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Halifax is Really Losing Its Shit Over Donairs Lately

The late-night snack is now subject to a city staff report, one lawsuit and a fawning hip-hop song.
Mhmmmm meat and special jizz sauce. Photo via Flickr user James

Halifax, a city that generally flies under the radar unless something terrible is happening at Dalhousie University, appears to be losing its shit over a saucy sandwich that most people only eat when they're wasted.

I've never been to Halifax, but I picture it as a beautiful place where all the water faucets flow with Alexander Keith's. Likewise, I'm ignorant to the charms of the donair. To me, it looks just like a shawarma, but I'm told physical appearance is the only trait the two share. The donair consists of spiced beef that's shaved, placed inside a pita, and drizzled with sauce made of evaporated milk and garlic. One colleague described it as "mystery meat with sweet jizz sauce." It does sound kinda appealing, but as of late the city seems hell-bent on boosting the status of the late night snack for drunks to something that could rival poutine as Canada's national dish.


Last month Halifax Regional Council passed a motion asking staff to provide a report on the logistics of making the donair the city's official food.

"You must have heard of people going to Toronto and getting upset outside bars because they couldn't get a donair," said councillor Linda Mosher, citing a concern that, as a Toronto resident, I've literally never heard before. [My Maritimes-born editor assures me there are at least two good donair options in T.O.] Mosher also expressed anxiety that Edmonton could beat Halifax to the punch and claim the donair as its own.

Though some questioned the value of spending taxpayer money on studying the impact of a wrap, councillor Tim Outhit shut down that argument with his epic kitchen-party ready throwdown, "If we don't do this, won't we all falafel?"

Meanwhile, a coastal battle is brewing between two donair restaurants, with the Halifax-based chain King of Donair suing Burnaby, BC's Donair King for trademark infringement.

According to a statement of claim, the similarity in names "will lead consumers to the inference that the defendant's donair products and restaurant services are either provided, operated, sold or franchised by the plaintiff or done so pursuant to its approval."

In addition to damages, King of Donair is demanding Donair King "destroy all menus, signs, packaging, promotional material, advertisements, business cards or any other material bearing its trade name Donair King and the associated crown logo," the CBC reports.


Donair King has agreed to change its name, provided King of Donair drops the lawsuit, but has yet to receive a response.

Suffice to say, there's a lot of donair-fuelled tension in Halifax right now, so the timing of local rapper Quake Matthews' single "Down with the King"—a massive big up to donairs—couldn't be better.

Matthews reminisces about hollering at chicks and getting into fights at "Pizza Corner," proclaiming, "I'm a true Nova Scotian, wake up every Sunday drunk with donair on my clothing."

The tourism brochures kind of write themselves, don't they?

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