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We're getting a poutine festival! Mayor helps make it happen!

Poutine Feast will run June 28 to July 1 at Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site
In this file photo, hot gravy is rendering the fresh cheese curds slightly mushy, causing them to string out over the fries in a culinary phenomenon also known as bliss, rapture or poutine heaven

Sault Ste. Marie's first multi-day poutine celebration will take place June 28 to July 1, 2019 at Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site.

Kathy Fisher, site curator, spuddered out the news at last week's historic sites board meeting.

The Downtown Association is partnering with Ottawa-based event manager James Doucet to bring a Poutine Feast event here.

It will coincide with a voyageur celebration at the Ermatinger-Clergue site, Fisher said.

Next year will be the 150th anniversary of the Red River Rebellion, a major event in Métis history involving descendents of voyageurs and coureurs de bois who had settled in Western Canada with indigenous spouses.

This year, Doucet ran Poutine Feast events in nine Ontario cities.

In 2019, he's planning spudly festivities in 15 cities including Sault Ste, Marie and Timmins.

It was Jana Woodcock who first got the cheese curds rolling in the Sault, inviting Doucet here through a late-August post on Poutine Feast's main Facebook page.

"If you can get 2,000 likes we will be there in 2019," Doucet responded.

Saultites including Chelsea Olar, Douglas Gerald Tian Agawa and even Mayor Christian Provenzano then leaped into online action.

"I know there are plenty of poutine lovers in Sault Ste. Marie who would love to attend a Poutine Feast... event," Provenzano wrote on his official Facebook page,

Olar, a big fan of the squeaky-cheese, gravy-topped, French-fried-potatoes delicacy, especially likes the version served by Jack's Chicken and Fish at 1177 Great Northern Rd., followed by Chummy's Grill and Rankin Arena canteen poutine.

Olar started a Poutine Feast Sault Ste. Marie Facebook page at 4:35 p.m. on August 29.

In a little more than 24 hours the page had attracted 2,900 likes.

That was enough to convince Doucet to add Sault Ste. Marie to the 2019 15-city tour.

Poutine Feasts have about 20 touring vendors that choose which events each will attend.

Local eateries are also invited to participate.

At last week's historic sites board meeting, some members joked about that, quipping that there's only one way to make proper poutine, and only one proper variety of cheese, so how can you make a festival out of poutine?

Doucet argues there are oodles of delicious variant poutines, including gluten-free, vegan, holiday (turkey and stuffing), lobster, bacon jam, Halifax donair, brisket and double-bacon cheese.

In other news, members of the historic sites board were told last week that 2020 will be the 100th anniversary of the official formation of the Group of Seven.

The following year, 2021, will be the 350th anniversary of a visit by the French officer Daumont de St. Lusson, who erected a large wooden cross at Sault Ste. Marie and claimed "all the country bounded by the seas of the north, the west and the south" in the name of Louis XIV, King of France.


David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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