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While some people from further afield might wonder what a donair is, Canadians and lovers of Canadian culture will know exactly what National Donair Day is all about! 

History of National Donair Day

Getting its start in Canada, National Donair Day offers a nod to this delicious food that has an interesting backstory. More than five decades ago, in 1972, a Greek-Canadian chef was working hard to introduce gyros to his customers in Canada, but it wasn’t really working. In an attempt to alter the recipe so that Canadians would enjoy the dish more, Chef Peter Gamoulakos decided to change it up to use spiced beef and a sweeter sauce was substituted for tzatziki.

The results were effective and the name for this food was Donair, after its cousin the Turkish Doner Kebab. In 1973, Gamoulakos’ new restaurant was named King of Donair and the chain is now nationwide, reaching as far as Vancouver in the western part of Canada.

By 2015, the food had become so popular that the restaurant’s hometown of Halifax had dubbed the Donair as its official food. It was also this same year that the first National Donair Day was celebrated in Halifax and, since then, its popularity has grown throughout Canada and even the world.

How to Celebrate National Donair Day

Show some appreciation for this tasty food that is a blend of cultures (but is also uniquely Canadian) by celebrating National Donair Day with some of these ideas and plans:

Grab a Donair Lunch or Dinner

Those who are in Canada can easily celebrate National Donair Day by popping into a diner and ordering up a plate of this delicious, culturally mixed street food. With over one hundred donair shops in Edmonton, fifty in Calgary and twenty in Toronto, people living in Canada’s major cities should be able to get access in honor of the day. Eat this thinly sliced meat wrapped in a pita with tomatoes, onions and donair sauce, similar to a gyro.

Visit Halifax, Canada

Of course, those who are serious about celebrating National Donair Day might want to make a pilgrimage to the most important site in the history of this food: Halifax. It’s hard to go wrong when donair is the official food of this city! Located in the province of Nova Scotia, Halifax is a port city on the Atlantic and is very near to the US state of Maine.

While there, be sure to visit King of Donair (KOD), the original restaurant has gained a bit of a cult following, having been featured on a variety of television shows and in pop music. Other things to do in Halifax include visiting the Maritime Museum, public gardens, harborfront and more.

Make Donair Meat at Home

Folks who aren’t living near Halifax or who don’t have access to donair at a local diner might consider making their own options at home in celebration of National Donair Day. Start with lean ground beef and blend it up with tons of spices (like oregano, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper), then bake it slowly in the oven. Serve with delicious donair sauce (made with evaporated milk) and pitas. Enjoy!

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