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Quinpool’s iconic McDonald’s is gone. A new one has opened next door

Four months after the closure of a longstanding McDonald’s location on Quinpool Road in Halifax generated widespread sentiment of online nostalgia, a new location has emerged next door, hoping to offer that same feeling to the next generation of customers.

In January, a longtime customer launched a Facebook page encouraging people to come out and purchase that “one last Junior Chicken” on the location’s last day in the former building.

Hundreds responded to the event online, and stories flooded in from current and former Halifax residents as they shared memories made at the burger joint during their times in high school and university.

Mark Nelson, the location’s franchisee for the past three years, said the former Quinpool McDonald’s hadn’t undergone major renovations in more than 30 years — maintaining a dining area with a 1990s appearance.

“We served generations of customers there,” he said, describing the location as a “very special place. It wasn’t renovated for a long time. People had memories of going there in their high school days and they could go back 25 years later and it was still the same. The mural on the wall was a big draw, the entire decor hadn’t changed, it was the original seatings, chairs, colours.”

Nelson said he thinks it’s important for the new McDonald’s to be part of the neighbourhood’s expansion in the coming years as an apartment complex is currently being built next door, where the old location stood.

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“There just were tons and tons of special memories in there,” he said.

Following a soft launch last month, the Quinpool McDonald’s crew is preparing for an official grand opening weekend beginning on Friday, where the location will be donating a portion of proceeds to Shelter Movers Nova Scotia, a volunteer organization that helps people fleeing abuse to locate housing.

Although the new spot comes with a technology upgrade — including the introduction of touchscreen kiosks — and a more modern interior, some remnants of this McDonald’s former self remain on the walls inside.

“We got some pictures of the old location’s interior and exterior and we have a small (picture of the) mural on the wall here as well,” Nelson said.

The wall mural at the former location was another characteristic that made the building unique to Halifax, as a colourful image depicting the city’s Public Gardens was painted for all to see when entering the restaurant.

On the walls of the new site, the legacy lives on.

“We have so many memories and great things that have happened at the old location and we just wanted to try to bring that into this,” he said.

Although the address might have changed, the staff has not. The location’s franchisee said all the workers at the new McDonald’s are the same crew that worked at the previous location. Some employees have been there longer than others, with one obtaining a special place in the franchise’s history — along with a framed photo in the dining room.

“It was like a family. You see customers coming in every day and you get to know their names and orders,” said Angela Cromwell, a manager who’s worked at the Quinpool location for 29 years. “I’m starting to see a lot of familiar faces, as well. It’s sad but nice to have a new store with all new equipment.”

Regarding coming into work and seeing a captured moment from her earlier days on the wall, she said she feels “very honoured and appreciated.”

Cromwell said she hopes the new building will hold a similar sentimental value for generations to come.

David Backman, who launched the Facebook page in January before the old spot’s closure, said the neighbourhood McDonald’s was a “generational hangout spot” for his group of friends.

“Some of my friends had their first job at that location, a lot of us spent time there in middle school and high school as well, just hanging out with our skateboards and playing cards, doing what kids do,” he said during an interview with Global News in January. “It felt like a place where you were always welcome … those sorts of locations are disappearing, they’re few and far between in this city.”

As for what makes this McDonald’s stand out from other fast-food hubs, Nelson said it comes down to history in the community.

“I believe it’s around 45 years that McDonald’s has been on Quinpool Road and served generations of customers in the community. That’s what sets us apart,” he said while observing a packed house of students on their lunch break. I think they’ll form their own memories and history.”

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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