As a country, Canada has had many proud moments throughout its rich history. Studded with World Heritage sites, the early abolition of slavery, railway industrialization and so many others. Among those, at the international World’s Fair exposition held in 1967 in Montréal, Québec, Canadians celebrated Canada’s centennial, known as Expo 67. The complex theme, ‘Man and His World’ selected at the Montebello conference, was based on French author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s book title, Terre des Hommes. The fair became a feast for the eyes and once-in-a-lifetime experience for attendees.
When Canoe Restaurant and Bar executive chef John Horne and chef de cuisine Ron McKinlay’s created their new tasting menu to celebrate what they call one of the most prominent landmark moments in Canada’s past, they fashioned a unique chef’s table full of commemoration and remembrance.
Canoe’s location seems fitting for such a lofty endeavor, reigning supreme from 54 floors upward in the TD Bank Tower in downtown Toronto. Diners taking in views of the bustling city and Lake Ontario can imagine the sense of Canadian pride in building the grand spectacle of Expo 67, more than half a century ago. Indeed, shaping a menu based on so many moving parts was no mean feat for chefs Horne and McKinlay – beneath the overall theme of the fair, there were five main subgroups called ‘Man the Creator’, ‘Man the Explorer’, ‘Man the Producer’, ‘Man the Provider’, and ‘Man and the Community’ each of which were again divided.
The chefs began by drawing inspiration from each of these five Canadian pavilions to come up with multiple courses to honor the fair, which according to the Canadian and Britannica Encyclopedia, welcomed 50 million paid admissions between April 28 to October 27, and 5 million performers, press, official visitors and staff. The resulting five-course menu assembles the homegrown ingredients Canadians have come to expect in fine dining, with a lot of fun packed in along the way.
Horne believed Canoe’s Expo 67 tasting menu had to be worthy of being inspired by Canada’s centennial celebration, but they wanted to keep it light. To combine the two elements, the chefs also weaved a few items in homage to carnival cuisine.
“Expo 67 was one of our proudest moments in Canadian history, especially from a food perspective, because it showcased the diversity of Canadian ingredients, cooking styles and techniques to the rest of the world,” said Horne.Continue Reading