43 page staff report on Halifax Donair leaves ‘official food’ decision to the Mayor

Donair sauce is squeezed onto the eponymous dish at King of Donair on Tuesday Oct. 20, 2015. Steve Silva/Global News

HALIFAX – Some of the most interesting facts about the Halifax Donair have been pulled together in a report by city staff (43 pages worth!), but they still won’t make a recommendation on whether the donair should be declared Halifax’s official food.

In October, councillor Linda Mosher put forward another lengthly report on the spicy, greasy food detailing why she believed it should be chosen to represent the city. That sparked a colourful debate among councillors.

READ MORE: Garlic, spice and everything nice – the donair could be Halifax’s ‘official’ food

To help settle the matter, council requested a staff report, which was posted to the city website on Friday.

A fresh donair is wrapped up at the King of Donair restaurant. Ray Bradshaw/Global News

“Staff would not put forward a recommendation for a proclamation,” the report reads.

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“It is at Council’s discretion to direct a proclamation by the Mayor.”

That’s right – it’s now up to Mayor Mike Savage to declare or decline the Halifax Donair as the official food of his city.

The city investigates

The staff report released Friday cites articles from National Geographic, Halifax Magazine (which calls the donair “a perfect mess”) and even a raving review of that “perfect mess” from well-known foodie Anthony Bourdain.

The report also shows how the Halifax Donair has been used in tourism ads for the province.

An ad for Nova Scotia features “Donairs” advertised on a highway sign within the province. City of Halifax Staff Report

With what seems to be every piece of information that city staff could Google search, the report on donairs also finds an article calling the greasy treat one of, “The Most Canadian Foods.”

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“This classic East Coast late night food ‘is to Halifax what the banh mi is to Saigon, the jombon-beurre to Paris,'” the article reads.

Mosher’s report

“The Donair is made of heavily spiced ground beef that is shaped into a large loaf and roasted on a vertical rotisserie, then shaved and seared on a flat top range,” Mosher’s report read.

READ MORE: ‘Unique and famous delicacy.’ Councillor makes plea for donair to be named official food

She followed her report with a passionate plea at council for more consideration to be put into the motion on October 21.

There was opposition to making Halifax’s so-called claim to fame the official food, though, as councillor Bill Karston called the whole discussion “random.”

“Let’s not get it confused and say ‘the donair’ was invented in Halifax,” he argued.

“‘The Halifax Donair,’ as made by those in the business here is very, very special to Halifax, but donairs are being served in Turkey and Syria and in countries abroad for centuries, different version, but a donair none the less.”

An Archie comic featuring the characters in Halifax, Nova Scotia excited to eat donairs was featured in the staff report on the Halifax Donair. City of Halifax Staff Report

Halifax and its donair lovers will now have to wait patiently to see if the Mayor will decide to don the donair the ‘official food’ title, or let it simply be a beloved late night food of people near and far.


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