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‘I’ve smelled diapers that have smelled better than this’: Newmarket shelter site of stinky fish challenge

March 21, 2023

Posted on: March 21st, 2023. By: Lisa Queen,, Original Article.

Blue Door CEO Michael Braithwaite raised $11,000 for Richmond Hill Coldest Night of the Year walk to support homeless

As those gathered at Newmarket’s Kevin’s Place shelter gagged from the stench, Blue Door CEO Michael Braithwaite opened a can of the world’s stinkiest fish and popped a morsel of the foul-smelling contents into his mouth.

“If you’re ever wondering if you took your green bin, folded (the contents) up and took a bite out of that, this is it. Eww, that’s nasty,” he said before laughingly adding “mmm, tastes like chicken.”

“I’ve smelled diapers that have smelled better than this.”

Braithwaite took the Surströmming Stinky Fish Challenge March 10 after promising donors he would eat the pungent food if he raised $10,000 for taking part in Richmond Hill’s Coldest Night of the Year.

The event raised $162,000 to support people who are homeless or have precarious housing.

Although there was a bucket placed at his feet in case he couldn’t stomach the fish, Braithwaite kept it down, even saying he hasn’t thrown up from illness or food since Christmas Day in 1982 when he was 10-years-old.

He also had another reason for not regurgitating the fish.

“This would be embarrassing to my Viking ancestors if I can’t stomach this stuff,” he jokingly told

But the need for raising the Coldest Night of the Year funding is no laughing matter, Braithwaite said.

“I just look at the environment around us. Housing prices are skyrocketing, incomes are staying stagnant, we’re welcoming all these wonderful new Canadians into the country and we don’t have enough affordable housing for them to stay, so the housing crisis and the homelessness crisis have just blown up,” he said.

“Now, more than ever, we need dollars to turn that around and support people.”

Every year, Braithwaite takes on an uncomfortable challenge to raise money.

Last year, he took a dip in Lake Ontario when it was -22 C.

Next year, for the Coldest Night of the Year March walk, he plans to make a six-hour trek — from the bottom of Yonge St. to Richmond Hill — dressed in 1970s Los Angeles Lakers garb, including short shorts, knee socks, headband and tank top.