Dîner en Blanc Sparkles Across Concord Communities and Continents, Transcending the Outdoor Dining Experience
11 September 2023
Donning a wardrobe entirely of white, guests assemble annually in cities across the world for the unparalleled outdoor dining experience of Dîner en Blanc.
Beyond the two million annual exposures to family centric events Concord sponsors and hosts including lululemon’s wellness series, Tour de Concord, and the Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival, Concord is committed to enhancing vibrant communities through experiences such as Dîner en Blanc. These evenings encompass indoor and outdoor living, culture, community, and connection. Spanning the nation for years Concord communities have hosted these mesmerizing events, and this year was no different at Concord Pacific’s Coopers’ Park and Quayside Marina.
Reflecting on over thirty years of tradition spanning the globe, the evenings were first initiated by François Pasquier in 1988. The spark of Dîner en Blanc emerged from a wish to host a picnic with friends, in celebration of returning to Paris after years of living on The Islands of Tahiti. With a garden too small to host such a gathering, François chose the botanical gardens of Bois de Boulogne. To ensure guests recognized the picnic social, he introduced a dress code of all white.
The joyous evening filled with food and friendship was such a sensation that participants agreed to replicate the event annually at various enchanting locations in Paris over the upcoming years. Momentum grew as the city buzzed of the magical event, transforming the small gathering of loved ones into thousands dining together dressed head-to-toe in white in cities worldwide. Regardless of the city, a constant is the secret location of the venue each year, divulged only minutes prior to the evening.
There’s magic in having a surprise setting, as it provides a unique and unexpected lavish dining experience with each coming year. Throughout the last decade, Dîner en Blanc exclusive members have been guided to iconic settings throughout Canada, creating unforgettable evenings.
The Toronto downtown Concord Presentation Centre, now established as the upcoming Concord Canada House project, was the media and VIP pre-event reception for Dîner en Blanc 2017, which took place nearby at Canoe Landing Park. The room brought Parisian ambiance to Canada at Concord CityPlace for the evening ahead with a feeling reminiscent of a “Yves Saint Laurent retail space,” shared by Hollywood celebrity interviewers, style commentators, interior designers, and hosts of the evening, Colin and Justin. Guests spotted in the latest high fashion enjoyed the festivities of live string musicians, impressive Cirque du Soleil-esque performances, and professional ballet dancers, as the light rainfall dwindled away.
The following year, The Bentway under the Gardiner and Fort York National Historic Site, across the street from Concord CityPlace, was transformed into Dîner en Blanc 2018. The gorgeous skyline views made for the perfect venue for such a grand dinner. Attendees blissfully enjoyed a delightful meal, sparkling rosé from J.P. Chenet, and of course, enlivening conversations and dancing with friends dressed to the nines.
Voyaging across Canada to Calgary, the tradition extends across notable locations such as the Dîner en Blanc 2015, held just steps away from The Concord building at the iconic landmark of Peace Bridge at the prestigious Eau Claire neighbourhood. Right on the Bow River with a backdrop of downtown, the green space transformed into a captivating event filled with live musical performances, magnificent art installations, and delicious cuisine.
Moving to the West Coast of Canada to Concord Pacific’s Vancouver Presentation Centre, located between Science World and Rogers Arena, you’ll encounter the site of Dîner en Blanc 2016. With the evening at Concord Pacific Place, home to notable events including Cirque du Soleil and the Porsche 75th Anniversary, the expansive space and enhanced accessibility allowed Vancouver to host the second largest Dîner en Blanc event in the world that year, second only to the founding city of Paris. Over 6000 diners reveled in the show-stopping event, encompassing an all-white lineup of luxury vehicles including the world-renowned Ferrari and Maserati brands, delectable French cuisine, art installations, croquet matches, a gravity-defying aerial silks performance, and live jazz throughout.
As the originating event producer in Vancouver, The Social Concierge has been igniting Vancouverites to rediscover the beauty in their city through the Dîner en Blanc lens. “Connecting through food and culture is one of the best ways to build community,” shared Tyson Villeneuve, founding partner of The Social Concierge. From weddings, to engagements, and long-lost connections reuniting, Dîner en Blanc lives up to its promise to bring loved ones together.
“Concord brought more to the table than the average partner, with their creative engagement and willingness to support the events. […] They’ve allowed us to explore venues we couldn’t have imagined” – Tyson Villeneuve.
By uncovering the venues of Dîner en Blanc, you’ll discover themes of picturesque ocean-front views, glorious city skylines, and beautiful architecture that intensify these opulent evenings.
2015 began at Concord Pacific’s Vancouver Presentation Centre for our VIP attendees and media, who were greeted by a grandiose ruby red hot air balloon to celebrate the soon-to-be The ARC Vancouver. From there, guests were delighted to discover the surprise Dîner en Blanc location to be the national landmark, Canada Place. As the welcoming point for over 900,000 cruise passengers annually from across the world, along with being the site of the Vancouver Convention Centre and the Vancouver Olympic Cauldron built during the 2010 Winter Games, it’s the perfect fit for such an influential event. Chandeliers shimmering, musical performances, real-time painters, and a wedding ceremony made for a cherished affair by all.
2017 brought a dual-location surprise near Stanley Park that had only been seen once before, in the originating city of Paris. The celebrations began poolside at the resort-style hotel, The Westin Bayshore at Coal Harbour. Glistening waters both from the famous circular heated pool and the Vancouver Harbour waterfront were enjoyed by VIP guests and media lounging in cabanas with a glass of Moët in hand, making for a perfect beginning to a dreamy evening. The Table D’Honneur guests dispersed along the Seawall to the main event at both Devonian Harbour Park and Harbour Green Park, situated on either side of the exclusive soirée, where they enjoyed an exquisite multi-course meal prepared on-site by the critically acclaimed chef, David Hawksworth.
Outside the downtown core is the 2018 venue at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens, where Colin and Justin returned on concordlive.ca to indulge those at home a glimpse into the affairs. François Pasquier in attendance further added to the likeness of the inaugural Dîner en Blanc in Paris, in the botanical gardens of Bois de Boulogne. The nature-filled scenery, a grandiose sculpture of the Eiffel Tower, fairy-like performers, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra brought together a whimsical evening.
Dîner en Blanc founder François Pasquier and family attending the Vancouver 2018 event.
Throughout False Creek, attendees of Dîner en Blanc have enjoyed numerous evenings at the parks built by Concord on the grounds of the former EXPO 86 lands.
Across the waters from Granville Island was Dîner en Blanc 2019, which transpired at George Wainborn Park in Concord Pacific’s Beach Crescent Neighbourhood. Beauty and serenity surround this park from every angle, from the captivating architecture in the buildings around, to the stunning boats docked on the False Creek waters, to Concord’s Public Art pieces, and the peaceful water features throughout.
Heading east on the False Creek Seawall you’ll find the spot of Dîner en Blanc 2014, where over 3,500 guests were led to David Lam Park. With Concord Pacific’s Beach Crescent and Marinaside Crescent neighbourhoods on either side, this location is nestled in the heart of Yaletown: known for fine dining, chic cocktail lounges, exclusive fashion, and boutique shopping. The breathtaking waterfront paired perfectly with the Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne and alluring entertainment, including a pianist playing on a piano designed by Steinway & Sons, acrobatics, contemporary dance, and more.
Following the seawall towards the Cambie Street Bridge unveils the location of this year’s Dîner en Blanc 2023, Coopers’ Park and Quayside Marina, located in the Marinaside Crescent neighbourhood masterplan built by Concord Pacific, influencing areas as far reaching as the luxuriant Dubai Marina. The Social Concierge team had their sights set on this exact location for years, with the vast green space, views of Science World and Granville Island, proximity to the marina hosting an abundance of luxury boats and yachts, and bridge cover allowing for a pop-up art exhibit mirroring those on the sidewalks of France. With sponsors including Concord Pacific, The BMW Store, Wilson M. Beck, BMO Private Wealth, Alliance Française Vancouver, and Mine & Yours Luxury Resale, the evening encapsulated a truly authentic Dîner en Blanc experience.
The evening commenced with the quintessential napkin wave, signifying the beginning of an unforgettable dining journey. Guests immersed themselves in festivities including an awe-inspiring Eiffel Tower photo opportunity, stilts walkers adorned in magnificent costumes, a striking Taittinger Champagne tower, exquisite paintings displayed throughout, and live musicians, to name a few. Table D’Honneur guests savoured every bite of their meal prepared by Alessandro Vianello, who has resided as Executive Chef at upscale establishments including Ancora and Uva. Of course, no Dîner en Blanc is complete without the dazzling sparkler moment to cap off the evening, where comrades come together to light their sparklers in unison to create a captivating affair.
With Dîner en Blanc 2023 concluded across all the cities in Canada, eager guests can only imagine what allurement and marvel future events will bring.