Mississauga has 120 shawarma joints and beats the #1 spot in Canada

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Published October 18, 2023 at 11:02 am

shawarma shops mississauga ottawa
Photo: RDNE Stock project

It seems like every neighbourhood in Mississauga has a shawarma joint but can the city beat the self-proclaimed Shawarma Capital of Canada — Ottawa?

The savoury dish from the Middle East and north Africa, usually consists of thin slices of meat freshly cut from an inverted, slow roasted rotisserie or spit.

Traditionally made with lamb, there are also chicken, turkey, beef or veal shawarmas. The meat is typically stuffed into a pita or served on a platter with rice and vegetables.

Shawarma is sometimes confused with a donair. But donairs are made from ground meat formed into a cone shape, while shawarma is made with cuts of marinated meat stacked on a skewer.

While Halifax made donair its official food back in 2015, Mississauga has yet to do something similar for the shawarma.

And Mississauga loves its shawarma. Over the years, insauga.com has rated the top 5 shawarma spots, top 5 chicken shawarma, and even the best shawarma on fries.

These days there are more than 100 joints in Mississauga. An unofficial count of shawarma joints on Google by insauga.com came up with a whopping 120, more or less.

Yet, if you Google Shawarma Capital of Canada, Ottawa will most likely come up. Ottawa has claimed to have the most shawarma shops in Canada since at least 2012, according to news articles.

In 2017, the Ottawa Citizen claimed their city has more “shawarma shacks” than any place in Canada owing to the large influx of Lebanese immigrants beginning in 1975. An Ottawa Business Journal 2022 story said the city has more shawarma places than sub shops.

And a 2022 Reddit post claims Ottawa has more shawarma shops per capita than all other large cities in Canada.

Shawarma shops per million inhabitants
byu/ttucave inottawa

But a Google count of Ottawa’s current number of shawarma shops finds there are only 85 or around 100 if you count places just outside of the city in Nepean or Kanata. So it’s well under Mississauga’s 120.

And looking at population, Mississauga has more shawarma shops per person than Ottawa.

As of 2021, Ottawa had a city population of 1,017,449 and Mississauga’s population in 2021 was 717,961. So, any way you slice it — Mississauga should claim the shawarma title.

It seems unlikely that Mississauga could beat Toronto. However, the same Google count of shawarma shops in TO only comes up with 117.

Move over Ottawa, it seems this title is clearly Mississauga’s.

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