If you’re looking for a lunchtime snack that takes you outside the office this afternoon, sink your teeth into the Caribbean’s favourite flaky pastry in celebration of Toronto’s Jamaican Patty Day.
The date of this celebration dates back to 38 years ago, when the infamous “Patty Wars” took place on the streets of Toronto. Local authorities and health inspectors told patty vendors they could no longer use the term “beef patties” to describe their meaty snack offerings. According to the inspectors, the pastries didn’t meet the technical definition of a patty — true “patties” could only contain meat and seasonings and could not be enclosed in dough or pastry.
Toronto’s vendors were understandable outraged. After much public debate and media attention, heated negotiations lasted weeks, with input from officials and politicians. Finally on February 23, 1985, the patty vendors prevailed and were allowed again to call the Jamaican snack a patty. Thus, Jamaican Patty Day was born.
Now, almost four decades later, Jamaican patties and other traditional tastes like jerk chicken continue to be integral to Toronto’s international food scene. Here are the top places to go to celebrate Jamaican Patty Day.
Well, it’s a good thing vendors didn’t have to stop using the name patty, otherwise what would this place be called? At Pattylicious, even those who don’t eat beef or chicken can celebrate the occasion with a vegan Jamaican patty.
Today, Island Foods uses the same authentic recipes that it used in 1974 when it opened as one of Toronto’s first Caribbean restaurants. While you can certainly find newer Jamaican restaurants, sometimes the oldest do it best.
With six locations across the GTA, this Caribbean bakery is easy to find. But be warned: you might walk into the bakery with the intent of buying just a patty and leave with other Jamaican specials like oxtail, fried plantains, and jerk wings. Allwyn’s has it all.
Caribbean Queen of Patties
You don’t need to be royalty to afford the patties from the queen herself. The hospitality is worth the trip alone but you can’t go wrong with these patties that are large and loaded—which is exactly what you want on Jamaican Patty Day.
Crumbs Gourmet Patties
The patties at this favourite spot in Kensington Market are known for being ooey, gooey and oh-so stuffed. Check out Culinary Adventure Co. to discover how you can get a free patty from Crumbs today between 2:00 – 3:00.
A patty on the commute home from work might just be the best way to end the day. Fahmee’s homemade patties can be found at both Bathurst and Warden Station.