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CBC Gives Us The World’s Biggest Shawarma (Sort Of)

In order to promote their new show, Little Mosque On The Prairie, the CBC organized what they called “the World’s Biggest Halal Shawarma Sandwich” — a 300-pound shawarma, right in the middle of Dundas Square. Torontoist loves good street threatre and it loves free food, and this provided both, so why not go? Heck, there were camels and everything. Nothing says “entertainment” like camels!

Once Torontoist got tired of looking at the camels (which were definitely amusing), it was time to check out the World’s Biggest Shawarma.
Okay, in fairness, that’s a big shawarma skewer, sure – but this is the World’s Biggest Shawarma? You’re kidding, right? It seems rather…
less than the World’s Biggest Shawarma. This is kind of a Region’s Biggest Shawarma. Or, alternately, The Fairly Respectably Large Shawarma. It’s definitely a big hefty bunch of chicken, sure, but it’s not exactly screaming out “Guinness Book” if you know what I mean.
Still, imagine the sandwich it will make!
That’s it! Torontoist is calling shenanigans! This isn’t the world’s largest shawarma sandwich! This isn’t a single sandwich at all! This is a shawarma banquet or something. It only seems proper that if you’re going to advertise the World’s Largest Shawarma Sandwich (in all capitals, no less) that you actually make one enormous sandwich. I bet American TV networks don’t skimp out on the tiny little details like this. Seriously, tsk tsk at you, CBC!
That complaint having been made, most folks in the vicinity were quite happy to go get themselves some free food (and then seconds and thirds given the multiple stations), and although the shawarma sandwiches were just chicken, diced tomato and tahini, it was all very good (very excellent chicken in particular) and everybody seemed to really enjoy eating shawarma and watching camels.
CBC actually went all out for this one; in addition to the free food and camels, they also had appearances by series creator Zarqa Nawaz (center) and stars Boyd Banks and Manoj Sood (left and right, respectively). There was much smiling and mugging for the press.
But lest you think Torontoist was wholly impressed with CBC’s press efforts (and seriously, it’s nice to see them actually selling a TV show for once, rather than just airing it and letting it die unwatched)…
“Halal-arious?” Oh, really, CBC Publicity Department? That was the best you could come up with? Were “Q’uran-tastic” and “Jihad-mirable” vetoed in the brainstorming stage, perhaps? Seriously, you go to all this trouble and then… “halal-arious.” Someone did most definitely not earn their paycheque this week.
In any case, it was a fun event – maybe not as good as the press releases indicated, but come on, free shawarma sandwiches for all and sundry on a crisp, windy January morning is not something Torontoist (and everybody else) will ever turn their nose up at.
And now, because it’s obviously what everybody reading this wants to see: more camels!


  • Jonathan Goldsbie

    My understanding is that there is no longer a “CBC Publicity Department” – it was axed in favour of contracting out. Ditto with in-house production design (sets, costumes, etc.).

  • Karen

    That was the saddest excuse for a shawarma sandwich ever. But the chicken quality was amazing!
    My favourite part was watching TV crews standing around in camel pee.

  • Chris Tindal

    That was the best report I’ve ever read about anything.

  • http://null Bert

    This is part of the CBC multicultural bullsh*t. Multi-culturalism is dead in England, for obvious reasons, it has been a failure. It is dead in Canada too, though the multi- c industry would have us believe otherwise. It is only their self-interest that they are concerned about. If they want to live in a muslim culture, why don’t they move to pakistan or some other stan.

  • fahad

    Yeah and while they’re at it, the greeks can go back to greece, and the quebecers can go back to france, and the anglophones can go back to northern europe….
    Canada has always been multiethnic. The show is an attempt to build bridges and promote greater understanding of the muslim community in North America. Given the current political climate, we are in dire need of it.