Nova Scotia

Donair study approved by Halifax council in official food consideration

Halifax regional council has voted 12-4 in favour of a staff report to consider approving the donair as the official food of the municipality.

As Coun. Tim Outhit put it, 'If we don't do this, won't we all falafel?'

The donair is considered by many to be a Halifax classic. (The Original Mr. Donair )

Halifax regional council voted 12-4 in favour of a staff report to consider approving the donair as the official food of the municipality.

Coun. Linda Mosher, who introduced the motion Tuesday evening, said she's worried Edmonton might claim the Halifax-invented dish as its official food.

"The recipe was formed here and many have tried to duplicate it. It originated here on Quinpool Road," she said.

"Since then, it has become an iconic food and a symbol of the Halifax Regional Municipality and Nova Scotia."

Mosher said the donair — sliced and spiced beef wrapped in a pita drizzled with sweet sauce — is known around the world. She said the food has been mentioned by National Geographic Magazine, Enroute Magazine and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.

Donairs vs. Lobster

"We've got the surf, the sand, the sun, the lobsters, but we're not the only ones with lobsters.… Lobsters were not invented in Halifax," said Mosher.

"I'm not asking for a big report. I don't want this to be costly, but I think that this is unique to Halifax. It was invented here and it's ours and they're already calling it our official food."

Coun. Brad Johns agreed with Mosher. 

"Other cities are known for poutine, smoked meats and donairs are most certainly the one thing that are certainly unique to Halifax," said Johns.

"We have a King of Donair in Sackville. One good thing about Sackville, if you can't buy a car, you can get a pizza and a donair."

'If we don't do this, won't we all falafel?'

Coun. David Hendsbee said he would vote in favour of the report.

"The donair is one of those fun iconic food situations. We're not going to put up a big statue on the waterfront of a donair," said Hendsbee.

"If we don't do this, won't we all falafel?" joked Coun. Tim Outhit.

Donair debate

But Coun. Bill Karsten said he could not support a study to make the donair Halifax's official food. He suggested a proclamation of a donair day every February instead of doing a study.

"Donairs have been served in Turkey and Syria and countries abroad for centuries. Different version, but a donair none the less," he said.

Mosher was quick to defend the donair.

"There used to be the gyro and they call it 'the hero' in Europe. It's bland and tasteless and it is not this special recipe that was tweaked," she said.​

After the motion for the donair study passed, Mayor Mike Savage had a warning for city staff.

"I don't want to see any sauce on that report when it comes back," he said.

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