YORKTON - Recently, I met Eduardo Castillo in Yorkton, Sask.
Meeting him made my day.
Eduardo owns the New Philippines Product Store – located in Yorkton’s former bus station.
I arrived at the store at 8:45, before it opened, with one question in mind: why is there a large Filipino grocery store in downtown Yorkton?
The answer was simple: demand.
Yorkton has a population of around 17,000 – 20,000. Of that, more than 3,000 are recent immigrants from the Philippines.
They all have their stories and Eduardo’s is a good one.
n the Philippines he worked in the food business, delivering groceries and wine, but it wasn’t as safe as it sounds. Many of his fellow couriers had been robbed at gunpoint and Eduardo didn’t want to die in a ditch outside of Manila.
There must be something better. He took a risk and arrived in Saskatchewan in 2009, taking a job at a hog farm in Sheho – a town of 100 northwest of Yorkton. He worked there and earned his permanent residency, then got a job in Foam Lake at a biodiesel plant.
Four or five years later, Eduardo noticed his Filipino friends often drove to Regina to buy spices and sauces that they couldn’t get in Yorkton. In 2016 he took another risk and opened a small grocery store in Yorkton, while he continued to work in Foam Lake.
The store was a success and this summer he opened a larger store in the old bus station. The place is spotless and the shelves are packed with Filipino spices, noodles and canned fish.
Later this year, Eduardo’s sister will move to Canada to help him manage the store – further expanding the Filipino population in eastern Saskatchewan.
Running a grocery store or any business is a challenge, but Eduardo is content in Yorkton and happy to be living in Canada.
His story reminded me that journalists (including me) need to focus less on the negative and more on the positive. Sure, there are cases of hatred and discrimination in Canada, but Canadians want to hear a balanced message. They want to hear stories like Eduardo’s.