When Ali Patel, 23, of Scarborough in Canada, graduated from Ryerson University’s Retail Management Program in Toronto, he chose to display his passion for Jamaican patties – a passion shared by other residents of Toronto – by posing with a patty in his obligatory scholarship photo. According to Patel, he wanted to use a prop in his graduate pictures, “so I tweeted about it and one of my friends replied saying I should use a Warden Station patty.”
The history of the Jamaican patty goes back to colonial days on the island and is related to the introduction of the British Cornish pasty to the Caribbean region, where it evolved to include spices like cumin and curry seasonings used by indentured Indian servants and cayenne pepper used by enslaved African peoples. The scotch bonnet pepper that is native to Jamaica added the patty’s signature kick. Patties increased in popularity as the dish spread northward from the Caribbean during the 1960s and 1970s when many Jamaicans moved to the United States for work. First appearing in New York’s metropolitan area, the patties became popular in the United Kingdom as more West Indians migrated there. Patties are now available in numerous mainstream venues throughout the world, including in Canada.
On his way to have his graduate photo taken, Patel stopped by the Bakery On the Go store located in Warden Station between the bus platforms for the Number 17 and Number 9 buses to pick up a beef patty. “This is an important distinction as the other convenience store in the station also sells Jamaican patties,” he added. Among Toronto’s connoisseurs of Jamaican patties, the ones available at Warden Station are the best in town.
Patel’s decision to use a patty as a prop in his graduation photo has turned him into a mem on Facebook, and while he is amused at all the attention he has received for his decision, he is now more focused on finding a job where he can put his degree to work. He is hoping to get a job in marketing, but is also working on his own as a retail consultant on the side at his firm “Remouv.”
Photo source: Twitter