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“I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here”: How Torontonians feel about the city’s first Chick-fil-A

By Giordano Ciampini| Photography by Giordano Ciampini

Toronto will get its first Chick-fil-A restaurant on September 6 at Yonge and Bloor. But the American chicken chain won’t won’t land here without a hitch: an opening-day protest planned by both Liberation TO and the 519 will draw attention to the company’s history of donations to organizations affiliated with anti-LGBTQ philosophies and practices. We asked 10 Torontonians outside the new location how they feel about Chick-fil-A coming to their city. Here’s what they had to say.

"I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here": How Torontonians feel about the city's first Chick-fil-A
Bryan Lee

17-year-old industrial design student

Have you tried Chick-fil-A before? No.

Would you like to? It might cross my mind to give it a try.

How do you feel about Chick-fil-A coming to Toronto now? It kinda does offend me. My university is very accepting of LGBTQ students. I think it will offend a lot of people.  

"I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here": How Torontonians feel about the city's first Chick-fil-A
Lea Alhuneidi

21-year-old graphic communications management student

Have you tried Chick-fil-A before? No.

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Would you like to? No, I don’t think anyone should force their own beliefs on anyone else.

How do you feel about Chick-fil-A coming to Toronto now? I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here—I don’t think a lot of people will eat there, and I also think that it will cause them some problems.  

"I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here": How Torontonians feel about the city's first Chick-fil-A
Lea Abellanosa

26 year-old part-time service worker

Have you tried Chick-fil-A before? Yeah, I liked it. I like the chicken, it’s different from other chicken.

Will you visit the new location? Yes!

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How do you feel about Chick-fil-A coming to Toronto now? I’m excited, I thought it was already open! I think everyone has the right to their own opinion, including Chick-fil-A.  

"I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here": How Torontonians feel about the city's first Chick-fil-A
Nicki Skinner

A 50-something realtor

Have you tried Chick-fil-A before? No.

Would you like to? No.

How do you feel about Chick-fil-A coming to Toronto now? I cannot support a company that is blatantly bigoted and homophobic. It goes against everything that so many people have worked for, for so long. I’m disappointed in this building for even leasing to them. It makes me think of Target, which was so poorly planned. Target didn’t understand the Canadian market and they were gone as fast as they showed up. I hope the same thing happens with Chick-fil-A.  

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"I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here": How Torontonians feel about the city's first Chick-fil-A
Jazz Singh

26-year-old property manager and social worker

Have you tried Chick-fil-A before? No.

Would you like to? Maybe, but I’m honestly more of a Popeyes fan.

How do you feel about Chick-fil-A coming to Toronto now? I think if more people are aware of Chick-fil-A’s beliefs, they’ll lose a lot of business. Toronto is a very open city, and I’m open to the inclusion of everybody. It’s a good business tactic to hide these things from people—it goes to show that they don’t want the general population to be informed about their donation practices. Now that I know about Chick-fil-A’s beliefs, I won’t be eating there.  

"I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here": How Torontonians feel about the city's first Chick-fil-A
Eddie Gallard

53-year-old flight attendant

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Have you tried Chick-fil-A before? No.

Would you like to? Not after hearing about their donation practices.

How do you feel about Chick-fil-A coming to Toronto now? As with any business, some people will support it, but I will not.  

"I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here": How Torontonians feel about the city's first Chick-fil-A
Amirnesh Sureshkumar

18-year-old economics and finance student

Have you tried Chick-fil-A before? No.

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Would you like to? I would try it once, but maybe not again, because I respect all of our communities. I’d give it a try to see what the hype is about, but I wouldn’t be a return customer.

How do you feel about Chick-fil-A coming to Toronto? I would say it’s good that they are expanding, but maybe with this controversy they should distance themselves from their charitable activities. It’s 2019 and we’re all trying to accept everyone for who they are. I don’t think it’s right for them to donate to those groups.  

"I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here": How Torontonians feel about the city's first Chick-fil-A
Melissa Lidsky

51-year-old elementary school teacher

Have you tried Chick-fil-A before? Yes, it’s good. I’m surprised it’s coming here.

How do you feel about Chick-fil-A coming to Toronto now? I don’t think their donation practices are cool, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t eat their chicken. I won’t protest.  

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"I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here": How Torontonians feel about the city's first Chick-fil-A
Gautham Raju

29-year-old education coordinator

Have you tried Chick-fil-A before? Once in the U.S., it was good.

Would you visit again? Maybe not. I’d have to go to Popeyes, I guess.

How do you feel about Chick-fil-A coming to Toronto now? Initially I was excited because I work right here, and lunch would have been amazing. But knowing about the controversy really changes everything. We’re more progressive here than in America and I don’t think this fits—it’s kind of weird.  

"I’m actually surprised they let them open a store here": How Torontonians feel about the city's first Chick-fil-A
Sonia Lowe

65-year-old receptionist

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Have you tried Chick-fil-A before? No. I was actually just looking in the window, wondering what the new store is.

Would you like to try them? Yes. Even knowing that, yes.

How do you feel about Chick-fil-A coming to Toronto? It’s okay. This is something new, something to try and it’s in a very good location. Everybody is their own person, and I can’t tell them what to do.

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