Skip to main content

Drummondville: This city, northeast of Montreal, was founded as a home for British soldiers during the war of 1812. Drummondville has struggled hard to shed its stubborn, low-brow image. The current mayor was elected under the banner: "Let's change the image of Drummondville."

Population: 67,392

The legend: In 1964, Jean-Paul Roy ran a restaurant called Le Roy Jucep, a drive-in joint that served the best burgers and fries in town. He was 23 years old when three of his regulars started adding cheese curds to their patate-sauce - fries and gravy. Soon, other customers began to imitate them, so Mr. Roy added the dish to the menu.

The name: Mr. Roy reasoned fromage-patate-sauce - cheese, fries and gravy - was too long to list on the menu. They merged the French word for "pudding" with the name of the restaurant's chef, "Ti-Pout." The result: Poutine.

The legacy: Mr. Roy died in 2007, but Le Roy Jucep remains one of the most popular restaurants in town, serving 600 customers a day.

The diner lists 19 different kinds of poutine on its menu, ranging from classic to the special-spiced "Cajun" to "Oktoberfest" featuring German sausage.

A framed certificate issued by the Canadian Intellectual Property Council hangs on the wall, crediting Mr. Roy as the official inventor of poutine. Last year, Drummondville celebrated its inaugural Festival of Poutine - a two-day celebration of music and curd.

Quote: "We have the best poutine on the planet. And we were the first. It doesn't matter what anybody else says, we own it." - Jessica Deshaies, 21, Le Roy Jucep's weekend manager

Warwick: Quebeckers from across the province flock to this small town, northeast of Montreal, to buy cheese produced by local farmers and eat poutine. It was named after a city of the same name in England.

Population: 4,874

The legend: The year was 1957. Fernand Lachance and his wife owned a restaurant called Le Lutin Qui Rit (The Laughing Elf) on Warwick's main street. One day, a customer asked Mr. Lachance to mix fries and cheese curds in a wax paper bag.

The name: Mr. Lachance agreed to his customer's request, but he warned the result would be a maudite poutine - slang for a damn mess. Mr. Lachance would later add homemade gravy to the dish, producing poutine as it is known today.

The legacy: Mr. Lachance died in 2004 at the age of 86. He apparently ate poutine at least once a week, right up until his death. His restaurant is long gone, but the five other eateries in town proudly feature his signature dish.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lachance's family claim a 1957 menu from the family's restaurant, which lists poutine costing 35 cents a plate, is proof of its Warwick origins. It also held a "Poutine Festival" in 1993, long before Drummondville. The celebration has since morphed into the annual Warwick cheese festival, the largest festival of its kind in the country.

Quote: "I asked the Lord to set an extra place for him at the table, and I asked the Lord whether he had ever heard of poutine up in heaven, that here on Earth it had become an international dish." - Jeannine Vaudreuil, a family friend, eulogizing Mr. Lachance at his funeral in 2004



Globe and Mail journalists will follow the Olympic Torch Relay every step of the way, painting a compelling portrait of Canada as they go.

DAYS 38, 39 & 40