Thousands of Filipinos from Calgary and beyond are celebrating the arrival of a new grocery chain in the city that’s making tastes, treats and grocery staples from back home way more accessible.
Seafood City is the latest international grocery store to open on Sunridge Way, joining the Lucky Supermarket across the road and other nearby stores providing Asian-sourced groceries for the city’s Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Thai and Korean populations.
This is only the third Seafood City to open in Canada, after stores opened in Toronto and Winnipeg (and many others in the U.S.)
Hundreds of excited customers waited outside in the dark for the doors to open for the first time last Thursday.
Some had travelled from as far away as Saskatchewan to shop, while others rented a bus to make the trip from Edmonton.
“They drove six to eight hours and they were here outside at 6 a.m.,” said Mildred Smith, VP of marketing with Seafood City of the customers from Saskatchewan.
“We did a livestream inside the store before it opened and it reached 78,000 people. I’m amazed because there are only about 75,000 Filipinos in Calgary,” Smith said.
Smith says the buzz around the store opening has been huge and excitement has been building for days and even weeks.
“We have strong connections, sources and ingredients and cooked food that migrants miss from home.”
That list includes fresh seafood like milkfish, big eye scad, octopus, Manila clams and and dry goods like snacks and soups, alongside popular Canadian brands. In the vegetable section there are fresh chayote, upo, patola and milk fruit.
‘Nothing compares to home but this is the next best thing’
The store has also teamed up with local Filipino businesses, like the popular Pacific Hut restaurant and bakery in Forest Lawn, offering some of their Calgary-made products on its shelves; in their case Filipino breads and other baked goods.
“It’s crazy. It feels like home,” said Maria Collao, one of hundreds of excited shoppers browsing the packed aisles on opening day, which felt more like a party than a shopping trip.
“I went around looking for hard to find stuff here in Calgary that tastes like the Philippines. It’s really good,” she said.
“It’s so hard to go back to the Philippines, it’s so busy and you have to fly for a long time so having this kind of connection within the city is really good. Nothing compares to home but this is the next best thing.”
Filipino-style shopping, in-house restaurants
Another big draw for customers are three in-house restaurants: Grill City, Crispy Town and Noodle Street, all selling authentic Filipino food, with hundreds patiently waiting in long lines to get a taste of some Filipino BBQ chicken and pork.
“This place reminds me of my home. Coming from the Philippines and emigrating to Canada it’s like a second home,” said Xandy Collao.
“It reminds of being a kid and going grocery shopping with my mom. You have all these treats right here like the chips and candies, all that stuff.”
Collao said he expects the unique offerings will bring in curious Calgarians who may have never experienced Filipino-style shopping, with open fish markets and different cuts of meat on display, including whole pig heads and pork belly.
“It’s not just the Filipino people, this is one of a kind and every time one of these stores comes, a lot of people go with it. I bought BBQ pork, pork chop, entrails and shrimp. All the crispy stuff, all the good stuff” said Collao.
The way the store is laid out is different than other Canadian grocery stores too. It features a open wet market with dozens of types of uncut fish and seafood laid out on beds of chipped ice for shoppers to see and touch up close, instead of being hidden behind glass.
“We like looking, we like seeing the fish whole and being able to touch. That’s how we like shopping,” said Smith.
“Customers, they walk in and say it’s like home, like they travelled back home. I still get goosebumps by how warm the welcome is and by how happy they are. The culture is represented,” said Smith.
As well as all the new groceries the store has brought around 200 jobs to the northeast of the city.
Smith said Seafood City plans to open more locations next in Edmonton and Scarborough, Ont.
First cases of COVID-19 discovered in Canadian wildlife – CTV News
The first cases of COVID-19 in Canadian wildlife have been discovered in three white-tailed deer, a press release from Environment and Climate Change Canada reports.
The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease confirmed the detections on Nov. 29 but the deer were sampled between Nov. 6 to 8 in the Estrie region of Quebec. The deer showed no evidence of clinical signs of disease and were “all apparently healthy.”
“As this is the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife in Canada, information on the impacts and spread of the virus in wild deer populations is currently limited,” the press release states.
“The finding emphasizes the importance of ongoing surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife to increase our understanding about SARS-CoV-2 on the human-animal interface.”
The World Organisation for Animal Health was notified about the discovery on Dec. 1.
The department is urging added precaution – like wearing a well-fitted mask – when exposed to “respiratory tissues and fluids from deer.”
The virus has been found in multiple animal species globally including farmed mink, cats, dogs, ferrets, and zoo animals such as tigers, lions, gorillas, cougars, otters and others.
“Recent reports in the United States have revealed evidence of spillover of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to wild white-tailed deer, with subsequent spread of the virus among deer. There has been no known transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from deer to humans at this time,” the release reads.
U.N. seeks record $41 billion for aid to hotspots led by Afghanistan, Ethiopia
The United Nations appealed on Thursday for a record $41 billion to provide life-saving assistance next year to 183 million people worldwide caught up in conflict and poverty, led by a tripling of its programme in Afghanistan.
Famine remains a “terrifying prospect” for 45 million people living in 43 countries, as extreme weather caused by climate change shrinks food supplies, the U.N. said in the annual appeal, which reflected a 17% rise in annual funding needs.
“The drivers of needs are ones which are familiar to all of us. Tragically, it includes protracted conflicts, political instability, failing economies … the climate crisis, not a new crisis, but one which urges more attention and of course the COVID-19 pandemic,” U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths told reporters.
In a report to donors, the world body said: “Without sustained and immediate action, 2022 could be catastrophic.”
Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia and Sudan are the five major crises requiring the most funding, topped by $4.5 billion sought for Taliban-ruled Afghanistan where “needs are skyrocketing”, it said.
In Afghanistan, more than 24 million people require life-saving assistance, a dramatic increase driven by political tumult, repeated economic shocks, and severe food insecurity caused by the worst drought in 27 years.
“We are in the business in the U.N. of trying to urgently establish with support from the World Bank as well as the U.N. system, a currency swap initiative which will allow liquidity to go into the economy,” Griffiths said.
“The absence of cash in Afghanistan is a major impediment to any delivery of services,” he said. “I am hoping that we get it up and running before the end of this month.”
In Ethiopia, where a year-old conflict between government and Tigrayan forces has spread into the Amhara and Afar regions, thousands have been displaced, while fighting, drought and locusts push more to the brink, the U.N. said.
Nearly 26 million Ethiopians require aid, including more than 9 million who depend on food rations, including 5 million in Tigray, amid rising malnutrition rates, it said.
“Ethiopia is the most alarming probably almost certainly in terms of immediate emergency need,” Griffiths said, adding that 400,000 people had been deemed at risk of famine already in May.
Noting that heavy fighting continued, with government forces battling Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front forces who have moved closer to the capital Addis Ababa, he added: “But capacity to respond to an imploded Ethiopia is almost impossible to imagine.”
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Richard Pullin)
Doug Ford applauds new COVID-19 travel restrictions, says more discussions with feds to be held – Globalnews.ca
Ontario Premier Doug Ford thanked the federal government for implementing new travel restrictions in a bid to stop the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and said more discussions will be held about possibly expanding new testing rules to travellers from the United States.
Ford made the remarks at an unrelated press conference in Mississauga Wednesday morning.
Several Omicron variant cases have already been confirmed in Ontario, and Ford said while it is a “cause for concern” it is “not cause for panic.”
“Every day we hold off more cases entering our country, the more time we have to learn and prepare,” Ford said.
“So the best thing we can do right now is fortify our borders. Our best defence is keeping the variant out of our country. We welcome the actions from the federal government and I want to thank the feds for taking action to date.
“We implored them last week to act quickly and be decisive on the borders and they did.”
In a statement last Friday, Ford called on the federal government to enact travel bans on “countries of concern” and the feds followed through just hours later.
On Tuesday, they expanded that ban to three additional countries.
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said foreign nationals from Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt who have been to those countries over the past two weeks will not be able to enter Canada. This added to the seven other African countries barred by Canada on Friday: South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
Egypt, Malawi and Nigeria added to Canada‘s travel ban amid more restrictions
Canadians and permanent residents, as well as all those who have the right to return to Canada, who have transited through these countries over the past two weeks, will have to quarantine, be tested at the airport, and await their test results before exiting quarantine, Duclos said.
It was also announced that all air travellers entering Canada — excluding those coming from the United States — would have to get tested when they arrive and isolate until they receive a negative result. That measure applies to all travellers, regardless of vaccination status.
Duclos said Wednesday that it will take time to implement the new measure.
In his statement last week, Ford also called for point-of-arrival testing to be put in place.
He also said he advised the province’s chief medical officer and Public Health Ontario to “immediately implement expanded surveillance” and update planning to “ensure we are ready for any outcome.”
The Omicron variant has now been detected in many countries around the world, including, as of Wednesday, the United States.
Ford was asked if he would support expanding the new testing rules to those arriving from the States.
“I would always support anything that can be cautious to prevent this variant coming into our country. So, again we’ll have a discussion with the federal government. That’s their jurisdiction, it’s not ours,” Ford said.
“They work collaboratively with all the provinces and territories and I’m always for going the cautious route as I think people have seen over the last 20 months.”
The premier added that “it doesn’t take much to get a test at the airport.”
Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Wednesday that it’s too early to say whether Canada’s latest requirement to test arriving air travellers will be extended to include those coming from the United States.
“We need to be prepared and ready if we need to adjust that decision to include travellers from the U.S. We haven’t made that decision yet,” he said.
When asked what provincial measures are being considered in response to the Omicron variant, Ford said they will make sure there is expanded testing capacity and contact tracing.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there is still much that isn’t known about the variant, including how effective vaccines are against it.
She said the province is “continuing with all of our precautions” and said it’s important to keep border restrictions in place until more is known about the variant.
Elliott also said more information will be released in the coming days “with respect to age categories” on booster shots.
— With files from Saba Aziz and The Canadian Press
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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