Trans-Canada Fryway: The search for Canada's best chip trucks
Four friends from Ontario are setting out on a tour of the Trans-Canada Highway one fry stand at a time.
The group, travelling under the name the Trans-Canada Fryway, consists of Patrick Lo, Chris Solomon, Zachary Muir-Vavrina and Paul Parolin who met each other while studying at OCAD University in Toronto.
They had already planned to do a road trip across Canada, travelling the Trans-Canada Highway, when they decided to add a fry-stand tour along the way after their successful trip through Ontario.
“We all had fond memories of just going up north and seeing all the chip stands along the Trans-Canada,” said Parolin, a creative director at an advertising agency.
The group set out in the summer of 2016 to hit as many fry stands in Ontario as they could, driving from the Quebec border up to Kenora in northwestern Ontario. They managed to visit 54 fry stands in just three weeks.
At each fry stand, the group would share a small plate of fries with gravy before debating the pros and cons. They even came up with their own review system, the Fryway Fork rating system, consisting of five aspects: the fries, the gravy, the ambience, the value and the service.
According to Solomon, a marketing co-ordinator and antiques dealer, there wasn’t one stand in particular that stood out, but two that passed their rating system with flying colours: Wes’ Chips in Arnprior, Ont. and Ye Old Chip Truck in Kenora, Ont.
“The surprising thing with them: none of them had gravy,” said Solomon. “They had confidence in their product and felt like their fries could stand out on their own.”
Their journey is captured in retro-themed videos that are uploaded to YouTube, shot by Lo, a filmmaker. According to Lo, they’re inspired by the feel of the Canadian Heritage moment commercials and their timeless effect.
“None of us are hosts and we wanted to focus on the stars of the show which is the fries, the gravy and the people we meet along the way,” said Lo.
The group felt that for a highway that spans the entire country, from mile zero in St. John’s, N.L. to mile zero in Victoria, B.C., the Trans-Canada Highway doesn’t get the same amount of attention as Route 66 does in the United States. According to Parolin, the idea served as both a way to celebrate Canada as well as try a lot of fries.
“We wanted to give it the attention and credit that it deserves,” said Parolin. “We thought one way we could do that was shine a light on this awesome fries and gravy thing.”