Yellowknifers have been rushing to bite into the city’s best burgers as part of the second annual Burger Week, Jan. 27-Feb. 6.
Sonia Idir, a communications professional with the Government of the Northwest Territories, came up with the novel idea last year after living in Halifax and experiencing the Nova Scotia capital’s similar festival.
“I came up with Burger Week,” she said. “I moved from France to Halifax in 2015 and I lived in Halifax for two years. Every March, they have a Halifax burger week.
“I went there with my friends or my roommates and it was one of my favorite events there. So when I moved here to Yellowknife in 2017, I kind of missed it and I wanted to start one.”
Burger Week is quite popular among restaurants in Halifax, where proceeds are directed to Feed Nova Scotia, a food security organization, Idir explained.
In Yellowknife’s case, money raised will go to the Food First Foundation.
Last year the festival raised $3,427 for the Yellowknife Food bank and 1,734 burgers were sold in 10 participating restaurants.
Idir said she’s comfortable with event organizing and has had a great time putting the activities together again this year. She felt it was a brilliant way to promote local businesses in Yellowknife.
“For me there were three main things, the first of which is that it is a fun event for residents to do – they can try a new burger,” she said. “Also, it’s for a good cause as the charity is the Food First Foundation… and then, third, it’s really good for the businesses because it gives them more customers and more revenues.”
On the closing day of the festival, there will be a draw announcing the winning burger.
Participating restaurants will let Idir know how many hamburgers are sold during the festival so that it can be calculated how much money will go to the Food First Foundation.
Tes Onrdrack, Food First Foundation coordinator, said she’s very grateful for Idir’s initiative and Yellowknifers buying burgers.
“We feel so lucky to have been chosen as the recipients of Burger Week proceeds this year,” said Onrdrack. “We are currently supporting 41 NWT school food programs, including eight Yellowknife schools, and the funds will help us help schools continue feeding their students in need.”
At the Monkey Tree pub, co-owner Jen Vornbrock said, “Burger sales have been completely nuts. We are going through a crazy amount of beef. Last year went really well and I think a festival like this gets new people out and kind of makes it fun for people because it creates entertainment where people can hop around and go two to three places a night. It raises money for a good cause too.” Yellowknifers who participate in Burger Week will have an opportunity to win prize draws that entail stays at Blachford Lake Lodge, the Explorer Hotel and Aurora Village.