5 things you didn’t know about Tijuana – Not the usual list

A Toyota assembly plant, an Abraham Lincoln statue, a Big Boy restaurant, an IMAX theatre and a lighthouse.

5 things you didn’t know about Tijuana – Not the usual listImages by Eduardo Flores Campbell
Images by Eduardo Flores Campbell

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Anyone who has been in Tijuana, even for a few days, knows that the city is not exactly like they imagined it to be. It’s not a small city and it can take a while to get around.

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Tijuana is the western-most city in Mexico, and consequently in Latin America, and the 3rd largest city in northern Mexico.” It’s economy is based on the assembly plants that are called Maquiladoras, and other sources of income include tourism and lately medical tourism.

Tijuana’s population is estimated to be close to 2 million, which in the most recent data from the 2005 census calculated the population number to be 1,410,000; the city also has a very large “floating” population of temporary residents that boost the number of people living in Tijuana.

The border city of Tijuana, probably is the most famous or infamous Mexican city in the entire world. Since the last century, the city has been portrayed in movies as a Disneyland for adults, a place where you can escape to and hide in, and a world where crime and corruption reigns; A sin city by nature.

From a cinematic perspective, if Tijuana was a character it probably be a sexy young woman, or in the worst of the case scenario, a femme fatale. Most of the people have the image that Tijuana is kind of a big nonstop party, an eternal Marty Grass, which even those images have nothing to do with reality of it.

This list has been made with the only intention to let you know unusual aspects of the city of Tijuana. It would be too easy to fill in the blank with the usual suspects, but instead here are some things you probably don’t know about Tijuana.

1-The Toyota Tacoma is being built in Tijuana

Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Baja California S. de R.L. de C.V (TMMBC) is an automobile manufacturing plant in Tijuana; Baja California, Mexico. The plant was established in 2002. TMMBC is Toyota's first Automotive manufacturing Plant in Mexico and builds Tacoma pickup trucks and Tacoma truck beds. Japanese design made in Tijuana.

Tijuana vicinity to San Diego California and its large, skilled, diverse, and inexpensive workforce makes it an attractive city for foreign companies looking to establish industrial parks close to the United States.

According with Tijuana’s Maquiladora directory, companies that have set up factories in Tijuana include Sony, Hitachi, Hundai, Samsung, Kodak, Matsuchita/Panasonic, Nabisco, Microsoft, Phillips, Pioneer, Airbus, Siemens, and Sanyo, just to mention a few well-known names.

Address: Toyota Motor Manufacturing de Baja California, Inc. Carretera libre Tijuana-Tecate #33143, Tijuana Baja California, Mexico CP 36102

2-Abraham Lincoln statue

There is a bronze statue showing Lincoln standing and destroying the chains of slavery. It was a gift to the city by the U.S. government, and a work of Mexican sculptor Humberto Peraza. The Abraham Lincoln statue is located in the financial district of the city, at the roundabout that joins Paseo de los Heroes and Diego Rivera Avenues.

3-Tijuana’s IMAX theatre

As part of the Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT), since its opening in 1982 the OMNIMAX theatre, better known as “La bola” (the ball) because of its spherical shape, with a 360-degree projector, has been one of the main attractions of the cultural center. It’s located at the beginning of Paseo de los Heroes Avenue, just across the street from Plaza Rio Tijuana, one of the most important shopping centers in the city.

Address: Centro Cultural Tijuana, Paseo de los Heroes 9350 Zona Rio, Tijuana Baja California, Mexico CP 22010

4-Big Boy Restaurant

The restaurant chain is best known for its trademark chubby boy in red-and-white checkered overalls holding a cheeseburger. The restaurant company started in 1936 operating franchises and sub franchises all over the world, until declaring bankruptcy in 2000.

Due to Tijuana’s proximity with California, many franchises come and go through the years. Even before they were in the rest of the county, for many years there was a Woolworth at Avenida Revolucion, and at some point in time even a Jack in the Box. Big Boy is one of those rare cases of survival. When the company went out of business in San Diego, the owners of the Tijuana franchise continue doing business in the same location, they can’t open more restaurants but if you want to have a nostalgic trip, that will be the spot.

Address: Big Boy Restaurant, Blvd. Agua Caliente #9892, Colonia Revolucion, Tijuana Mexico CP 22015

5-The Tijuana Lighthouse

Nestled a few feet from the United States and Mexico border, the Tijuana Lighthouse is the first one built in the city here in Mexico, and consequentially in all of Latin America. The building stands at 105 ft., and the white light can be seen every 6 seconds for 22 miles. The lighthouse is located in Playas de Tijuana, at the beginning of Avenida del Pacifico.

The extra unexpected thing you can find in the city, for those “dreamers” that back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s used to go to 7/11, window shopping for cars by browsing Autotrader Magazine, it will be a surprise that the print edition of the Autotrader magazine still is being sold in any local liquor, pharmacy or convenience store.

As you just found out, after reading the list of the 5 things you never expect to find in the city, Tijuana in some ways is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: “You never know what you're gonna get."

Eduardo.Flores@sandiegored.com

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