By Neil Armstrong TORONTO: Students from four schools in Toronto celebrated “Jamaican Patty Day,” an initiative of a Toronto bookstore, A Different Booklist, on February 23. Rockcliffe Middle School, Carlton Village, Willow Park Jr. Middle School and Driftwood Public School participated in the day which highlighted a moment of Black History in Toronto — what was then called the “Jamaican patty war” in 1985. Under the theme, “The Golden, Global Gift from Jamaica to the World,” the bookstore and partners recalled February 23, 1985, when patty vendors held a victory party in Kensington Market to celebrate their right to keep the historic name, “Jamaican Beef Patty,” and not have it changed to “Caribbean Pie.” The students of Rockcliffe Middle School, Carlton Village and Willow Park Jr. Middle descended on the bookstore where they were addressed by Michael Davidson, owner of Patty Palace who was involved in the 1985 issue; Pamela Appelt, co-chair of the Jamaica50th Anniversary Committee, Sandra Whiting of Sandra Whiting & Associates and Itah Sadu, co-owner of the bookstore. A plaque recognising the day from Mayor Rob Ford was read at the event. Over at the Jamaican consulate, the students from Driftwood Public School were regaled with stories about Jamaica, the patty and the contributions of Jamaicans to Canada. All the students were feted with patties and posters and information packages for their schools. Some students were designated reporters to write stories about the day’s proceedings which would be published in some medium at their schools. They could be seen, notebooks and pencils in hand, writing away frantically. In February 1985 the Canadian Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs claimed that Jamaican beef patties were not genuine patties, in the true sense of the Canadian description of a patty. The Canadian authority wanted the Jamaican beef patty to be called a “pie.” patties were at risk This resulted in an outcry from Jamaican patty distributors like Michael Davidson and Lloyd Perry (whose 250,000 patties were at risk), the Jamaican community, media and local politicians. The Toronto Star carried a story which showed Toronto politicians eating patties and Canada’s then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney even made reference to the patty war at a Canada-Caribbean Summit at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston when he quipped that he and his wife would be serving patties after the event. The Jamaican patty distributors said they were willing to live with the suggestion that their product be referred to as either “Jamaican patties” or “patties.” They felt this was an improvement over the earlier suggestion by the Canadian authorities that it be called a “pie.” At that time there was concern that the beef patty would be confused with the “beef hamburger” in the Canadian context. There was also the question of whether the content of the patty was entirely beef, or beef and other ingredients. At a meeting between Jamaican patty distributors and Canadian government officials it was decided and agreed to that a method would be devised to identify the main ingredients of a patty from then on – be it beef or whatever.