Still Standing

7 intimidating food challenges from Canadian small towns

Ever wanted to eat a burger the size of your head? We have some places for you.

Ever wanted to eat a burger the size of your head? We have some places for you.

Just a couple of the big foods available in Canada's small towns. (CBC)

Some people want to be memorialized through what they did for society. Others want to be remembered by their contributions to science, medicine, or art. Then there are people who seek a very specific kind of fame — a celebration of their ability to consume outrageous foods. These folks want to be remembered as food challenge champions. And they're the people for whom food challenges were made.

From coast to coast to coast, competitive eaters are in luck — Canadian small towns have food challenges aplenty. Here are some of the most memorable ones.

Challenge: Pound in the Mound
Restaurant: Amell's Gas & Go Diner
Town: Pilot Mound, Man.

It has a lewd name, but somebody's gotta do it. If you finish this one-pound burger nestled in a mound of fries (hence "pound in the mound") in under 20 minutes, you get your photo put up on the diner's wall, along with your finishing time. Jonny Harris tried this one himself but in the end, the massive meal defeated him. When asked if he wanted ice cream for dessert, he said, "No, but I'll have an angioplasty if that's possible."

Challenge: Ginormous Poutine
Restaurant: TallBoys Grill & Pub
Town: St. Claude, Man.

The Ginormous Poutine contains fried, poutine, and cheese curds. But it does not contain hyperbole. This thing is huge. (@TallboysPub/Instagram)

Craving fries, gravy and cheese curds? Why settle for an enormous poutine when you could have a ginormous poutine with a side of small-town glory? This ungodly platter of poutine is free for competitors who finish it in 30 minutes or less. But with a measly 10 per cent completion rate, the odds are stacked against most who dare to attempt it.

Challenge: Sourtoe Cocktail
Restaurant: The Downtown Hotel
Town: Dawson City, Yukon

How did the Sourtoe Cocktail come to be? It all started back during prohibition with an unfortunate case of frostbite. 0:39

Sometimes a good challenge is about quality over quantity. The Sourtoe Cocktail is an infamous drink featuring a wizened human toe floating in a shot of whatever you please. People come from all over to complete the challenge, just to be able to say they've done it. There's only one major rule: your lips must touch the toe, but you're not allowed to swallow it. However, one man took it to the next level and intentionally swallowed the toe in 2013, spurring an outcry and a lifetime ban from the Downtown Hotel.

Challenge: Dali's Food Challenge
Restaurant: Johnny's Sub and Sandwich Cafe
Town: Seaforth, Ont.

You know what they say: everything's bigger in Huron County. (Do they say that? They do now.) (Johnny’s Sub and Sandwich Cafe (@LittleMorkie) / Facebook)

This monstrous challenge involves four pounds of pulled pork and about a pound of cheese, all stuffed inside an egg-fried focaccia bun. The details? You have 30 minutes to finish the meal and you can have as many free beverages as you need to help you. Successful contestants receive $100 and their photo and name on the wall. If they fail, though? They're charged $33 for the massive meal.

Challenge: B44 Challenge
Restaurant: Robbie's Smokehouse & Burger Bar
Town: Kahnawake, Que.

This burger requires a tag team to eat it. (Bobby Dimitriadis / Instagram)

Don't want to go it alone? The B44 ("Burger for Four") Challenge is the perfect way to drag your friends down with you into a waking food nightmare. This enormous burger can be attempted as a three-person or two-person team, or, if you're feeling ambitious, you can still make like Han and go solo. The time limits differ depending on the size of your team: trios gets 45 minutes to finish the burger, duos get an hour, and single challengers get 90 minutes. Winners don't have to pay for their burger, and they can win $100 or more in gift certificates for their trouble. That's what friends are for, right?

Challenge: Mammoth Burger Challenge
Restaurant: Bernie & The Boys Bistro
Town: West Drumheller, Alta.

It IS mammoth. It's not made of mammoth. (Bernie & The Boys Bistro / Facebook)

Love a good race? This challenge may be the one for you. If you break the record time for finishing this giant burger (which features a 1.5-pound patty on an eight-inch bun), the meal is free. Considering the current record is under 15 minutes, don't expect to be able to taste and enjoy your burger too much. But even if you don't set a new record, don't sweat it — you'll still get your name on Bernie's wall of fame. *Note: The name "Mammoth" refers to the size of the burger, not the type of meat it's made from.

Challenge: Wall of Fame Burger
Restaurant: Bridgewater Local Public House
Town: Bridgewater, N.S.

Look at this thing. What can you even say? (Chad Furey / Instagram)

If your goal is moderate Maritime food challenge fame (or shame, depending), look no further. The Bridgewater Local Public House is the home of the Wall of Fame Burger. Weighing in at 2.25 pounds, this colossal six-patty burger is an edible engineering marvel. In case it wasn't clear from the name, yes, you get your name engraved on the pub's Wall of Fame if you finish it. Oh, and we almost forgot to mention — you need to finish the side of fries and coleslaw that come with it, too.

Originally published in August 2017.