Diner en Blanc

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Dîner en Blanc 2013: the year’s most elegant flash mob

Diner en Blanc 2013

(Image: Renée Suen)

Dîner en Blanc, the pop-up party where diners don bridal whites and picnic en masse, has a dark secret: the appearance of spontaneity takes planning. Grueling amounts of planning. Not just for organizers—although their task is certainly tricky—but for participants, too. The rules are notoriously strict: dress must be suitably elegant; cream and ivory garb is forbidden; and tables (which attendees have to supply and haul around themselves, along with white chairs, white dinnerware, white cloth napkins, cutlery, wineglasses and a multi-course meal) must not exceed 32 x 32 inches. It can feel like a bit of a slog, but this finicky attention to detail is, after all, what makes the fête a success. The second annual Toronto event, held on Thursday night, transformed a grungy parking lot at Queen and Church into an elegant, 1,600-person banquet, complete with crystal champagne flutes, multi-tiered seafood trays and a pregnant woman harnessed to an elaborate fabric swing (we’re still confused). Here, a play-by-play of how the night came together, plus a slideshow of some of the most ambitious meals, decked-out participants and raucous party scenes.

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Gallery: the inaugural Dîner en Blanc Toronto, complete with drizzle, open flames and sparklers

(Image: Taku Kumabe)

Last Thursday, a sea of nearly 1,400 white-clad picnickers flooded Fort York for the first annual Dîner en Blanc. Although Toronto did host a test run of the all-white flash-mob picnic last year, this was the first official launch of the dinner, which originated in Paris over 20 years ago. The event was clearly billed as rain-or-shine, and attendees—who arrived by foot and chartered bus to the secret location—saw plenty of the former. Still, they came by the dozen, carrying baskets filled with food, white dinnerware, white tables and white chairs.

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Toronto to host a Dîner en Blanc next month (for real this time)

Paris’s 2011 Dîner en Blanc, in front of the Notre Dame cathedral (Image: Luc Legay)

Last year, Suresh Doss helped organize a test run of Dîner en Blanc, the annual Paris-founded foodie event where diners show up at a secret location for a picnic-cum-flash mob, all clad in white. This year, Toronto will be hosting its first-ever official event, on August 9, at a location that will only be revealed right before the dinner itself. Diners are expected to bring their own picnic food, tables, chairs, napkins and glasses, and are instructed to leave the site in the condition they found it. Tickets are reserved for “close friends of the organization,” but for the less august, there’s a waiting list you can join. We imagine it’ll be a long one. [Dîner en Blanc]

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Dîner en blanc, Toronto’s other white meet 

About 400 sartorial albinos descended on the Distillery District yesterday for Toronto’s first Dîner en Blanc (apparently unconcerned that Nuit Blanche usually has dibs on the colour this season). Partly organized by Suresh Doss—the man behind Food Truck Eats—the feast was a pilot of sorts, not formally affiliated with the official events in Paris, Berlin, New York and elsewhere. The concept remained the same: dress in your finest whites, bring your own haute cuisine and show up at a public locale that’s revealed only shortly beforehand. The dinner bills itself as a high-class affair; indeed, its code of conduct warns that “only the most proper decorum will be tolerated,” attested to in the photos up at Torontoist and The Grid. In Montreal, on the other hand, it seems they do things a little differently: this video from 2010 features a very posh Gandalf the White at 3:30, as well as a truly graceful conga line at 5:45. Read the whole story [Torontoist] [The Grid] »

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