What started out as a grassroots poutine-loving restaurant tour back in 2010 has now grown into a notable, annual initiative. Poutine With Purpose is gearing up to return from April 23-May 1 for its eleventh year.
Since bringing on a charitable partner in 2013, the poutine-centric movement has helped to raise thousands of dollars for food security charity Mealshare. This year, founder Karen Richards is setting her sights on a record-breaking year, hoping to have more Canadian eateries involved than ever before after having to press pause last spring due to the pandemic.
"We weren't able to run the event in 2020 since the pandemic had just hit and so much felt unknown," explains the campaign's founder Karen Richards. "I'm happy we're back this year. I really want to support our friends in the restaurant industry as much as Mealshare. I am hoping this year's event will give everyone something to look forward to."
Poutine With Purpose still has the call out for Canadian restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and food trucks to join their 2021 campaign. The baseline requirement for each participating restaurant is that they are willing to have a feature poutine on their menu (from April 23-May 1) and are willing to donate at least $1 from each poutine sold to Mealshare.
Richards is the first to admit that the poutine creations from the different participating businesses–that run the gamut from food trucks and pubs to higher end, contemporary eateries–can often be far from traditional, but that is half of the fun. Calgary's Gorilla Whale, Ship and Anchor, Paddy's Barbecue & Brewery and Yellow Door Bistro as well as Victoria's Swans Pub and Vancouver's Colony bar chain are just a few of the many confirmed to take part in Poutine With Purpose 2021.
With a dedicated following in its home base of Calgary and growing fans in Vancouver and Victoria, Richards says she is also excited to have Bistro Vie–a Hamilton eatery–confirmed for lineup for 2021 as well.
"Hamilton has a great [and underrated] food scene as well as a Mealshare presence, so it will help the local restaurant economy while also helping youth in need in the area," she says.