Excerpt from the Official Report of


July 10, 2013

Two Minute Statement: McGill Grocery

S. Simpson: Many of us will recall the corner grocery store in our neighbourhood. Those stores are truly local, both in ownership and design. While there are fewer of them around today than there used to be, they are still an important local institution that reflects a neighbourhood and are often a saviour when you need that last-minute snack or ingredient for dinner.

I have such a store in my community, the McGill Grocery, which has been owned and operated by the Mah family since 1977. It was started by Fook Wai Mah, known as George in English, and his wife, Oy Hee Mah, known to her friends as Hee. They raised five children — Marianne, Helen, Peter, Charles and Harry — in their home that was attached to the store.

The McGill Grocery continues to thrive today, now operated by Mr. Mah's three sons. For 36 years the McGill Grocery has been a Burrardview cornerstone, meeting people's needs in terms of food and other goods. But more importantly, it has played a critical role for information dissemination, as a gathering place and a hub for what happens in the community. This includes being a centre for the Christmas lights competition and, through Harry's leadership, in the Burrardview Community Association.

Sadly, we recently lost the patriarch of the Mah family. Fook Wai Mah passed away after a lengthy illness. Having arrived from China in 1952, Mr. Mah worked numerous jobs until he could bring his wife to Canada in 1957, and 20 years later they acquired the McGill Grocery. Our community shares in the family's personal loss. Equally, we mourn the loss of a true pillar of our neighbourhood, who for 36 years, along with his wife, Hee, provided leadership through their belief in our community as a place to run their business and raise their family.

Thank you, Mr. Mah, for all you contributed to our community. We're truly fortunate that the traditions and legacy of the McGill Grocery will continue through the efforts of your sons, Harry, Charles and Peter.


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