joe virgona

Founder of beloved supermarket Fiesta Farms has died

The founder of a very popular Toronto independent supermarket has died. Joe Virgona, the man behind Fiesta Farms died on Sunday, Feb. 5 at the age of 80-years-old.

Virgona, who was also affectionately known as Pumpa, was born in Sicily and came to Canada in 1950 at just seven-years-old.

He worked in the grocery business for his entire life, starting as a stock boy and then as a store manager at Power Supermarket.

From there, Virgona co-owned a Red and White Supermarket and co-founded Bonanza Supermarkets, before opening up Fiesta.

"Dedicated to pursuing his dream, his love of food led him to create one of the most beloved grocery stores in Toronto, Fiesta Farms. A place that is now regarded as a pillar in the community and where his generosity and philanthropy are well renowned in the industry," reads Virgona's obituary.

His family recalls that their patriarch has a strong advocate for organic and local foods, championing sustainable options.

"With his strong work ethic, he successfully passed the torch to his children when he retired several years ago. Fiesta Farms has now become his legacy."

Virgona had a very large family and was married to his late wife Judy for 56 years. He leaves behind three children, five grandchildren and two great-grand children.

The founder was also a huge animal lover and is missed by his three pets; Coco, Ginger and Dixie. "His extreme love for animals was also demonstrated with golf cart rides to his family-owned hobby farm next door, complete with rescue horses, ducks, and peacocks."

The grocery store announced his tragic passing on social media, which was met with floods of condolences and memories of Virgona.

"What a kind funny and delightful man and I will always appreciate his support of organic brands," read one message.

Other local groceries and organic brands also offered the same sentiment, remembering Virgona's advocacy for promoting their foods and products.

Visitation for friends and family will be held at the Egan Funeral Home in Bolton this weekend with a formal mass in Brampton at the St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Those who would like to honour Virgona are asked to donate either to the Ronald McDonald House or the Canadian Wild Life Federation.

"Joe's concern for children in need, and his love for animals was the inspiration for selecting these charities," says his family.

Lead photo by

Fiesta Farms

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