CAN | Feb 23, 2023

Canadians celebrate February 23 as ‘Jamaican Patty Day’

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes
A woman holds a Jamaican beef patty and Jamaica’s national flag in one hand. (Photo: Eden Hagos)

Canadians will indulge in some delicious beef patties today (February 23) as they commemorate the historic ‘patty wars’ between Toronto vendors and local food inspectors that led to the establishment of Jamaican Patty Day.

Jamaican cuisine is loved, cherished and enjoyed by both citizens and foreigners globally. Dishes such as oxtail, curry goat and Jamaican beef patties, have captivated the taste buds of many who indulge in the meal. As such, they would defend Jamaican food by any means necessary, even if it meant going to ‘war’.

In 1985, Jamaican patties started a ‘beef’ between inspectors in Toronto Canada and local vendors who sold and enjoyed the meat filled patties. This historic feud began when inspectors stated that the term “beef patties” was misleading and told vendors that they were no longer allowed to use it.

The decision taken by the inspectors sparked controversy in the area, resulting in heated discussions and negotiations between vendors and Canadian food inspectors. The battle was eventually won by the vendors who, on February 23, celebrate their victory by observing Jamaican Patty Day.

Beef patties. (Photo: Instagram @Juicipattiesja)

Now in its 38th year, the annual holiday is also recognised by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in Canada.

Angella Bennett, regional director of the JTB in Canada, stated in a Forbes article that “there’s no denying that Torontonians are extremely passionate about Jamaica’s iconic snack food, and everyone has an opinion about who makes the best beef patty in town”.

Bennet noted that Jamaicans have had a significant impact on Toronto’s culinary landscape for decades and this holiday is an opportunity for locals to sample a true taste of the Caribbean. She also encouraged those in Toronto and beyond to indulge in the meat filled patties as they commemorate the holiday.

Jamaica has a large diaspora of approximately five million people who span the globe, particularly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The island’s culture continues to spread globally, with foreigners showing appreciation for the food, music, beaches and people.

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