Poutine Festival Coming to Cobourg

Not too long ago, Labour Day weekend was when the Shelter Valley Folk Festival happened but with its shutdown, there is no major event scheduled for that weekend.  So it was an obvious time to stage a Poutine Feast.  At the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Council approved an application by Poutine Feast Ontario Inc. to hold their event in Victoria Park on that weekend.  It will involve ten to fifteen vendors with their food-trucks “each of them offering their own version of the iconic dish”.  Dessert trucks, a kid’s zone and entertainment will also be a part of the offerings.  It’s not licensed and will be free to enter – that presumably means no fence.  It will run from Thursday, 29 August to Sunday, 1 September, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Poutine Feast
Poutine Feast

The report to Council by Community Events Coordinator Jackie Chapman Davis said that “the Community Events Committee has reviewed the application and identified no issues with the event. There are no other event conflicts over Labour Day weekend. A site visit will be scheduled with Town staff and event organizers once approval has been given.” Further that “the festival is financially supported in whole by Poutine Feast Ontario Inc. Staff time will be allocated for a site visit and picnic table drop off and pick up which will be charged back to the event.”

Seemingly no cost to the Town but another reason for visitors to come to Cobourg.  However, Councillor Emily Chorley was not convinced that the event would be a benefit to the Town and was the sole vote against approval.  John Henderson thought it was worth a try and Nicole spoke in support.


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1 February 2019 8:27 pm

Reading the posts, in my opinion, no ones understands Cobourg OR what Cobourg represents. Seems to be loose and ill-informed comments.

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Rationale
5 February 2019 2:35 am

All the more reason to read, comment and discuss, I would think.

manfred s
Reply to  Jim Thomas
5 February 2019 11:47 am

NICE, Jim!

Candace Cox
31 January 2019 7:28 pm

Hi. Juts to let everyone know that the second annual Yarns from the Mill Festival has moved to that weekend to fill the gap left by losing SVFF. It will be happening in Castleton the Saturday and Sunday of the Labour Day weekend (Aug 31; Sept. 1). We define “local” as 100 km radius from Castleton”, and we strive to ensure that all our vendors, artists and musicians are local, from across Northumberland and nearby counties! See @yarnsfromthemill @themillatpipercreek http://www.themillatpipercreek.ca It shouldn’t be a conflict, as people can’t eat poutine all day, and our Festival is about interactive family fun in a beautiful heritage setting.

Wally Keeler
31 January 2019 6:36 pm

I like the idea of a poutine fest insofar as it would be popular and compelling for the post-Ribfest crowd. Bulk up for the coming long winter.

I can’t see such an event occupying the entire park. I’d like to see the area of Victoria Park between Albert and King set up for a Vegan Fest or VegFest on the same weekend. The closest host for such an event is Kingston. https://www.kingstonvegfest.ca/

Two parts of the park with competing menus. It’ll be a taste bud battle; yumyum awards. It would be an opportunity for vegans to sell their food products among mature trees and a lush lawn. Bring a blanket, a book of verse, listen to appropoetic music, and definitely try vegan burgers, or any other cooked items on sale. Vegan doesn’t have to be bland; quite the opposite, so this would be an opportunity for those who practice vegan cooking to make compellingly tasty dishes.

Down by the beach, gaudy poutine trucks, vats and vats of cheese curds, fat fries, seagulls, skinny fries, seagulls, lattice fries, seagulls, curly fries, seagulls, vats and vats of gravy as lingeringly rich as syrup dripping down a long string of cheese curd. (There should be several defibs on site.) American country rock blasts over the crowd as their arteries thicken.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
31 January 2019 7:14 pm

Are you insane?

Reply to  King
1 February 2019 6:27 am

Great idea Wally! Vegan food is often very good and can be made comparable to non-vegan food but people don’t think it will be good and don’t bother trying it. It’s like those Vegan burgers at A&W, meat eaters who have them say they are just as good if not better than beef, so why eat an animal if you don’t have to? Anyways that’s a tangent. Some kind of Vegfest or Plant Based Palooza is a great idea!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Durka
1 February 2019 9:30 am

I have enjoyed the taste of meat all my life. I’ve cut down on its consumption. I know I am certain to enjoy one of the poutine dishes available. Months have passed since I enjoyed one, so . . . it is an indulgence.

I would also love to enjoy the opportunity of eating from an assortment of vegan dishes. I’d like to educate myself via taste; hold the condiments of “It’s good for the planet”, “It’s good for you” and other valid virtues. Signal taste instead of virtue. Convert me with taste, the textures of food, smooth, dissolve, melt, crumble, interact inside the mouth, spicy, sweet, savoury, and to appeal to the retirement community, baking that takes into account the sweet desires of diabetics. Roast corn on the cob is vegan — jazz it with spice, condiments. Rich chili in a deep dish can be vegan. BYOB – bring your own blanket; bring your own bowl.

Reply to  Durka
1 February 2019 1:48 pm

I loved vegan chili so I would definitely be down for trying new vegan foods. 🙂
That’s a fabulous idea!

Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 February 2019 10:40 am

Never thought I would agree with you on anything, Wally, but a vegan fest sounds a great idea and very much in line with the new Canada Food Guide.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
1 February 2019 11:02 pm

WK – Love it. A ‘Foodie-Off’ of sorts. Can’t argue the inclusivity component of this plan.

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 February 2019 2:44 am

A book of verses underneath the bough,
A jug of wine, a veggie-burger and thou…

If it finally makes use of that neglected and abandoned area of Victoria Park, that would suit me just fine. Such a waste of valuable land, otherwise.

manfred s
Reply to  Jim Thomas
5 February 2019 11:37 am

space, space… beautiful space!
Our lives are so jammed full of things to do, people to see, places to go, we are victims of congestion, among other things. Refuge from congestion, a place to just breathe, to be, that needs space and THAT’s what makes it truly valuable. Do you think of your back yard, if you’re lucky to have one, as a waste of valuable space? You could build something more there. Park ‘space’ is hardly a waste of ‘valuable land’. Think Central Park, Stanley Park, Jackson Park, Rotary Park, and on and on. All that ‘valuable land’ wasted? Not in my idea of the world!

Jim Thomas
Reply to  manfred s
6 February 2019 5:26 pm

It’s a waste if no one goes there. I have no objection to it being park land, but it needs something to get people to go there and use it.

31 January 2019 5:19 pm

Reading below the comments seem varied. Quite a number seem to want local participation. From my reading (JD above) there is no suggestion that the town had signed a non-compete article with the Poutine Feast of Ontario Inc (PFO) Soooo could/would not the DBIA sus out its ‘poutine’ supplying membership; set up a number of stands/kiosks in Vic Park; and informally compete their quality of product with that produced by the PFO? Are there any Cobourg purveyors of poutine that are members of PFO?

31 January 2019 5:14 pm

This conversation could go on and on but I feel a Poutine Feast is dark ages stuff,and totally unimaginative. If we have a weekend open, woukdn’t it be more interesting next year for the Town to take ownership and plan a music festival, regatta or giant community sale.
Get the whole town involved. Just sayin’!

Walter L. Luedtke
31 January 2019 12:35 pm

Last year’s Windsor Poutine Feast.
Interesting to see how many folks feel, that just because they don’t enjoy something, nobody else should.
And btw this being Ontario and all, you can’t have a beer with your poutine, but can you smoke a you-know-what?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
31 January 2019 2:07 pm

and then there is Sudbury

Lots of communities have them. It’s enjoyable fun. It’s a Canadian salad of potato, cheese curd and gravy, enhanced by other items.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
31 January 2019 9:41 pm

You say tomato, I say tomato.
Poutine Feast ~ Poutine Fest. Two different birds.
You’ve got the wrong group in Sudbury.
The “Feast” wants to come to Cobourg.

31 January 2019 10:44 am

So, along with rib fest, that will be two major events featuring unhealthy food. Call me a stick in the mud too, but I would much prefer some sort of salad fest AND an opportunity for local vendors.

Reply to  Gailr97
31 January 2019 11:07 am

Gailr97 – everyone knows, you don’t win friends with salad! 🙂 https://youtu.be/c6Kj17oVHAk

That sounds like the least amount of fun one could possible have at a “fest ” save an except maybe Liver Fest. I think locally we have an Apple Fest, Strawberry Days (Burnham Market)… pretty healthy.

All things in moderation Gail…just don’t go for a second helping.

manfred s
Reply to  Gailr97
31 January 2019 11:29 am

hey Gail, if you want a salad to eat out, go pick one up at a local eatery and join in the fun. That would directly support local business too! Now, bring on an ice cream festival!

Reply to  manfred s
1 February 2019 10:52 am

Better yet, make your own salad at home and bring that. Much the same way most of our beach visitors do.

Reply to  Gailr97
31 January 2019 7:16 pm

Here’s a great thought….don’t go. Lol

John Hill
31 January 2019 10:25 am

The County of Northumberland has financed a campaign urging us to “buy local”. Yet the first opportunity that arises to undermine local businesses, we see the majority of council voting in favour of bread and circuses instead of heading a policy initiative. The poutine fest is like a group of seagulls swooping into town grabbing local funds and departing. Where’s the benefit to local businesses? Where’s the benefit to town coffers? If we agree with the policy of buying locally, surely this initiative required more intense scrutiny than an advisory committee conducted.

manfred s
Reply to  John Hill
31 January 2019 11:22 am

so how is this different from the vendors that come to town for other events such as Waterfront Festival, Sidewalk Sale, Busker Festival, Harvest Festival, Highland Games, Canada Day celebrations, Rib Fest and to some extent the Farmers Market? There is little in the way of revenue that directly funds it’s way into town coffers apart from perhaps some incidental fees or licenses. These events are not town events, they are driven by organizations to raise funds and boost local consumer traffic to local businesses who, in the end, benefit from the short-lived flurry of activity. Buy Locally is a different kettle of fish that targets day to day buying habits. Both strategies are helpful to our local economy in one way or another. It’s up to local business to capitalize on the activity and traffic generated by these specialized events rather than poo poo them as unfair competition for the local consumer dollars and many actually find ways to do just that. One thing that could help though is the implementation of a more rigorous licensing policy that weeds out fly-by-nighters that mimic your seagull analogy.

Reply to  manfred s
31 January 2019 10:03 pm

These events are not town events, they are driven by organizations to raise funds

Aren’t most (all?) of the festivals and weekends you describe above sponsored by Lions, Rotary, DBIA and other such groups who use the profits to invest in our town?
Where do the funds go that would be raised by The Poutine Feast? I didn’t read where the PFO was going to build a park, sponsor some sports teams, build a playground, etc.?
Unless I missed something, that is the difference.

manfred s
Reply to  Frenchy
31 January 2019 10:34 pm

already said there’s little immediate benefit to the “town” proper, Frenchy. The idea appears to be a traffic builder for local businesses, not a money-maker for the town. Any added non-local ‘consumer traffic’ is a bonus and always has the potential to make contact with new visitors who might learn about other events run by the organizations that you mention. I think it’s called “promoting your assets” and “advertising”, something any savvy fund-raising organization or business is wont to do. The benefits you mention come when these visitors return for other events once they’ve discovered our little gem. There doesn’t have to be a “difference” or an ‘either-or scenario’ here, Frenchy.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  manfred s
1 February 2019 8:55 am

The trash bins that are put on the beach lend themselves for promoting town events. The orgs could pop in $30 each for a wrap on a bin, a wrap advertising their events, on the beach where thousands of eyes can see them.

Reply to  manfred s
1 February 2019 9:28 am

You asked how this event is different from others.
I told you.

31 January 2019 9:26 am

I would like to see Jackie Chapman Davis request that the Poutine Feast Ontario contract include a designated number of vendors be Cobourg businesses. Say three. That they be given a deadline to apply first before outside vendors can fill those spots. If a specific provision is not made in the contract i doubt Cobourg businesses will have an opportunity to participate.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Dragonfly
31 January 2019 9:35 am

“We Are a Travelling Festival that specializes in bring a twist to the iconic Canadian Dish Poutine.
​We are comprised of many chip truck owners, from all across Canada. When we come to your town, we also look for local Trucks that may want to join us to share their wonderful dishes.”
Poutine Feast Website.
But then you can never trust these foreigners.

31 January 2019 8:51 am

How fun! And so what if poutine isn’t high on your health food list. Rob is right—perhaps our local businesses can find a way to participate. What, if anything, is any other event happening over Labour Day?

Walter L. Luedtke
31 January 2019 7:52 am

Starting to wonder whether Ms. Chorley – the choice of you-know-whom – is in favour of anything besides nit picking Council procedures.

Fact Checker
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
31 January 2019 2:24 pm

Councillor Chorley: the choice of 3,679 Cobourg voters
As for nit picking Council procedures, it seems that the rest of Council agreed with her and approved her amendments.
Do you also object to Councillor Darling pointing out errors in Council’s documentation, such as spelling mistakes and incorrect acronyms?

Reply to  Fact Checker
31 January 2019 2:43 pm

Doesn’t look like she’s going to be a member of the good ol’ boys rubber stamp club.

30 January 2019 2:14 pm

Seems like a vale disguise in order for a bunch of commercial enterprises to swoop into a town, occupy free space, pay no business taxes, take revenue away from local bushesses during a prime summer weekend. Wonder why a number number of local restaurants are up for sale.

Reply to  Kyle
30 January 2019 3:00 pm

Kyle, perhaps local businesses should participate in an effort generate more interest in their products and services. What shouldn’t El Camino create a Mexican themed poutine? If I’m a small local business I would be looking for opportunities to partner with the Poutine Feast Ontario folks – become the Poutine Fest Official Supplier of (insert something here)…potatoes, forks, napkins, pop, cheese, gravy, ice, music, ice cream, Tums, etc…

Beyond me why they aren’t licensing the event…Maybe the BrownBagCanada group will do something…or maybe the Beach Bar will be back!

Jason – my son had a similar reaction…he said “Finally!”

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Kyle
5 February 2019 2:58 am

That sounds to me like a perfect description of Ribfest.

Reply to  Jim Thomas
5 February 2019 11:18 am

Except that RibFest is one of the big fund raisers for the Rotary Club.

This event is a fundraiser to help the Rotary Club of Cobourg support worthy causes at home and abroad. A few of the contributions we have made in the past include:
• $800,000 commitment to the Northumberland Hills Hospital
• $300,000 commitment to the Cobourg Community Centre
• Ongoing development of Cobourg Heritage harbour
• Literacy projects at home and abroad
• Clean water projects
• Polio eradication

Jason Beatty
30 January 2019 2:07 pm

Why not give them a chance. I just sent this link to my teenage daughter and her reply was “THAT’S INCREDIBLE” Anything that gets that type of reaction from a teen these days must be lit, or hype, or gucci…or whatever the hell those kids say these days… 😉

30 January 2019 1:50 pm

Emily Chorley is really turning into a stick in the mud….perhaps trying to carve out a name for herself as the no non-sense newbie. When she indicated there would be no benefit to the Town, I’m curious how she defines “town” and “benefit.”

Reply to  Rob
31 January 2019 9:35 am

I guess I’m a “stick in the mud” too. Why does this event need to be held in Victoria Park? I hate seeing food trucks in the park on any occasion. Why not have them on pavement? Or on the East Pier in future. Some of us actually enjoy trees and grass. And healthy food.

manfred s
Reply to  Rob
31 January 2019 1:40 pm

well Rob, a stick in the mud has a very important role to play in any organization that purports to represent the populace at large, as does a municipal council. When I hear the goal of a “team” approach to council function I instantly get the heebiejeebies about dealmaking behind the scenes in the ‘interest’ of efficiency and progress. I think that’s where a stick in the mud can stir it up to best effect, minimizing expediency and promoting bare-knuckle debates instead. It forces some honesty into the debates which are sometimes devoid of it. Of course tenacity is key and without it, simply just stirring it up just produces a pointless mess of counterproductive confusion. Let’s not discount the stick in the mud aspect from the getgo, at least not before its impact is seen and felt.
As for individual ‘definitions’, it might take some time to interpret individual councillors’ communication styles, which is key to understanding their positions.

Wally Keeler
30 January 2019 1:27 pm

Dessert trucks, a kid’s zone and entertainment …

Does that mean a bunch of primary coloured inflatable bouncy castles, and other waterpark-like stuff, except on land? It’s all in a designated zone for kids, so much for free range fun.