08/16/2012 10:24 EDT | Updated 10/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Montreal's Dîner en Blanc an apparent success

Montreal's Dîner en Blanc on Thursday attracted thousands of people all dressed in white at Place des Arts.

The Dîner en Blanc, or dinner in white, began in Paris in 1988 and has gathered crowds of nearly 15,000 people every year.

The event, imported to Montreal four years ago, has since become an international success and gathers thousands of people.

This year organizers expected no less than 4,200 guests.

No one knows where the event is going to take place beforehand. People all clad in white clothes wait in some strategic locations in the city until an announcement is made when they then flock to the event.

All guests come prepared with white tables, chairs, table settings and a picnic basket filled with gourmet foods, wine or champagne.

Aymeric Pasquier is the son of the founder of the first Dîner en Blanc in Paris and helped organize Montreal's edition of the annual event.

"It's always downtown and in the most gorgeous places of the city. We don't want to be isolated. We want to be in the middle of the city – not stop traffic or the pedestrians – we like the interaction with people of the city. It's an urban event," he said.

At the beginning the event was based on private invitations only and grew simply from word of mouth. Now, the event is more inclusive and has international appeal.

Dîner en Blanc now takes place in 22 cities on four different continents. People from different backgrounds have an interest in the concept.

Last summer, the first Dîner en Blanc in New York City attracted nearly 31,000 people to the waiting list within days of the event.

Toronto held its first event last week with 1,400 people in attendance.