Food Day Canada to light up the country for 16th annual event

ELORA – Food Day Canada will celebrate its 16th anniversary on Aug. 3 by illuminating monuments all across the country.

More than 21 different monuments will be included in the event, with seven monuments in Ontario alone.

Kingston City Hall, the CN Tower, the Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square, the St. Lawrence Market, Niagara Falls, Welland Bridge 13 and Market Square, Guelph will all be cast in red and white for the occasion.

According to University of Guelph food laureate and Food Day Canada founder Anita Stewart, the light displays will help engage Canadians on Food Day Canada.

“When people see Niagara Falls being illuminated red and white they will know why,” said Stewart. “It’s a way of encouraging the chefs to get more involved but also … just the people of Canada, people like you and I who don’t have a restaurant. It’s really to spur engagement.”

Stewart envisioned Food Day Canada as a massive celebration recognizing of Canadian farmers and fishers, chefs, researchers and home cooks.

“Our food traditions can stand on any world stage. We should be very proud of who we are as a food nation, as a culinary nation,” said Stewart.

Rich in agriculture resources and on the forefront of culinary research, Wellington County has a lot to celebrate this Food Day Canada as well.

“Food Day Canada is more than just chefs and restaurants; it’s the producers, it’s the farmers, it’s the processors, it’s the farmers markets – all of these people who actually create what we would call the food life of Canada,” said Stewart.

“Wellington County is rich in terms of culinary resources; food resources are massive here.”

The area is also home to the country’s leading agricultural school.

“The University of Guelph is part of Wellington County and their support has been … it has led Canada, without question. Some of the elemental research, the foundational research into crops and just general agriculture is here,” said Stewart.

Recently, the university announced it will improve the school’s food lab within its Macdonald Institute thanks to a $1-million gift from alumnus Michel Eric Fournelle.

He requested the new lab be named the Anita Stewart Alumni Food Laboratory. It will provide a space to teach students innovative practices in food preparation, production, safety and the science of food.

“I am really pleased,” said Stewart.

“I really love it because it gives me an opportunity to do more really intelligent communication around food and from my perspective at the university it’s going to allow me to build more celebratory bridges between the various departments and colleges; that’s my goal.”

She added, “I will have the classic students into that kitchen, we’ll be interpreting recipes from a book that was written in the 1600s using ingredients developed by the University of Guelph.”

Like with Food Day Canada, Stewart hopes to host public events at the new lab to engage chefs from coast to coast and bring expertise from across the country to the local community.

For now, she said she hopes residents will take part in Food Day Canada by cooking with local ingredients and sharing recipes on social media by hashtaging and taging #FoodDayCanada and @FoodDayCanada

“Cook like a Canadian, and shop like a Canadian is the big part,” she said.

“Go on and figure out the ingredients from here and use them, because the more we use them the larger the capacity we have to keep our farmers in business.”