The Hadhad story of loss, hope and success
In September 2016, the small town of Antigonish extended their arms with joy to the Hadhad family. The Hadhad’s had been living in Damascus and were forced to flee to a refugee camp in Lebanon three years prior to their arrival in Antigonish.
The Hadhad family ran a very successful chocolate factory living in Damascus. In a quote by son, Tareq Hadhad, he said, “In Syria, it was my father’s passion to make chocolates. He was an excellent chocolatier, and he established a factory in Damascus for 20 years.” The family ran the business and distributed all throughout the Middle East, including Jordan, Yemen and Lebanon. Due to the war in Syria, their factory was destroyed in a bombing and the family thought they had lost their precious business forever.
It was only a short while after arriving in Antigonish that the Hadhad family made the decision to bring their chocolate business back to life right here in the small town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. It was named Peace by Chocolate.
The Hadhad family made international news when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opened his speech at the 2016 United Nations meeting telling their story. Trudeau mentioned the town of Antigonish and how it was “a bunch of big-hearted Canadians”. The community was so eager to help the Hadhad family get back on their feet with the family chocolate business. Members within the community volunteered to help build a shed in the Hadhad’s backyard so that they could run their business out of it.
Roisin Gallivan, a current student at St. Francis Xavier explained the importance of welcoming them into the community, “Welcoming the Hadhad family provides the citizens of Antigonish the opportunity to embrace and learn about a different culture”. Gallivan sympathized with the family saying “as the daughter of two immigrants to Canada, I can attest to the importance of a welcoming community when trying to make a new life for yourself in a foreign country”.
The Hadhad’s story is a one of success. After fleeing war and being completely uprooted, they wre able to find a new home in Canada. Not only that, but they brought their talents and passion to Antigonish through their thriving, welcoming chocolate business.
The Hadhad’s have had tremendous success with their business, so much so that in a news story done by CTV news it was mentioned how the Hadhad family was already giving back to the country they so recently arrived in. During the wildfires that destroyed homes in Alberta in 2016, the Hadhad family donated money to the Red Cross to help support families displaced by the fires. The Hadhad’s now have orders being sent all across Canada, from Ontario to Alberta to British Columbia. The Hadhad’s story has a happy ending, showing that hope could bloom again thanks to the open hearted, receptive community attitude prevalent in Antigonish. Fellow StFX students, make sure to check out Peace by Chocolate located on 32 Bay St., Antigonish.