FILIPINOS LIVING IN CANADA longing for a taste of home lined up in front of Jollibee’s first store in Winnipeg from 10:30 pm the night before its official opening on December 15.

They braved the negative-25-celsius-weather to be among the first to taste Jollibee favorites Jolly Crispy Chicken, Peach Mango Pie, and Jolly Spaghetti.

Who wouldn’t? This is among a few good things that could happen in any country outside of the Philippines for Filipinos abroad as a chance to devour that familiar taste of our well-loved Jollibee is very rare. December 15 marks the day when Jollibee has started warming up Winnipeg, home to over 70,000 Filipinos.

“The inaugural location was chosen because Winnipeg is home away from home for a lot of our countrymen, with Tagalog being the second-most common mother tongue language spoken,” the fast food chain said in a press statement received by ElysPlanet.com.

Jollibee first store in Canada
Braving the sub-zero weather, Jose Miñana leads the ribbon cutting ceremony along with VP and General Manager of Jollibee North America Maribeth dela Cruz and Operations Director Mackey Dimaculangan.

This 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.”

It is the 35th Jollibee store in North America. In 2017, Jollibee plans to open three more stores in Canada, including one in Winnipeg.

Are you a Filipino working abroad? Do you have a Jollibee in your country of work? What is your most favorite Jollibee meal? Uhm, don’t ask me. Aside from Chicken Joy, I love Jolly Spaghetti, Jolly Hotdog, and Jolly Fries BBQ Flavor. And Yum too, and more!

Winnipeg City Mayor Brian Bowman (middle), and City Councilor Scott Gillingham of St. James ward (right) share hearty laughter with Jose Miñana (left) and the Jollibee mascot as they receive exclusive Jollibee dolls to commemorate the occasion.
Winnipeg City Mayor Brian Bowman (middle), and City Councilor Scott Gillingham of St. James ward (right) share hearty laughter with Jose Miñana (left) and the Jollibee mascot as they receive exclusive Jollibee dolls to commemorate the occasion.
Jollibee executives and special guests gather around a giant bucket of fried chicken for the Jolly Crispy Chicken toast. Seen here are JFC Group President for North America and Foreign Franchise Brands Jose Miñana, VP and General Manager of Jollibee North America Maribeth dela Cruz, Honorary Consul Ronald Opina, Member of the Legislative Assembly for St. Norbert Jon Reyes, President of Sysco Winnipeg Blair Schmidt, Trevor Skinner, and other special guests.
Jollibee executives and special guests gather around a giant bucket of fried chicken for the Jolly Crispy Chicken toast. Seen here are JFC Group President for North America and Foreign Franchise Brands Jose Miñana, VP and General Manager of Jollibee North America Maribeth dela Cruz, Honorary Consul Ronald Opina, Member of the Legislative Assembly for St. Norbert Jon Reyes, President of Sysco Winnipeg Blair Schmidt, Trevor Skinner, and other special guests.

Photos from Jollibee Food Corp.

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