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Ottawa is the 'Shawarma Capital of Canada,' council declares


The national capital is now known as the 'Shawarma Capital of Canada.'

Council unanimously approved a motion from Coun. Laura Dudas to declare Ottawa the shawarma capital of the country.

"I had a couple of emails, less than a handful, saying this is frivolous and a silly motion," Dudas said at Wednesday's council meeting. "It may be a bit tongue in cheek, but frankly our city is so incredibly diverse."

Ottawa is home to nearly 200 Shawarma restaurants, serving up the Middle Eastern meal featuring marinated meat, garlic sauce and other toppings.

Dudas, who introduced the motion to declare Ottawa the shawarma capital, told council that the shawarma industry is an "economic driver" for Ottawa.

"We have 119 Tim Hortons, (shawarma restaurants) far surpasses that," Dudas said. "We've got 21 McDonalds. We have more shawarma shops than we have gas stations."

Shawarma restaurant owners say Ottawa is the 'Capital of Shawarma.'

"Whether it goes through or doesn't, it already is the capital of shawarma," Charbel Karakouzian, owner of 3 Brothers Shawarma and Poutine, told Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa at Work with Patricia Boal.

Karakouzian says the restaurants see their regular customers "three to four times a week."

"We've been downtown for over 15 years; we have Ottawa university students, we have tourists, we have government employees."

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe had staff deliver a shawarma to Dudas before the vote at Wednesday's council meeting.

"We're on a tight budget, so we'll cut it into pieces," Sutcliffe joked.

Coun. Laura Dudas holds a shawarma after council voted to declare Ottawa the 'Shawarma capital of Canada.' (Tyler Fleming/CTV News Ottawa)

Dudas told council she is going to organize a shawarma festival in Ottawa in the future.

"Ottawa's Shawarma is unquestionably the best in Canada. Ottawa's Shawarma is the great uniter, bringing together Ottawa residents from all backgrounds, whether rural or urban, east or west, (Carleton) Ravens or (University of Ottawa) Gee-Gees," Dudas said when introducing the motion on March 6.

"Shawarma leftovers are a perfectly acceptable breakfast, and lunch, and likely also another dinner."

Dudas says Ottawa's Shawarma is "unquestionably" the best in Canada, is a "civic institution and is objectively delicious."

"Ottawa hearts have enough love for Poutine, Beavertails and Shawarmas." Top Stories

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