4 Canadian guys look for the best roadside french fries along the Trans-Canada highway
YouTube mini-series celebrates the Canadian highway and the people who serve up fries along the way
If you're a Canadian, you've probably logged a few kilometres along the Trans-Canada highway.
Chances are you've probably stopped at a few chip stands along the way too.
Four friends from Toronto have taken the Canadian experience one step further: They're driving across the country, taste-testing every roadside french fry along the way.
The 'Trans-Canada Fryway' episodes are currently being released online, and it's hard not to recognize a distinct, retro-vibe found in a 1970s National Film Board video.
Fryway Canadiana 'needs to be documented'
Paul Parolin, one of the project's creators, says the group was inspired to make the videos as a way to celebrate the unique Canadian experience of driving the Trans-Canada highway.
"It is amazing that there is a highway that literally connects the whole country together. And we thought it didn't get the appreciation it deserves," Parolin told CBC News.
But Parolin and his friends knew the project needed to appeal to the masses.
The answer? French fries.
"These awesome chip trucks [are] peppered all the way across this highway, serving up fries to all these hungry Canadians," he said.
So last August, the four friends took a 1974 Airstream trailer on the road, driving the entire portion of the Trans-Canada highway from the Quebec border to Kenora in northwestern Ontario.
54 chip stands in three weeks
The friends visited 54 chip stands during the three week period, Parolin said.
Soon the plan to eat at five chip stands a day became a difficult task.
"We kind of learned that the hard way out [of] the gate. We got pretty sick of fries in the first week," he said.
Veggies for nutrition, water for hydration
To keep their health up after consuming copious amounts of potato, oil, and salt, the group developed a system.
"We always had veggies in the truck ... and a lot of water to stay hydrated," Parolin said, adding they tried to space out fry-eating throughout the day.
"We were only splitting a small. Even that was enough to make you go a little crazy," he said.
Fries rated on 5 different factors
So did they find the best fries on their journey?
"We've created a system called the 'five-fryway fork' rating system," Parolin explained.
The factors, he said, include ambience, fry quality, gravy quality, service, and overall value.
"To date, in Ontario, only two have gotten a perfect 5 out of 5," he said, pointing to the Ye Olde Chip Truck in Kenora, Ont. and Wes' Chips in Arnprior, Ont.
Fry people are 'salt-of-the earth'
Parolin said while the french fries were just the hook, the project is more about celebrating our huge country and the people in it.
"The real purpose of our adventure was to do what we believe should be a rite of passage for a lot of Canadians, which is just drive the highway and see all the cool places in between, and all the salt-of-the-earth people. Once we kind of got that added into our system, just pigging out on fries wasn't that hard anymore."
Hoping to travel entire country
After the three-week trip through Ontario last summer, the four friends are hoping to raise enough funds to travel the entire TransCanada this 'fry season' in honour of Canada's 150th birthday.
"It's sort of a passion project at the moment," Parolin said.
Listen to Parolin's interview with CBC northern Ontario's afternoon show Up North here.