Jollibee has landed in Canada.
Winnipeggers jonesing for Filipino fast food are in luck. Jollibee, the giant fried chicken chain from the Philippines, has chosen downtown Winnipeg as its first Canadian location. And it’s brought along its signature “crispylicious” chicken and Jolly spaghetti.
Announced back in 2015, the fast food chain originally had its sights set on Toronto for its first foray into the Great White North. However, with Canada’s densest population of Filipinos per capita, Winnipeg eventually became the obvious choice. When the location finally opened, on Ellice Avenue at Milt Stegall Drive, hundreds gathered, facing frigid temperatures, to line up for a taste of home.
Doors were set to open at 7 a.m. yet eager customers showed up 3 hours earlier. At the opening, the CBC reported over 600 Jollibee-hungry people waiting outside in the frigid Manitoban air (a ghastly -26 degrees) and even colder with the wind chill. One customer told the CBC spoke of his indifference to the wait time and temperatures, saying his excitement for the restaurant stemmed from happy childhood memories of eating Jollibee.
Dubbed the “McDonald’s of the Philippines”, Jollibee is the ninth largest fast food company globally. Jollibee has 34 North American stores, and more Canadian locations are reportedly on the way. A second Winnipeg location is planned for 2017, and in 2018 customers in Edmonton, Scarborough and Mississauga can sink their teeth ino a pineapple-topped hamburger with a peach mango pie for dessert.