The Distillery District was chosen as the secret setting for Toronto’s first ever Diner en Blanc. Lisa Ng, editor-in-chief of The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide, shares her experience and photographs of a magical evening:
Toronto hosted its first ever Diner en Blanc Tuesday Sept 27 in the historical Distillery District. Passersby, perplexed, watched as a flock of diners dressed all in white were seated in white chairs and tables outdoors on the red cobblestone courtyard of the Distillery. The location was held top-secret until the final moments before the event, when guests were instructed by text message to meet at the parking lot by Parliament and Mill Sts.
We arrived in the Distillery District to see it transformed into a stunning outdoor dining room of all things white complete with live rock band and DJ.
Nearly 400 people turned out for Diner en Blanc with picnic packed for an al fresco dinner under the September stars. Similar events have been held in Montreal, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Paris, Chicago and New York, and next year is set to be even bigger and better with Toronto’s Diner en Blanc joining the official society that hosts the event around the world.
Organization was required– we all had to find a white outfit after Labour Day and figure out who was bringing what in our group of 10. More than one trip was made to Value Village, that’s for sure, but in the end everyone in attendance looked elegant and incredible. Top hats, fascinators and even a wedding dress were spotted! The forecast had been calling for rain all day, but we (and our all-white ensembles) were still dry.
It was a potluck-style dinner. Everyone was in charge of bringing a dish to share with strangers or friends. I bought a bunch of different breads and headed to St. Lawrence Market for the salami, prosciutto, garlic & chive Havarti, brie, peppercorn pate, olives, sausage, grapes and peaches. Turned out pretty well, I think! Cava restaurant was also on hand and treated us to a fluffy pate mousse on crostini.
The Lifford Wine Agency sold wine and champagne at $30 a bottle. Encore Catering helped out with the tables and chairs and inventory management and treated everyone to delicious cake pops and biscotti. At the end of the night we lit sparklers–and then it turned into an outdoor dance party! We really lucked out with the weather; there wasn’t a single raindrop and it was an unusually warm night for late September.
The best part of the night was eating a great meal with friends outside in a very unique setting; the Distillery District was, without a doubt, the perfect atmosphere for Toronto’s first-ever Diner en Blanc.
Here are more photos courtesy of Encore Catering’s Toronto Catering Blog,