Councilor wants Ottawa to be known as Canada’s Shawarma capital

“It’s the great unifier. Everyone loves it,” said Orléans West-Innes Coun. Laura Dudas, who brought the motion before council just in time for lunch on Wednesday.

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Ottawa: Forgotten by fun, but awash in onions and garlic sauce.

Now the city council wants to make it official by proclaiming Ottawa “The Shawarma Capital of Canada.”

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“Our city is home to almost 200 shawarma restaurants. It is the great unifier. “Everyone loves it,” said Orléans West-Innes Coun. Laura Dudas, who brought the motion before council on Wednesday, was, as Mayor Mark Sutcliffe noted, “just in time for lunch.”

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shawarma illustration
Most of Ottawa’s shawarma restaurants are small, family-run businesses that contribute greatly to their communities, he said. Laura Dudas said Wednesday. Photo by Robert Cruz /postmedia

Among the “whereas” that Dudas listed in support of his motion, he stated:

• Shawarma is a multicultural symbol of one of the most multicultural cities in Canada;

• Shawarma is a civic institution and objectively delicious;

• Shawarma is a major employer and economic driver, and;

• Leftover Shawarma is “perfectly acceptable for breakfast, lunch, and probably another dinner, too.”

“We have enough room in our hearts to have room for poutine and Beavertails,” Dudas told reporters after the meeting. “What I ask of my colleagues is to join me in proclaiming Ottawa the Shawarma Capital of Canada.”

Most Ottawa shawarma restaurants are small, family-run businesses that contribute greatly to their communities, he said.

“Shawarma is a highlight throughout our city. You can find it in rural communities. You can find it in the city center. “East, west… it’s everywhere and there are a lot of these family, locally owned restaurants,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to highlight such incredible food. And it’s so tasty!

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Councilor Laura Dudas.
West Orleans-Innes County. Laura Dudas. Photo by Tony Caldwell /postmedia

Unilaterally proclaiming Canada’s capital as the shawarma capital is not without risk, of course. What if another city also claims the shawarma title, as Glendon, Alta., does with perogies, Montreal with bagels and Halifax with donairs?

Go ahead, says Dudas.

“If there is competition, we will eliminate them. Because, frankly, I can’t imagine another city that has such amazing shawarma restaurants.”

When it comes to shawarma, Sutcliffe says he agrees.

“Ottawa is a shawarma hotbed. It’s clearly part of our culture in Ottawa and something special in our city,” Sutcliffe said, although he diplomatically declined to name his favorite shawarma spot.

The reign of Ottawa shawarma royalty (kings, princes and palaces, etc.) is nothing new to this newspaper. A search of its online database reveals 215 mentions of shawarma over the past 10 years. By comparison, a search for “Beavertails” returned only 28 stories.

In fact, Doubts’ motion comes more than a decade after the Ottawa Citizen claimed the title. In 2012, The Citizen proclaimed the city the Shawarma capital of not just the country, but, in fact, the world!

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