MANILA – Christmas came early for the Filipinos in Winnipeg as the Philippines’ biggest and most loved food chain, Jollibee, opens its first ever store in Canada on Friday.
Home to 70,000 Filipinos, Winnipeg has the biggest Philippine population in Canada with the Filipino language as the second-most common mother language spoken, and why it was therefore chosen as the food chain’s debut city.
The crowd braved the -25 celsius weather to get a chance to taste a bit of home with Jollibee favorites Jolly Crispy Chicken, Peach Mango Pie, and Jolly Spaghetti. The store is the beginning of Jollibee’s aggressive North American expansion plans that is lined up until 2018. The store also created over 100 jobs for the people of Manitoba.
“We are very encouraged by the turnout and excitement at the grand opening of Canada’s first Jollibee,” said Jose Miñana, Jollibee Foods Corporation’s Group President for North America and Foreign Franchise Brands. “It brings us great joy that we are able to bring a taste of home to Filipinos and a new culinary experience to Canadians.”
Social media exploded with posts describing just how happy the Filipino community was over the arrival of a childhood icon. An eight year old resident even said, “I’ve been in Canada for eight years and it feels like a touch of home has arrived with Jollibee opening in our neighborhood.”
This marks the first Jollibee store opening in Canada and the 35th in North America. In 2017, Jollibee plans to open three more stores in Canada, including one in Winnipeg.