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Thousands line up in Halifax as Ikea opens first of 12 new Canadian stores

IKEA Canada President Marsha Smith (yellow shirt, right) and IKEA Halifax Store Manager Sue Coulet (yellow, left) welcomed thousands of customers Wednesday, September 27, 2017, as the retailer officially opened its new Halifax store.  Also pictured (from left to right) are The Honourable Keith Colwell, Nova Scotia's Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture; Halifax Mayor Mike Savage; Sue Leblanc, Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for Dartmouth North; and Councillor Paul Mancini.  The Canadian Press Images PHOTO/IKEA Canada
IKEA Canada President Marsha Smith (yellow shirt, right) and IKEA Halifax Store Manager Sue Coulet (yellow, left) welcomed thousands of customers Wednesday, September 27, 2017, as the retailer officially opened its new Halifax store. Also pictured (from left to right) are The Honourable Keith Colwell, Nova Scotia's Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture; Halifax Mayor Mike Savage; Sue Leblanc, Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for Dartmouth North; and Councillor Paul Mancini. The Canadian Press Images PHOTO/IKEA Canada

HALIFAX _ More than 2,000 people lined up early today to enter an Ikea furnishing store in Halifax, as the firm launched the first of 12 new openings across Canada amidst circus performers, political speeches and a Swedish flag raising.

Hundreds of customers had secured places at the front of the line that wound around the store in the Dartmouth Crossing retail district, while the shop's 1,100-car parking lot was nearly full as people stood wrapped in blankets in a cool Nova Scotia mist.

Ikea's return to the region had the city abuzz _ the opening dominated social media and other conversations.

Ikea Canada president Marsha Smith says she was ``personally touched'' to see so many people after the firm's last, much smaller store closed over three decades ago in the city.

After Mayor Michael Savage cut the ribbon, people rushed into the sprawling complex to purchase the company's trademark unassembled furniture.

The arrival of Ikea stirred up a bit of controversy locally online from people who took issue with the store being called Ikea Halifax _ the building technically sits in Dartmouth, which was once a separate city.

A few people shouted out ``Dartmouth'' when the name of the store was announced during the opening.

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