, nevertheless, his primary interest is working with wood and perfecting his chainsaw technique, as he finds every characteristic of woodwork irresistible. He spends a lot of time designing as everything stems from pencil and paper.

KBA banners June2017Kerrisdale Insider: Tell us a little about your connection to Kerrisdale, Thomas.

Thomas Cannell: I was born and have spent my whole life living on Musqueam traditional territory; this includes Kerrisdale. I am in Kerrisdale nearly on a daily basis; I love all of the great options for shopping and eating. My wife Jessica is from Kerrisdale, we both went to Point Grey Secondary, as did our mothers.

KI: Please tell us how you got involved with the Kerrisdale banner project.

TC: Luck! A high school friend spoke favorably of my work to the Kerrisdale Business Association. The communities of Kerrisdale and Musqueam are neighbours so it was a chance to showcase the strong connections we share. I loved the opportunity because I will now be able to show my children the banners I designed along West 41st Avenue. My kids love Kerrisdale, especially in the summertime when the sidewalks are filled with things to do and look at.

KI: Can you discuss your design and the connection to Canada’s 150th birthday?

TC: My ancestors created an artistic visual language that has continually grown and astounded over the ages. Coast Salish crescents, wedges and positive and negative space are used as a way to tell stories, honour people and places and honour the past. With this in mind, I try to see things the way my ancestors saw them long ago, and make choices in my artwork that honours their legacy.

This design is about looking to the past and moving forward together. While I define and appreciate the journey I have been on, it teaches me to look towards what comes next and how to get there. The only thing we as people can really do is keep moving forward.
We must anticipate our actions becoming our circumstances.

“The mosaic I have designed, made up entirely of Coast Salish design elements is meant to represent the interconnecting of people today.” Thomas Cannell

KI: How did you arrive at the colour choices?

TC: I’ve used vibrant colours to convey the vibrancy of the neighborhood. There are many preconceived ideas of what First Nations art is expected to be. This banner is a celebration of colour, a banner of people mixing together beautifully and celebrating our lives together. I tried to use the colours of summertime in a way that pleases my senses and mind aesthetically.

KI: What will happen to the banners after they come down?

TC: The banners will be sold at a later date, so please take the opportunity to purchase a keepsake!

West Wood Organics

April 30th, 2017

West Wood Orgainics Jin Kim Ray Ali Kerrisdale InsiderWhere Good Food and Good Vibes Meet. Story by Heather Burt.

An impressive number of customers who walk through the door of West Wood Organics — the little store nestled behind Kerrisdale’s famous redwood tree at West 41st Avenue and Vine Street — are greeted by name.

Owners Yu Jin Kim and Ray Ali refer to their regulars as “friendstomers,” and it’s clear from their warm and relaxed exchanges that creating a friendly community space is as important to them as the food they stock.

With backgrounds in web design and business operations and a shared passion for good food and good friends, Jin and Ray (“Team Fiji-Korea,” as their Instagram profile jokes) took ownership of West Wood Organics in October 2016. The couple cheerfully admit that while their learning curve has sometimes felt steep, and the demands of running a seven-day, people- focused business have been taxing, their combined skills and enthusiasm have served them extremely well.

West Wood Orgainics store Kerrisdale InsiderWest Wood Organics offers quality produce, a well-stocked dairy case and freezer, and a great selection of dry goods. In recent months they’ve cultivated relationships with local farmers such as Cedar Isle Farm, and small local producers of traditional health foods, including Biota Fermentation, Umi’s Kitchen, Tempea Natural Foods and Moonbrew Tonics.

This focus on locally-produced, sustainable, nutritious foods is part of the communitarian ethos of West Wood Organics — a set of values that extends to offering courtesy services such as grocery delivery during foul weather, vegetable chopping for frazzled cooks, and even a place to sit down and share a mug of afternoon tea. In their modest retail space, Jin and Ray are reviving the spirit and practices of an old-time general store, while at the same time honouring the multiculturalism and health and eco consciousness of today’s world.

West Wood Orgainics local Kerrisdale InsiderVisitors to Kerrisdale might be surprised to learn that there is no major grocery store in the business hub. (This wasn’t always the case; at one time the intersection of West 41st Avenue and the Boulevard hosted both a Super-Valu and a Safeway.) Without a doubt, some residents long for the return of a big grocer close to home; many more simply jump in their car and drive to one of several options outside the village to stock up on food. However, if the typical activity at West Wood Organics is any indication, a significant number of Kerrisdale locals have discovered the far-reaching benefits of doing their shopping in walkable neighbourhoods comprised of small community businesses such as West Wood.

Canadian-American urban activist and journalist Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) famously defended such businesses as places that foster social interaction and community spirit, thereby contributing to the vitality and long-term survival of neighbourhoods. Walk into West Wood Organics any day of the week and chances are high you will witness — and, if you like, take part in — just the kind of spontaneous, vital interactions that Jacobs associates in her writing with small community businesses.

In Jin and Ray’s exchanges with their customers, and, increasingly, in customers’ exchanges with each other, the generic business transactions of a grocery store are enriched — humanized — through the sharing of stories and ideas, many laughs, and occasional worries … not to mention mugs of tea and culinary treats ranging from friendstomer Maria’s homemade cinnamon buns to Ray’s high-octane chutney.

As Jin explains, “West Wood is not only a grocery store; it is a place where all members of the community, from hesitant ESL speakers to lonely seniors, can safely come for human connections.”

It is a place, she maintains, “That strives to combat the extreme individualism and isolation that too often characterize life in a modern, affluent city.”

West Wood Orgainics lettuce bar Kerrisdale InsiderAnd all this is done while offering efficient service and reasonable prices on quality foods.

“Kerrisdale Village” is aptly named. Within a walkable distance, there are, in addition to West Wood Organics, several produce stores, a few bakeries, a cheese shop, and a soon-to-be-opening butcher. West Wood Organics may not have the buying power or selection of Whole Foods, but combined with other village shops, the little store behind the redwood provides a valuable community shopping experience that big stores simply can’t match.

West Wood Orgainics 2307 W41 Kerrisdale InsiderIf you’re in the neighbourhood, stop by and introduce yourself. Jin and Ray, along with their friendly staff, Okta, Young, and Mr. Kim, would love to welcome you.

West Wood Organics
2307 W. 41st Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6M 2A3
Telephone 604-261-2438

On The Go Fashion

April 30th, 2017

On The Go Fashion Evefay Hua Kerrisdale InsiderA Celebration of Canadian Designed Clothing.

Nestled among other West 41st Avenue businesses you will find On the Go Fashion, a deceptively large boutique. The nearby intersection is Maple Street, which is a nice connection to On the Go Fashion’s goal to carry as much Canadian made clothing as possible.

Evefay Hua, the friendly owner, purchased the established business after the original owners retired. On the Go Fashion is now in its 34th year of operation.

Evefay is originally from Guangdong, China. She says, “It’s been a productive eight years since I landed in Vancouver on June 6, 2008. I took over On The Go Fashion in 2009, I got married to my husband Wallace in 2010, and now we have two kids.”

“I’ve always been in love with fashion, I guess it’s a girl thing.” Evefay Hua

Evefay is an adventure seeker. She laughs when she mentions she is a foodie, loves ice cream and also loves to travel. She worked in the restaurant industry in the United States, attended university in England where she earned a business studies degree, and in France she earned a second bachelor’s degree in European management. Following her studies, she spent time in Paris working in the fashion industry and knew she had found her calling. She returned to China in 2004 where she stayed until she set her sights on immigrating to Canada.

“When I arrived in Canada I wanted the freedom and independence of owning a business,” she says. She thought it was a perfect fit when she discovered On The Go Fashion was for sale.

On The Go Fashion store Kerrisdale InsiderThe boutique is stocked with attire for women of all shapes and sizes. Evefay says, “They come to the store to look for clothing that will suit them for their particular lifestyles, unique personalities and for different occasions such as travelling, cruises and weddings.” The emphasis is on quality garments that are easy to care for, comfortable and affordable.

Evefay distinguishes her store by focusing on carrying a wide range of Canadian made or designed clothing.

On the Go Fashion is a mecca for women’s clothing, whether you are planning to get out of town or are going about your daily business in lovely historic Kerrisdale.

On The Go Fashion Canadian Kerrisdale InsiderThe well-stocked shop carries over 30 brands. There are plenty of attractively accessorized outfits on display if you need ideas on how to put together a great looking outfit, or just ask Evefay and her knowledgeable staff who are always happy to assist.

She estimates that 60 percent of her stock falls into this category. By next year she is hoping to reach 90 percent Canadian content. Shoppers have the added bonus of feeling good about supporting our economy.

Burnaby based company Sympli is a proudly Canadian manufacturer of ethical, high quality clothing. This brand embodies comfort and a flattering fit, designed with every body in mind.

On The Go Fashion 2007 w 41 st Kerrisdale InsiderJoseph Ribkoff creates beautiful dresses and sportswear which draws people to the store. Almost all of this Canadian company’s clothing is designed, sewn and produced in Dorval, Quebec, which is a remarkable feat in today’s fashion world.

Montreal based Lisette L creates a fashion line for mature women with an emphasis on fit while creating styles that are on-trend. Lisette L pants flatter women of every body type, shape and size. They are designed with a tummy control mesh on the inside and come in a variety of colours and patterns.

You will find a selection of 360 degree shaping undergarments by Shapeez. This company believes rolls and muffin tops belong in a bakery, not on our bodies.

Beyond clothing, On The Go Fashion has a good selection of accessories ranging from jewellery to bags, clutches, hats, belts, scarfs, sunglasses and fashionable Clive Somers reading glasses.

The world of fashion is often one step ahead of the current season, and summer clothing is already making an appearance. You can expect to see loose fitting, comfortable cotton and bamboo fabrics in tropical and cheerful shades of blue, lime and green along with floral prints.

On The Go Fashion 2007 w 41 Kerrisdale InsiderEvefay takes pride in the excellent customer service she and her staff offer. The store has an extremely loyal clientele with over 4,800 names in the database. She is happy to share a secret – On Go Fashion offers free customer parking behind the shop.

“Being a small business owner allows me the freedom to be there for my family and friends when they need my help, and I can take care of my two little ones while still being able to work. I’m happy to be a Kerrisdale business owner and resident. My daily trips are within walking distance, schools, playgrounds and shopping are nearby and there are many excellent restaurants.”

Ultimately what gives Evefay the greatest satisfaction about operating her boutique? “I enjoy making my customers look and feel good,” she says with a warm smile.

On The Go Fashion
2007 W. 41st Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6M 1Y7
Telephone 604-261-6373

Bean Brothers Cafe Bistro

April 18th, 2017

Kerrisdale’s Independent Coffee Shop.

Bean Bros Kerrisdale Diane Palla MediaDiane Wu is as warm and welcoming as the feeling you get when you walk into her business, Bean Brothers Café Bistro. This independent coffee shop has been a Kerrisdale anchor for the last 20 years and has changed very little during that time.

A long time fan of coffee culture, this young business owner had dreams of owning a coffee shop. She says, “I enjoy the laid back atmosphere of coffee shops and the fact that cafés bring friends and people together by acting as meeting spots.”

Diane grew up in East Vancouver and attended UBC where she majored in mathematics and statistics. She recalls passing by Bean Brothers often as she took the bus to school. When she graduated her parents encouraged her to buy her own business. Her father was formerly a small business owner; he owned fast food restaurants and Diane assisted him when she was a student. She says, “The experience taught me a lot about basic restaurant operations.”

She began the search for an established coffee shop and purchased Bean Brothers in the summer of 2015.

“I love every part of my job. If I had to pick something, it would be bonding with customers and making lattes.” Diane Wu

Bean Bros Kerrisdale seating Palla MediaAs Bean Brothers’ loyal customers know, the atmosphere is downright cozy although at the same time it is a large space. It is almost like a home away from home. Many customers know each other and have been loyal to the coffee shop for many years; Diane estimates eighty per cent are regulars.

She mentions, “It’s a great meet up spot, either for a quick breakfast, family brunch, afternoon tea or coffee or a casual dinner and beer.” During happy hour a sleeve of beer costs $4 while pints are $5. There is also a small wine list available.

Bean Bros Kerrisdale coffee Palla MediaThe business opens at 6:00 a.m., so if you are an early riser looking for a coffee this is the place to head. Scones, muffins and other fresh baked goods receive high praise. The popular scone recipe was passed along from the previous owner and comes in a variety of flavours including aged cheddar and blueberry lemon.

Kerrisdale does not have many breakfast spots and Bean Brothers has taken care of that short fall by offering all-day breakfast, right up until the kitchen closes at 8:00 p.m. (the business closes at 9:00 p.m.). The all-day breakfast menu includes Bennys, omelettes, breakfast burritos, waffles and more.Bean Bros Kerrisdale breakfast eggs Palla Media

Diane is extremely dedicated to her business and comes in every day. She is a very hands on owner and likes to serve and help patrons. She says, “I like to hear customers say they enjoy the food or service.”

Seniors are often the first to arrive with a newspaper to accompany their breakfast. Business people on their way to work dash in for a take out coffee. Students and locals who work in the area drop in at lunchtime. In the evening it is a community gathering place for a bite to eat and drinks in the licensed café.

Diane is completely amenable to students using the location as a place to meet and study over a coffee. Some customers bring in their own board games, which adds to the home-like atmosphere.

Bean Brothers serves JJ Bean coffee, roasted locally on Commercial Drive. This family business has been roasting coffee in Vancouver for four generations. The restaurant offers a rewards program so be sure to sign up and earn a free coffee.

In addition to serving specialty coffees, Bean Brothers also sells coffee beans — they are happy to grind them to go.

Bean Bros Kerrisdale burger beer Palla MediaThe menu has not changed much over time although Diane has introduced a few new burgers. The patties are house made. Bean Brothers also serves paninis, sandwiches, soups, salads and pizzas made in their own wood stone pizza oven.

Likely one of the best deals around, for a mere $10 you can purchase a burger, fries and beer combo.

A popular service, especially with people who work in the area, is the option to order online, and with a pick up discount you save ten per cent. Bean Brothers also caters; from dinner parties to corporate events, they have a menu that can be specified for your function.

Bean Bros Kerrisdale W 41st Ave Palla MediaSoon it will be patio season. Bean Brothers has three tables set up year round on the sidewalk – it’s the perfect spot to catch the warmth of the sun (or if it is chilly, sit under the outdoor heater), people watch, sip on a steaming gourmet coffee and watch the world go by.

Bean Brothers Cafe Bistro
2179 W. 41st Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6M 1Z6
Telephone 604-559-9080

Maili Wong

February 12th, 2017

Smart Risks Are Her Forté.

Maili Wong Kerrisdale InsiderMaili Wong is an experienced risk taker – she has pushed through some extraordinary challenges and has come out shining. This dynamic and driven Kerrisdale resident is an Investment Advisor, Portfolio Manager and First Vice-President at CIBC Wood Gundy. She works out of the Kerrisdale branch on West 41st Avenue.

I recently spoke with Maili about two important life-changing experiences – her rise to becoming a top Investment Advisor in a largely male dominated industry and the publishing of her 2016 Amazon best selling book, Smart Risk.

Born in Vancouver, Maili grew up in Burnaby where she attended Alpha Secondary. From an early age she dreamed big; her career aspiration was to become a neurosurgeon. Her father Terry Wong, a well-respected Investment Advisor, challenged Maili’s plan for a medical career. He suggested Maili consider following his path and pursue a career in business.

She knew she would thrive in an environment where she would help make important decisions under great pressure.

Maili has always had a strong financial sense. As an enterprising 13 year old, she built a small and profitable business teaching piano. As a straight-A student, she earned scholarships that paid for her university education.

She excelled in her business and economics courses at UBC where she was introduced to a unique financial program called Portfolio Management Foundation (PMF). Maili was among six students selected to manage a $3 million university endowment portfolio of real money, completely run by students. “My participation in the PMF changed the course of my life and propelled me along the road to financial services,” she says.

Maili & Terry Wong New YorkDuring this time, one of Wall Street’s biggest firms heard about the PMF program and interviewed a few of the students for summer internships. Once again, Maili was selected, and she says of the experience, “I had to prove myself each day. I was always the first to arrive and the last to leave.” It was an environment she wasn’t used to but her hard work paid off and she was offered a full-time position on the trading floor once she completed her degree.

She graduated from UBC with a bachelor of commerce degree in finance with honours and accolades as the most outstanding female graduate.

Her first day on the job in Lower Manhattan was September 10, 2001. “The next day, everything changed,” Maili says.

The trading floor was connected to the second tower of the World Trade Center. It took time to understand the magnitude of the nightmare that was unfolding as the twin towers were struck at intervals. Panic ensued and Maili fled the scene with a colleague. It was a defining moment in her young life; she was only in her early 20s.

With the support of her family and friends, she decided to stay in New York as she had worked so hard for the opportunity. She explains the experience shaped her character and helped make her who she is today; she opted to be a risk taker rather than follow the safe path.

Terry WongDuring her time in New York she helped manage over $5 billion in assets for a global investment fund. Five years later, in 2006, she returned to Vancouver to join her dad at his successful investment company. She and Terry pooled their knowledge; his expertise was the Canadian market while Maili’s was international investment. In 2011, The Wong Group was recruited to CIBC Wood Gundy. They are now one of CIBC Wood Gundy’s top-ranked investment teams in B.C.

“Initially, our relationship with clients involved recommendations-based investments. As the trust blossomed, it transitioned into helping investors develop a plan where we make the day-to-day decisions on how to make their plan work.”

The father and daughter team have a strong relationship. Commenting on her father’s nearly 50 years of experience as an Investment Advisor, Maili says,” He provides great stabilizing wisdom.”

Maili & Terry Wong Kerrisdale InsiderMaili delivers with confidence – from the financial advice she provides to the way she manages her client relationships. She and her team are dedicated to acting as catalysts for building client wealth. Typically, her high net-worth clients are either 10 years from retirement, or are currently enjoying a work-optional life by living off a sustainable cash flow from their investments.

Mentoring young women in business has been a passion of Maili’s since her time spent in New York. She explains, “I learnt to adapt in a male-dominated profession where I was one of a few women on Wall Street.” She mentions that even 15 years later it is still an upward battle for women and the trading floor can be like a locker room.

“I like to be a role model for young women to show them it is possible.” Maili Wong

Last year she launched the Maili Wong Scholarship in Finance. This annual scholarship of $2,000 is awarded to an outstanding female commerce undergraduate student considering a career in finance.

Maili Wong Smart Risk bookMaili wrote the Amazon best seller, Smart Risk, to inspire a new way to think about risk and financial decision-making. The book is a valuable tool for those looking to achieve their financial purpose, to invest like the wealthy and to achieve a work-optional life. Maili shares lessons from successful investors to give readers a look at a roadmap in action.

“Smart Risk is about creating and starting conversations about how people think about risk and helping people understand that sometimes it takes a mindset shift in order to really get to financial empowerment and freedom,” she says.

A typical workday for Maili begins at 6:00 a.m. Research, networking, trading by phone and computer; meetings with her clients and their accountants and lawyers fill her days.

Her evenings and weekends are spent with her two young children and her husband Keith. They moved to Kerrisdale in 2016 and enjoy being part of the community. Maili says, “I love the old charm of the neighbourhood.” She is grateful her kids are growing up in a friendly, inviting and safe environment.

Maili Wong CIBC Wood Gundy W 41stThe family enjoys supporting the local shops and restaurants. Her daughter’s personal favourite is Michele Cake Shop while Maili and her family also like dining at local restaurants, including White Spot. They enjoy skating at Kerrisdale Arena and are looking forward to cycling on the new Arbutus Corridor. Maili is extremely grateful to local bookstore Hager Books for being a strong supporter of Smart Risk.

It appears the sky is the limit for Maili who juggles her career and her busy family life with ease. She’s an inspiration indeed – for both women and men!

CIBC Wood Gundy
401-2052 W 41st Avenue
Vancouver BC V6M 1Y8
Telephone 604-267-7102

Granville Gardens

February 12th, 2017

Kerrisdale’s New Retirement Community Feeds the Spirit.

Granville Gardens lobbyFinishing touches were being attended to the day I dropped by Granville Gardens, Kerrisdale’s beautiful new retirement community. Anticipation and excitement were in the air as the staff counted down the days to welcome the first residents on February 1st.

Granville Gardens is located at the corner of Granville Street and West 49th Avenue. It is situated conveniently close to amenities in Kerrisdale, Marpole and Oakridge, although with triple glaze windows it feels miles away from city life.

Wilma Atchison and Sandra Barr 2General Manager Wilma Atchison met with me to discuss this project, which she has been involved with since construction began.

Wilma, Sandra Barr (Assistant General Manager) and the entire Granville Gardens team are passionate about what they do. “To make everyday a good day” is their mission. Going the extra mile is in their nature; on this particular day the kitchen staff had big smiles on their faces as they volunteered their time to come in for training with Chef Rodrigo who is also the dining services manager.

“Creating meaningful environments and a community is important to us.” Wilma Atchison

Wilma refers a to survey where seniors ranked “feeding the spirit” as a top priority and identified the importance of programs and services designed to fill this need. The themes of living it, moving it, learning it and sharing it have all been taken into careful consideration by Granville Gardens’ team. Wilma mentions she is looking forward to input regarding the types of programming residents would like to see offered.

Granville Gardens studioApproximately 70 residents will eventually call Granville Gardens home (suites are still available). Wilma points out, “really good friendships will be made” in this 62-suite community.

“In a residence of this size the staff can take the time to get to know you as a person.” Wilma Atchison

Aware that each person is unique in their interests, abilities and preferences, they have access to support through a professional Wellness Coach who connects them to services they may require.

Granville Gardens dining roomThe three-storey building is extremely attractive. The large open concept lounge and dining room are very serene spaces with a seaside feel. Beautiful shades of blue, gray and earth tones have been chosen for the furnishing and carpets. Slate tiled walls, beautiful artwork and magnificent floor to ceiling windows add to the peaceful ambience.

Many well-established trees surround the property and garden patios with water features allow residents to enjoy time outdoors. Wilma says she is looking forward to barbeque season.

Studio and one-bedroom suites are available in a variety of layouts and paint choices. Each suite has nine-foot ceilings with views overlooking one of three garden patios surrounding the building. A nice added touch; lit curio cabinets are placed outside each suite’s entrance providing residents with an opportunity to personalize their entry as they welcome visitors.

Granville Gardens’ suites feel special and warm — you can bring your treasured antiques and
furry loved ones too.

Suites include a spacious bathroom with a walk-in shower, kitchenette and a state of the art emergency response system. A special space saving feature is a remote controlled Zoom-bed, a 21st century version of the Murphy bed, which magically disappears underneath a wall unit.

Activities abound with a well-equipped fine arts studio to summon the muse, a club lounge for residents to gather to play cards and exercise classes to be held in the Great Room including osteofit, tai chi and yoga. The 30-minute fitness classes are a wonderful opportunity to feel strong, alert and have some laughs.

In-house amenities include a small library called ‘The Book Nook,’ ‘Ye Olde Tuck Shop’ to pick up essentials and a hair salon. Granville Gardens offers transportation support so residents can enjoy freedom and independence without having to rely on their families and friends.

Who wants to be locked into set meal times? At Granville Gardens’ residents enjoy all day dining. The Red Maple Restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, in addition to an à la carte menu, in suite dining as required and a Bistro for refreshments and snacks.

Menus feature a variety of delicious meals celebrating local ingredients, lovingly prepared by chefs who get to know individual’s preferences and requirements. Residents are welcome to invite their friends and family to join them, after all, dining is much more than eating, it’s a social experience. A private dining room is also available for special family celebrations.

Granville Gardens’ kind and attentive staff is acutely aware that seniors desire the opportunity to continue to grow, with a focus of possibility, regardless of one’s age. Undoubtedly, this beautifully equipped residence filled with enriching opportunities will be a place individuals will feel proud to call home.

Granville Gardens
100-1550 West 49th Avenue
Vancouver, BC, V6M 2R6

Kerrisdale Dental Centre

February 12th, 2017

Looking Your Best and Improving Health Go Hand in Hand.

Dr. Abbas TejaniThe day I spoke to Dr. Abbas Tejani he had just returned from attending a dental conference in Austin, Texas on how dentistry can improve your health and well-being. He was brimming with excitement as he has an active thirst for knowledge and is dedicated to keeping up to date on the very latest developments in his profession.

He and Dr. Omar Kassam are the owners of Kerrisdale Dental Centre. The dentists met in 1999 soon after Dr. Tejani arrived in Canada from England where he practiced dentistry. He had heard about a course, which would require a considerable commitment in time and dollars. He has always believed investing in oneself pays off, and he promptly registered. Fortuitously, he connected to Dr. Kassam through the program; they instantly hit it off and joined forces sixteen years ago.

The established Kerrisdale dental practice has been providing dental services under different owners for over 70 years. The first time Dr. Tejani visited Kerrisdale he felt an instant connection to the village that reminds him of an English high street. He describes the neighbourhood as “an intimate setting within a large city.”

Regarding his friendship with Dr. Kassam, Dr. Tejani mentions they are from similar backgrounds. They both lived in England where they attended university although their paths did not cross. Dr. Kassam graduated from the University of London and Dr. Tejani graduated from the University of Bristol. One day they were chatting about their mothers and discovered they share the same name. Dr. Tejani laughs when he says, “We are brothers from another mother.”

Dr. Tejani says, “We have a drive for excellence. We strive to be the best we can be, to deliver the best for our patients and our community.”

For seven years Dr. Tejani operated two practices simultaneously, one in England along with his Vancouver office. He has let the London practice go, but he and Dr. Kassam continue to work as consultants.

Kerrisdale Dental roomThe dentists agree that the warm, welcoming office atmosphere and their exceptional team (dental assistant Sharon, dental hygienists Elaine and Shannon and administrator Aaryn) makes their dental office stand out. In addition, they employ an in house technician who works exclusively with them to individualize restorative cases such as custom crowns and veneers.

While they both practice general dental services, each dentist has his own passion and area of expertise. Dr. Kassam got a new lease on his passion for dentistry when he began pursuing cosmetic and laser dentistry in 1986.

Dr. Kassam is well respected for his work in laser dentistry; Dr. Tejani calls him a pioneer in this field.

At Kerrisdale Dental Centre the two dentists like to focus on prevention. Doctors are now discovering that many diseases relate directly to inflammation and bacteria from the gums. The light from lasers has an amazing bio stimulating effect; it rejuvenates cells, helps tissues heal and kills bacteria.

Kerrisdale Dental waiting roomYears ago when Dr. Tejani qualified from the University of Bristol and practiced what he refers to as “drill and fill dentistry” he mentions, “I was always striving for something more. I believed there was more to dentistry.” To gain some reflective distance, he took time off and worked as a ski guide in the French Alps, and although it was fun, he realized there wasn’t a future in it. Next he headed back to his roots, to his homeland of India where he was born, for a year of self-discovery. Wanting to reach “the top of the world” he journeyed to Everest and to the source of the Ganges in the Himalayas. He says it was an incredible experience and along the way he was able to volunteer and offer his expertise in dentistry to people in small communities.

Dr. Tejani acknowledges the role his inspiring parents (both were physicians) played in pushing him beyond standard dentistry. He mentions his mother was one of the founding members of the British holistic medical association, and her thinking outside the box approach to medicine is akin to his beliefs.

Dr. Tejani is fascinated with jaw function, the way the bite works and how to improve a bite that is not working.

He explains, “The mouth is the primary portal to the health of the entire body.” Headaches, neck and backaches and even sleep issues can all be improved with bite correction. To accomplish this, Dr. Tejani shapes teeth or fillings as needed. By making minor adjustments teeth take minimal stress and gain maximum support. If even one tooth is out of alignment it can throw everything off. Teeth take a beating over time; they become worn, and get to the point where things aren’t working in harmony. He explains, “It’s all about harmony, to shape, rebuild, and reconfigure form and function.”

Kerrisdale Dental waiting room 2He describes himself as having a similar role to that of a quarterback in working with specialist colleagues such as orthodontists. Jaw, neck, joint and muscle, tooth wear and bite problems can arise from a number of reasons and he manages this portion of the treatment. He says, “I have a vision of what the best result can be. If I can’t treat the issue myself I know someone who can help, and we work together.”

Kerrisdale Dental Centre offers an orthodontic service called a six month smile. This aesthetic treatment is for adults seeking straighter teeth. It is similar to conventional braces although the brackets are clear and provide a much faster route to delivering a winning smile. The dentists have Invisalign for those patients interested in a brace-free method of straightening teeth. Dr. Tejani also performs extensive implant treatments.

Is dental anxiety preventing you from regular visits to the dentist? Have no fear, pain free dentistry is Kerrisdale Dental Centre’s specialty. They prefer to not sedate patients and only use it as a last resort. In fact, between the comfortable environment, which provides confidence and puts people at ease, and the very gentle way they freeze a mouth, the majority of patients don’t feel a thing.

Kerrisdale Dental W 41stAt Kerrisdale Dental Centre, Dr. Tejani humbly admits they hear glowing words of praise about how effortless a patient’s visit was. They also see occasional tears of happiness when clients see their new smile and improved look, or discover they no longer have to suffer after their bite issue has been resolved.

What is the greatest reward of their profession? Dr. Tejani speaks on behalf of both dentists who share a common belief, “Helping people feel better about themselves and helping people’s health; looking good and improving health goes hand in hand.”

Kerrisdale Dental Centre
2354 W 41st Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6M 2A4
Telephone 604-261-9304

Thomas Hobbs Florist

November 23rd, 2016

thomas-hobbs-florist-flowers-kerrisdale-insiderFloral Masterpieces For Any Occasion

Entering Thomas Hobbs Florist is a delight to the senses. The experience begins at the front doorstep where tastefully displayed plants and bouquets tempt you to come inside to see more stunning arrangements.
The gorgeous heritage building was once home to the Toronto Dominion Bank and two vaults remain in the basement as evidence of days gone by. The magnificent architecture includes high ceilings, two huge storefront windows that are a designer’s dream, and a spiral staircase leading up to a meeting area used to consult with clients about their floral needs. It is a beautiful environment fit for one of Vancouver’s most prestigious floral shops.

thomas-hobbs-florist-helen-rivero-kerrisdale-insiderThomas Hobbs Florist has been a Kerrisdale fixture since 1975. Thomas Hobbs, the namesake behind the business, established the shop and it became one of Vancouver’s most respected florists. He sold the business in 1993 to Maureen Sullivan who continued to build on the company’s reputation.

Kerrisdale resident Helen Rivero was a regular customer and a big fan of the shop. She had attended floral arranging classes with Sullivan, and when she discovered the business was for sale in the spring of 2015 Rivero decided not to let the opportunity pass.

thomas-hobbs-florist-jamey-mcdonald-kerrisdale-insiderRivero moved to Vancouver 10 years ago from Venezuela. She was a Montessori teacher and was ready for a change. The busy business owner is also the mother of a one-year-old son named Jasper; when he visits the shop he garners as much attention as the floral arrangements. In addition to being the new owner of the Kerrisdale shop, she also opened a second location last year at the Sheraton Wall Centre, which is cleverly called Wall Flowers.

When Helen Rivero purchased the business many of Thomas Hobbs Florist experienced staff continued on, including store manager, Jamey McDonald.

thomas-hobbs-florist-store2-kerrisdale-insiderRaised in a small town in northern Ontario, McDonald thanks his grandmother for cultivating a lifelong passion for all things floral; when McDonald was a child she gave him his own garden plot. His career blossomed when he moved to Toronto and worked for a high-end florist shop in the fashionable Rosedale district. When he moved to Vancouver in 2004 he had his sights set on working at Thomas Hobbs Florist – he applied and was hired.

McDonald is the shop’s creative head. He is responsible for store merchandising, seasonal concepts, and the daily running of the store. He is also responsible for the professional and eye-catching seasonal window displays.

thomas-hobbs-florist-xmas-wreath-kerrisdale-insiderThe shop is known for its creative and aesthetically pleasing designs, which range from contemporary and clean to English country style arrangements. Quality seasonal flowers often influence designs, as do seasonal materials, which may appear in an arrangement.

Cut amaryllis, red ilex berries and holly incorporated into floral arrangements make a
winter display merry.

Rivero and McDonald mention that peonies, garden roses and ranunculus are always popular choices. Amongst all of the beautiful flowers they carry, some of their winter favourites include anemones, callas and tulips. Rivero says, “The designs are often guided by seasonal colour.” The shop is also known for its excellent assortment of beautiful orchids.

Fifteen staff work between the Kerrisdale and downtown Vancouver shop. Numerous languages are spoken including Cantonese, French, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish. All of the staff are talented floral arrangers and offer excellent customer service.

As early as January, McDonald and the staff are at work developing design concepts for the following Christmas, and by early November the entire store transforms for the festive season.

thomas-hobbs-florist-store-kerrisdale-insiderThe store’s show stopping window designs (which are always decked in holiday finery) have been recipients of the Kerrisdale Business Association’s Best Dressed Window contest a number of times. Watch for the Winter Wonderland and Chestnuts Roasting on Open Fire themed windows, which will have passers by pressing their noses against the window and feeling the spirit of the season.

“People come in for our specialty items such as Old World Christmas ornaments every year.” Helen Rivero

Actively involved in giving back to the community, the shop donates flowers and McDonald and other staff volunteer their time to B.C. Children’s Hospital’s Crystal Ball. McDonald says, “We are very proud to be part of this event.”

Thomas Hobbs Florist window displayThomas Hobbs Florist also participates in Kids Help Phone’s Homes for the Holidays where talented local designers team up with retailers to help provide inspiring ideas to make your holiday season memorable.

Year round, Thomas Hobbs Florist’s arrangements lend an air of sophistication to both special events and “just because” moments with their artistic and tasteful bouquets and centre pieces. For those who are not fortunate enough to live in the area, the shop delivers as far afield as Horseshoe Bay, Langley and Tsawwassen – which will help scratch a gift off your Christmas list and will inspire many oohs and aahs from the lucky recipient!

Thomas Hobbs Florist
2127 W. 41st Avenue
Vancouver BC V6M 1Z6
Telephone: 604-263-2601