About Omar

The cultures of Africa may seem a world away but Senegalese businessman Omar Thiam has successfully introduced an authentic example of his world to Greater Vancouver, BC. For more than ten years Touch of Africa has made its home at the New Westminster Quay Market, attracting many loyal clientele. Now, Touch of Africa is located in the International Village Mall at 1117 – 88 West Pender in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Omar, who learned his trade at a young age, attributes his passion for quality artifacts and precious carvings to his uncle. As a boy, Omar watched while his uncle carved. He then finished the rough product, adding fine details before he took it to the Market. Omar’s entrepreneurial talents grew from there.

Crossing worlds and arriving in Canada in 1980, Omar studied to be an computer technologist. Then in 1986 he was invited to become a presenter at EXPO in the Senegal Pavilion. This changed his career direction.After graduating this once again ignited his passion for his much loved country.

Since then, Omar has become a specialist at show-casing his myriad assortment of hand crafted pieces, traditional clothing and accessories, sandals, handbags, jewelry, beads, charms, and incense from all over Africa. He is a frequent presenter at the BC HOME SHOW, PACIFIC NATIONAL EXHIBITIONS, and schools. He has a strong reputation throughout British Columbia in handling appraisals and repairs of precious investment pieces.

Touch of Africa is a treasure haven to all who know it and Omar is a charming host to all who visit.


Celebrating Black History Month in BC – 2009

Omar Thiam and Touch Of Africa were showcased at the SFU Gallery From February through May, 2009 – celebrating Black History Month in British Columbia from 1858 to 2009, featuring prominent people and businesses that have made an impact in British Columbia and helped preserve African Heritage.

This exhibit was conceived and initiated by Dr. Afua Cooper, the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowed Chair in the SFU Department of Women Studies.