Secret outdoor dinner for 1,200 people in downtown Vancouver: Diner en Blanc, Aug. 30

Photo credit: luc legay | Flickr

At approximately 6 p.m. on this Thursday, Aug. 30, Vancouver will be awash in a sea of white.

Some 1,200 diners dressed entirely in white will converge on a secret location, carrying their own tables, chairs and tablecloths for an event called Diner en Blanc.

Originating in France, Diners en Blanc have been staged in 20 different cities over the past 25 years.  Among the most memorable locations was in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, where 15,000 Parisians turned out for a night to remember.

Exclusivity and secrecy are hallmarks of the Diner en Blanc experience.  The 1,200 available spots for the Vancouver event were quickly reserved, and there is currently a 4,000-person waiting list, according to organizers.  Prices ranged from $30 for a bring-your-own picnic package to $105 for dinner and wine catered by Top Chef Canada champ Dale MacKay, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

The all-white dress code emphasizes elegance, encouraging Vancouverites to ditch runners and T-shirts for formal dress ranging from white tuxedos to top hats.  The entire experience is meant to replicate the bygone glamour of Parisian court society.  Champagne and wine are served, but no beer or spirits.

Photo credit: ginparis2002 | Flickr

All organizers were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement promising not to reveal details about the event.  On the night of the dinner, specially designated group leaders will marshal platoons of hundreds of diners and march them to the location of the secret dinner.  After arranging their tables in long rows, participants will be seated – men on one side and women on the other.

Speculation is rife about where in Vancouver an outdoor event of this size may take place.  A recent Vancouver Sun article offered some possibilities, including near the Vancouver Convention Centre, in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, in Yaletown’s David Lam Park, in Stanley Park and even on Sunset Beach.

In addition to Vancouver, Toronto will be experiencing its first Diner en Blanc this year.  Montreal already has four diners under its belt and Quebec City has two.

Anyone going to Diner en Blanc?  What makes it special?  Let us know below.

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