Robert Wong (My Chinese name is Garbok, but just call me Bob or Robert)
Age: I was born in 1935, Year of the Pig, so that makes me 78 years old.
Born: Taishan Village, Guangdong Province, China
How long have you lived in Vancouver? Since 1949.
Occupations: My first job was at age 14 at the Grand Café Restaurant in Prince Rupert, B.C. My grandfather, who had come to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1800s, sponsored my immigration to Canada. In 1957, I took a shoe repair course at the Vancouver Vocational Institute. After securing a lease I opened Bob’s Shoe Repair in 1959. To make ends meet, I delivered Chinese food in the evenings.
Passions and Interests: Shoe repair, watching hockey on TV and the Vancouver Canucks.
What do people know you for? Shoe repair and good service.
Thoughts on Vancouver? Vancouver is freedom, you can do anything you want with no restrictions, there is good weather and no air pollution. ( rain is better than snow.) Vancouver is the best city. I love it, there is nowhere else like it.
The moment I met Bob, I was charmed. I popped into his shop quite a few times, just to hear his history, stories and his views on life. I always left feeling happier. Bob has a very warm personality, and his customers always get a smile and a chat. Bob seems to be very content, despite the fact most people his age are retired. He told me he is the luckiest man in the world to have his own business. I photographed Bob in his shop on Oak Street, which is crowded with shoes and repair equipment. Bob wouldn’t meet me anywhere else for a photo, as he runs his store full time.