Best of CityPlace

Le Dîner en Blanc, what a night

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The sight of thousands in white at Concord CityPlace‘s Canoe Landing Park in Toronto last week seemed like a mystery.

The community didn’t know much about it, and neither did the thousands who attended, until the night of the event.

Launched in Paris 30 years ago, Le Dîner en Blanc’s secret location remains a secret until the last minute.

Once the site is revealed, the crowd makes their way to the outdoor space for an elegant picnic.

Yes, a picnic, and with any picnic, you bring everything with you, food, drinks, chairs, tables, and for those who heeded the weather forecast, umbrellas or ponchos, or both.

As noted on Le Dîner en Blanc de Toronto 2017’s website, “Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamour of high French society, and guests engage one another, knowing that they are taking part in a truly magical event. There are no disruptions: no car traffic, no pedestrian traffic—only amazed and astonished looks from passersby observing the scene before them. And participants, like spectators, wonder whether it’s all not a dream.”

The same thing happened in Toronto on Thursday night, August 17, 2017.

And what a night it was.

“What a night!” was the statement that embodied Toronto’s celebration and rain was the unofficial theme.

For most, rain is a reason to cancel an outdoor event when the majority of the venue is open to the elements. Not for Le Dîner en Blanc de Toronto (Dinner in White, Toronto); it was going ahead rain or shine.

Usually one remembers an event for its food, music, and more magically memories. The dinner attendees will remember the rain and will remember it fondly. It’s important to note that there were also many dry spells. The rain was sporadic, but it came to be the cause of the night’s most memorable moments.

The rain (or more accurate at times, the deluge) delayed the opening, and that gave everyone something to talk about, and those conversations led to more conversation, and soon the delay turned in extra time to get to know more people.

The rain delay meant there was more helping a dinner friend wipe off their seat, laugh while holding an umbrella overhead while pouring wine, beer, or whatever was bought – and for some while being served.

Eventually, everyone was wet, whether slightly or soaked and at that point, the rain didn’t matter anymore – it was time to have fun. Some took cover, while some danced and sang in the rain. It was reminiscent of one’s long forgotten youth when being caught in the rain was a time for fun – we saw many people release that inner child that evening.

The rain was the factor that united everyone that evening. Whether they brought their meal or were served a course or two, it couldn’t even extinguish the sparklers being waved.

Le Dîner en Blanc is a picnic after all, and a picnic is a time for people to come together and enjoy a meal outdoors.

The event will go down as being remembered for the rain, probably not the food, music or decor; they will remember those they enjoyed the evening with and what they did. Those are the memories that matter, the memories when a community came together for dinner.

The question to all those who attended, “Do you remember what you were doing when it rained at Le Dîner en Blanc de Toronto and who you were with?” Without a doubt, they will recall those fond memories.