kims convenience location

Toronto family overjoyed to meet Kim's Convenience star by fluke while visiting the store

Toronto resident Isabel Manery and her husband took their nine-year-old son to visit the real Kim's Convenience location this weekend as a special treat since the three of them are die-hard fans, but they never expected to meet one of the show's biggest stars there.

Manery told blogTO her son Nathaniel loves the show so much that he now wants to pursue a career in acting because of it, so they thought it would be meaningful to wait for a nice spring day and then take him to see the store that inspired the series.

"We decided to go inside so Nathaniel could take a look," Manery said. "Once we walked in, the owner said to me, 'Look who's here!'"

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, also known as "Appa" and Mr. Kim in the series, was facing the counter when they walked in, Manery said, so they didn't immediately understand what the owner meant.

But when he turned around, even though he was masked, they knew exactly who he was.

"I was so excited I had trouble talking at first," she said.

Manery said Lee told her that he and his son were in the neighbourhood visiting a local skateboard shop when they decided to drop by the store, so the encounter was entirely coincidental. 

"We just got lucky that he was there when we went to visit," she said. "It was a very happy coincidence for us."

She said she could barely contain her excitement when she first saw him. 

"I said 'Oh my god!' and said how much we love the show and that my son does a great Appa impression around the house, especially the 'serious face,'" she said. " He was very nice and approachable. He offered to take pictures with us inside and outside before we even asked."

Her son was a little timid at first, she said, but he was thrilled to meet the actor and talked about the encounter non-stop for the rest of the day. Lee even signed a t-shirt for him.

Manery said Lee was extremely friendly throughout the entire interaction, and he also spoke to her husband for quite a while about working on the the show, his role in The Mandalorian and the sad news that Kim's Convenience is ending after Season 5

"I do not usually watch lots of television, but this show being in Toronto, and having stories about immigrants, made it meaningful for me as an immigrant," said Manery, who moved to Toronto from Guangzhou, China in December of 2000.

"The show has given our family something we can watch together during this pandemic. We are very disappointed the show will end. We will miss seeing the stories every week."

Lead photo by

Isabel Manery

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