Opinion: The sad Burnaby mall of my youth is a behemoth now

Chris Campbell

Earlier this week, I was sent information about the first big tenant moving into what is now called the Amazing Brentwood.

It’s a 40,000-square-foot store called Sporting Life and it’s the first West Coast location for this chain.

And I sat back in my chair and thought, “Wow, sad little Brentwood mall is now setting firsts for things.”

Imagine that, big chains are choosing Brentwood to open up their first West Coast outlets.

The reason I’m so surprised is because I grew up a five-minute walk from what was – at least in the 1970s and ‘80s - the “not-so-amazing Brentwood.”

This was my mall. The one I could get to quickly. And about the only thing interesting to me when I was 12 was the malt shop in Eatons.

When I was 15, Brentwood was not the place teens hung out at. It was dark and quiet. It was so dead inside, it actually felt sad.

Lougheed had better stores and was busy, but most likely we had to make the hike up to Metrotown for the real excitement. It was big and bright and loaded with great shops.

Brentwood digital rendering
Burgeoning Brentwood: A digital rendering of the first phase of the proposed ‘Amazing Brentwood’ redevelopment. - Contributed/BURNABY NOW

Now, Brentwood is exploding with chic towers, a great new design and a tantalizing future when it comes to shopping options. I’ve been told there will be some exciting retailers coming.

And don’t forget that Cineplex will be building a new theatre in the Amazing Brentwood. I’m looking forward to not having to trek to Coquitlam or Metrotown to see my movies.

Nope, everything about the Brentwood area has improved. There’s way more restaurants and a fancy SkyTrain station that would have made life for the teenager me so much better.

I do hear some grumbling from the boomers about how it’s growing too fast, but this is one of our new city centres. It’s being built around rapid transit and is becoming a hub.

I think it’s great to see.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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