For the first time in two years, Muslims in Toronto are celebrating Ramadan without restrictions.
Lobster poutine, fried chicken sandwiches, doner kebabs, and noodles. Very soon, Muslims in Toronto will be able to enjoy all this and more in a single space, as a halal food festival makes its way through the city.
Night Market Toronto, one of the city’s leading food festivals, has recently announced it will be launching what is believed to be Canada’s first “all halal food tour”. From May 6 to June 26, the event will hit eight cities in and around the Greater Toronto Area over eight weekends, starting from Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga. Good vibes, music, and unique dishes are all on the cards.
The plan is the brainchild of Rafaa Chapti, Zaina Moussa, and Amanee Nassereddine, three female entrepreneurs from Mississauga. The founders of Run The World Summit — a career and events platform for female entrepreneurs — got the idea to launch Night Market Toronto during one of their many coffee and brainstorming sessions.
From front to back, Zaina Moussa, Rafaa Chapti, and Amanee Nassereddine, founders of Night Market Toronto. Photo: Night Market Toronto.
In 2021, they decided to launch All You Can Eid, an Eid-themed food festival in Mississauga. While they realized there was a gap in the market, they didn’t quite expect the response it got from the community.
“We have just under 30,000 people come out in just three days,” says Nassereddine. “There were line-ups around the lot and vendors were selling [out] hours before closing. Seeing the response, we know there was an appetite for this kind of event.”
Providing Muslims with ‘peace of mind’
It also planted the seed for a bigger plan. “We had many of the festival attendees tell us they drove from outside of Mississauga to this event specifically — up to two hours away. We realized that there was an opportunity to take vendors on a tour to these cities so they could experience halal food around their homes,” says Moussa.
While many restaurants in Canada sell halal food, it’s not commonplace. This means Muslims have to ask questions about the meat and how it was prepared, then often eschew establishments altogether.
The founders believe this new event will offer many Muslims in the community “peace of mind” while also bringing them together.
The idea has had a positive response already. Only one day after making the announcement on Instagram, the post racked up more than 80 comments from excited customers wanting to know more.