Bloomberg Businessweek

A First Nation For the 21st Century

A prosperous indigenous community near Vancouver has lots to teach Canada’s marginalized aboriginal groups
The Tsawwassen have profited from their location near Canada’s busiest port

The day Tsawwassen Mills opened last October in suburban Vancouver, shoppers lined up before dawn to get a first shot at Canada’s biggest new mall in almost a decade. That weekend, more than 200,000 came through the doors, spending C$150 ($120) on average. The wait to exit the parking lot stretched to four hours.

The crowds never went away: Foot traffic hovered at around half a million people a month through the summer, according to the developer, Ivanhoe Cambridge. The mall is just one manifestation of the economic boom under way in Tsawwassen First Nation, an aboriginal community about 20 miles from both downtown Vancouver and the U.S. border. Nearby, there’s a master-planned residential development where homes start at C$619,900,

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