TORONTO -- 500 Jamaican patties were given away Sunday morning as Toronto’s Jamaica Tourist Board celebrated Patty Day.

The giveaway comes 35 years after a dispute between the city and Jamaican patty vendors over what to call the pastries filled with meat.

“There was a bit of back and forth and eventually it was resolved,” the Jamaica Tourist Board’s Jessica Napier told CTV News Toronto.

“And ever since then, February 23rd has kind of been an unofficial Patty Day here in Toronto.”

To mark the occasion, the Tourist Board approached Patties Express on Elm Street, near Yonge and Gerrard streets, to giveaway 500 patties. And it didn’t take long to attract a crowd.


Among the people taking advantage of the free patties was Liv, who tells CTV News Toronto that there is a lot to like about the flaky dish. 

“The flavours—the flavours are intense. I like that if you’re vegetarian, you’re not a vegetarian, you’re a meat eater, you’re a vegan—it’s super versatile, lots of options.”

Patties Express owner Daniel Cheng and his team were busy taking orders and passing out the patties. Cheng’s family has been in the patty business since 1987, and for them, Patty Day is important. “We do it every year. We don’t give away 500 every year. But we do different things every year. But this is the year we’re giving away 500.”


Dewitt was another customer who couldn’t wait to enjoy a patty. 

The self-proclaimed “6ix Mayor” says there’s so much to love about the pastries. 

“I love the culture. I love being able to experience it and share the culture. That’s my favourite part about it, is being able to share the culture.”

Cheng was happy to see so many people enjoying his product and he’s hoping Sunday’s event leads to even more people stopping by for a bite in the future.

“Giving out patties is a great idea on Patty day.”