Cover art for podcast The Second Generation

The Second Generation

14 EpisodesProduced by Seher ShafiqWebsite

A space to discuss issues and experiences unique to second generation millennials living in North America. I want to tell untold stories that often are not documented, and through this, insert the perspectives of this unique demographic into the “mainstream” narratives about life, work, community, f… read more

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The Story Behind Thorncliffe Park’s Jewel - Iqbal Halal Foods

This episode focuses on Iqbal Halal Foods, a South Asian grocery store in Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood.

Thorncliffe Park is a neighborhood where almost 80% of the population is racialized (aka visible minority), and nearly three quarters of the population report English is NOT their mother tongue. The most common languages in the neighborhood are Urdu and Gujrati. The neighborhood is home to some of the best restaurant in Toronto in my humble opinion –Fayley’s, Hakka Garden, Bamiyan Kabob, and Kandahar Kabob to name a few. Along with East York Town Center, the local mosque, and now the Costco, a landmark of the neighborhood is Iqbal Halal Foods, a South Asian supermarket, which is the focus of our episode today.

In this episode, I talk about my experience of going grocery shopping at Iqbal Foods - the hustle bustle of the store, the diversity you see in the neighborhood, the awkwardness of me trying to buy spices I’ve only ever seen in my mother’s spice cupboard, and the lighthearted jokes from the staff that work there.

I then talk about the founder, Iqbal Malek and share his entrepreneurship journey, which started when he came to Canada in 1971 with $7 in his pocket. His story is barely documented anywhere online – I know because I scoured the internet for it. I came across his bio and story on the RBC Top Canadian Immigrant website, and wanted to recognize and honour his story through this podcast episode.

I close the episode by touching on the theme of immigrant entrepreneurship – how come immigrants are twice as likely to become entrepreneurs? I share info from studies from the Harvard Business Review and talk about some of the reasons behind this trend.

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