Canadian city claims the donair as its own

Halifax Donair
Halifax Donair (The Original Mr. Donair )

A loaf of ground beef that has been heavily spiced and roasted on a spit has been declared the official food of Halifax, Nova Scotia.


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City politicians declared the “donair” the new official food of the city today.

The donair consists of thinly sliced spicy meat served on flat bread with tomatoes, onions and a sweet white sauce.

Politicians ordered city staff to prepare a report in October on the merits of naming the donair as its official food. Staff prepared a 43-page report but declined a recommendation one way or the other, according to the Chronicle Herald.

The author of the report provided the following description of the donair and its long association with the city:

The Donair is Halifax’s most unique and famous delicacy. The recipe for the Donair was founded by Peter Gamalakos. He opened Halifax’s first Donair shop, The King of Donair on Quinpool Road in 1973. The Donair was a staple food item for families and students in the area. It has since become an iconic food and symbol of Halifax Regional Municipality and Nova Scotia. The Province of Nova Scotia has advertised the Donair across Canada to attract tourism and the Downtown Halifax Business Commission has used it to promote downtown Halifax. Visitors come to Halifax to experience their first Donair. The Donair has brought recognition to Halifax unlike any other food.

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. The meat is placed on a thin, Lebanese-style pita and topped with tomatoes, raw onions and a sauce. The Donair Sauce is an addictively sweet blend of evaporated milk, vinegar, garlic powder and sugar. The sandwich is wrapped in tinfoil and eaten out of hand.

The Donair’s unique blend of spicy meat and sweet sauce has brought recognition for Halifax unlike any other food. Many magazines, websites and articles cite the Donair as Halifax’s official food; however, we do not have this specific designation. In the summer of 2015 Edmonton Council was looking into designating their food and articles mentioned that some Edmontonians wanted the Donair as their official food, but noted that Halifax already has the Donair as our official food. The Donair was invented in Halifax Regional Municipality and we need to make this official.