Newfoundland Restauranteur Inspirationally Becomes Citizen

22 Mar 2023

Thy Nguyen’s Inspires With The Story Of Her Journey To Citizenship

Thy “Cathy” Nguyen, as she’s come to be known to her customers and friends, came to Canada in Saskatchewan under the province’s Immigrant Nominee Program. It required her to stay there for three years in order to acquire permanent resident status, and that 72 months saw her work 4 jobs tirelessly in pursuit of her dream of opening a restaurant. After deciding that she didn’t want to do it in Saskatchewan, Nguyen inquired on a Kijiji ad for a restaurant for rent almost 5000 kilometres away in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. She packed everything she had and ventured out east in late 2013. When she arrived, she realized there were no other Vietnamese people in the city.

Regardless, that same year, she opened Pho Vietnam, but a few months in issues with the building forced her to close. Citing electrical code violations and work completed by unqualified workers without permits, the province shut the building’s doors in early 2014, leaving her and several apartment tenants out in the cold. Luckily, she had built up a following in the small city of about 20,000 people and was able to relocate and continue the establishment of her business in the community. She brought her father over from Vietnam to help with her growing restaurant and the last five year’s has seen the business become an institution  in the small Newfoundland town. During that time, Nguyen realized that she wanted to become a citizen and applied herself to doing doing whatever she needed to do to achieve her dream while supporting her business.

“It’s months of studying and working and preparing in order to be able to pass the citizenship exam in order to attend the ceremony, so yeah, besides working hard six days a week running a restaurant, then she had to study as well. She put a lot of effort into it and it’s been rewarding for her.”

Customers and residents would often see her studying in the corner of the restaurant and remarked on her perseverance and determination. Since she opened, her business has thrived, she married, and while simultaneously running her restaurant as she studied for her citizenship test, she became a Canadian citizen this month. Her incredible story merited another CBC piece being done on her and has attracted national attention as a shining example of the thousands of immigrant success stories that occur every year and during every citizenship ceremony.