Forget the turkey or ham, patriotic Haligonians should celebrate Christmas this year with the city's new official food: the donair.

On Tuesday afternoon, council voted on its most contentious non-cat issue in recent memory. Under the legislative authority granted to councillors under the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter, a motion was put to council to make it official.

Half the councillors voted yes, and half voted no. All eyes turned to Mayor Mike Savage, who suddenly held the power to elevate the pita, meat and sauce, snack into lofty status.

He said yes.

Saying yes to the donair was something city staff weren't willing to do. Under the recommendation section of the city report that looked into whether to proclaim the donair as Halifax's official food, it was simply noted that "staff has no recommendation."

The staff report observed that the donair would add to Nova Scotia's list of official things:

  • Official tree: red spruce
  • Official fossil: a 312-million-year-old reptile known as Hylonomus lyelli
  • Official horse: the Sable Island horse
  • Official dog: the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

When the debate started in October, Coun. Linda Mosher worried the good people of Edmonton might try to steal Halifax's claim to creating the donair.

Coun. Tim Outhit cautioned that if the city failed to honour the donair: "Won't we all falafel?"