Poutine: the National Dish of Canada?

On Wednesday, April 21st, members of the Leacock Club and assorted VIP guests attended the 11th Annual Leacock Debate, which took place at the great Hall in Hart House at U of T.

The Leacock Club was established in 1992 in order to give philanthropic Torontonians a way to contribute to civil society. The two main objectives of the Leacock Club are to celebrate wit and humour, and to raise funds for its associated charitable public foundation–the Stephen Leacock Foundation for Children. www.leacockfoundation.org

This unique evening of wit and humour has earned a reputation as one of Toronto’s hottest tickets. This year a motion was put forth for debate: “Poutine Should be Declared the National Dish of Canada”. This was of particular interest to journalist and food writer Calvin Trillin who contemplated this same question in a recent issue of The New Yorker magazine.

Trillin, who acted as a moderator of this year’s event, describes poutine as “beer sponge”, studying how this quirky rural Quebecois dish has now crept out of La Belle Province and into our national identity.

Arguing for the resolution was Carol Off, Journalist and Co-Host of CBC’s “As it Happens” and William C. McDowell, Partner, Lenczner Slaght. Arguing against was fiction author Andrew Pyper and Bob Ramsey, President, Ramsay Inc.

The wit was fast and furious. The arguments solid. By applause and a show of hands–the civilized Canadian way–the decision was final.

“Poutine Should not be Declared the National Dish of Canada.”

Thank heaven for small mercies.

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