Born in July 1980 in Vancouver. Grew up in Burnaby in the 1980s and 1990s. My brother was born in December 1984.
Both sets of Granparents lived in the Burnaby-New Westminster area. Mom had three brothers and one sister; dad had one brother and one sister. Dad's brother and all of Mom's siblings had kids. Though some of my aunts and uncles lived in the Vancouver area for parts of time while I was growing up, none of my cousins ever lived here.
Our house was located south of Metrotown, on Burnaby's south slope. The house was built in 1965; my parents purchased it in 1980 just before I was born. My parents did various renovations over the years. Most notably, the kitchen and all three bathrooms were renovated between 1993 and 1996.
We played a lot in the neigbourhood when I was younger, though we wern't allowed to cross major streets. We played mainly with two brothers who were two years younger than myself and my brother respectively; plus other kids, both boys and girls, at various times. As we got older, we lost contact with most of these kids. Also our parents eventually eased the restrictions on crossing major streets as we got older.
In the very early years we could hear the trains running on the two BC Hydro railway, the one that became the route of the Expo skytrain, and the one down in the Big Bend area. The BC Hydro railway stopped running trains in 1985.
We didn't go to the local school because me and my brother were in French Immersion, so we never walked to school. Went to Marlborough Elementary which was an 8-10 minute drive from our house, then to Moscrop junior high for grades 8-10, and then Burnaby Central for grades 11-12.
I got rides to Moscrop and Central, and took the bus home. Both schools were down in Burnaby's central valley, and driving time to both was 10-15 minutes. bus ride home was between 45 minutes and an hour and 20 minutes.
Our neighbourhood was all families of European background, with two exceptions. When I was two, an Indigenous girl my age, and her divorced non-indigenous mothe moved into the neigbourhood for two years. Then when I was 11, as south asian family bought the house across the street from us. They had two daughters, one who was ten, and one who was eight.
Ethnic diversity in our class at school was three chinese kids and one south asian kid, the rest being various European ethnicities. Numbers in the class dwindled from 30 in grade 1 to 15 in grade 7.
Ethnic diversity was higher in high school, as it had been in the English stream in elementary school. There was a significant increase in ESL chinese students over the course of high school, owing to the influx of immigrants from Hong Kong in advance of the 1997 handover to China.
Almost all of my parents friends were of British or other North European background. The one exception was the couple who became my god-parents. She was British, but he was from Trinidad; they became the god-parents because they played an unitentional role in how my parents met, and because my parents liked the idea of us having a black god-father.
Our family has a one room cabin on waterfront property on the Sunshine Coast. We spent a good ammount of time there over the years. For several summers we went on two week camping trips in Western Canada. There was one summer camp I went to for several years where the ethinc makeup was almost all European and a lot of the kids were from higher income areas like West Vancouver.
Mom stopped working after I was born to become a stay at home mom, though she would often comment that this was unusual in her generation. She had me and my brother in various individual sports and music programs and lessons while we were growing up, so we were kept fairly busy much of the time.
My parents also took us on a lot of outings. We went to Stanley Park on many occasions, as well as many other parks in Greater Vancouver. We had seasons passes to the Vancouver Aquqarium and Science World for many years. Went to a number of Broadway musicals while growing up, plus other classical music concerts.
We got a tv when I was four. Initially our parents restricted us to watching CBC, Knowledge Network, and PBS. At age eight we were allowed to watch weekend morning cartoons, and then at age 10 we were allowed to watch other tv. Listened to a lot of CBC radio in the car and at the cabin. When we got a portable radio cassette player I started listening to Canucks hockey games and rock radio.
Watched movies at friends houses, and at home. Went to the summer kids feature at the Gibsons movie theatre on the Sunshine Coast for several years. Started going to the movie theatres in Burnaby at age 12. Movies included Disney and other kids movies, Batman movies, Star Trek Movies, monster movies, Jurassic Park, Star Wars Trilogy, ect.
The music I listened to as a young kid was my Dad's folk music records, plus kids records that Mom bought for me. Got introduced to a lot of pop and rap music during my pre-teen years, but did not buy. Listened to tapes of 70s and 80s broadway musicals my Mom bought. In high school I listened to grunge, post-grunge, and punk, plus the Beatles. Was big on bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Green Day. A sizable chunk of the kids in high school listened exclusively to gangsta rap. Started buying cds in high school.
Clothes as a young kid were mostly corduroy pants, polo shirts, and sweatshirts. Then came the fluorescent craze, during which I wore fluorescent t-shirts and a fluorescent jacket, as well as black and grey sweatshirts and sweatpants. During my teenage years I wore wide leg levis jeans, plaid shirts, and black t-shirts. Clothes shopping was initially at Sears, and then after the Metrotown development, also Woodwards, Eatons, and other stores in the mall.
Food was a lot of meat and potatoes, chicken and rice, macaroni, spaghetti, mexican, hamburgers and hot dogs. Frequented restaurants included White Spot and McDonalds. There was a chinese takeout place in south Burnaby that we ordered from several times in the early years before they closed. For several years we went once a year for chinese food in Chinatown.