Skip to main content

Why do Canadians eat donairs?

There is a meat dish which in slightly different forms is widely eaten in the Eastern Mediterranean as well, in recent years, in many other countries. (See the Wikipedia articles Döner kebab and ドネル ケバブ.) In the United States, it is usually called gyro(s), from Greek γύρος, sometimes pronounced [dʒaiɹow] according to its spelling, with the 's' taken to be the plural morpheme, sometimes [jiɹos] as in Greek. In Canada, the same dish is almost always known as doner, from Turkish döner, also spelled donair. A few restaurants in Ontario seem to call it gyros, but here in British Columbia, and in my experience in Alberta as well, gyros is virtually never used. This is true even in restaurants run by Greeks. A new place specializing in doner just opened here in Prince George. The owners are Greek,but they use the term donair on their menu and even in the name of their restaurant. I have been wondering for a long time why it is that this dish almost always goes by its Greek name in the United States but by its Turkish name in Canada.