News / Ottawa

Not your average pique-nique

It's been called a gastronomic flash mob, a pop-up picnic and a rogue supper club. Born in Paris, Dîner en Blanc ' an outdoor dinner party whose thousands of guests dress in white ' is taking the world by storm. Now it's coming to Ottawa, thanks to a Chelsea, Que., resident who is throwing the city's inaugural flash-mob picnic.

Greg Searle first found out about Dîner en Blanc in August when he looked out the window of his Montreal hotel room near Place du Canada.

“I heard music and looked down and saw these people in white,” he said. “It turned out to be one of these flash-mob picnics and it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I thought, oh my God, we need that in Ottawa.”

On Oct. 15, Searle and his wife, Samantha, will host the Ottawa version of the picnic, dubbed Harvest Noir. Guests must dress in their best black attire and bring their own food ' locally grown, if possible. In keeping with the spirit of the Paris event, the location will be kept secret until the last possible moment.

The feast begins at 4 p.m. After the meal is over, everyone will clean up, the tables will be removed and it will seem as if the picnic never happened.

At about 7 p.m., guests will head indoors ' the venue is another secret ' for a dance party with a DJ and music.

“It's a chance for guests to have a magical evening with their friends,” Searle said. “The whole mystery element to it is unique and as adults we don't get surprises in our lives anymore.”

For more information and to register for the picnic, go to

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