Chip stands are a ubiquitous part of Canada; they dot the Ontario landscape and are at once everywhere, but often in the middle of nowhere. Frequently looked over by the average Canadian, they are more often than not taken for granted. Foodies will scoff, but they are a part of Canadian culinary history; serving up our national dish, poutine in varying degrees of quality and other fried delicacies such as the all-important french fry, the pogo, the hamburger, the sausage in a bun, etc.
The chip stand differentiates us from our American neighbours. It is not a food truck. It is not a diner. The very nature of the chip stand is defined by it being a combination of both. Most chip stands began as a vehicle of some sort that morphed into a semi-permanent, retrofitted, DIYed shack. They are not pretty, nor do they pretend to be. They are not pristine eateries; you will be eating your food on the side of the road.
There is no pretense. The chip stand is where down-to-earth, real Canadians go to indulge. It’s the quintessential Canadian road trip food.
Every Chip Stand is a project by illustrator couple Chantal Bennett and Joel Kimmel to illustrate every chip stand in Ontario and Canada thus chronicling the visual history of these structures that are slowly being replaced by professional food trailers and trucks. We hope you enjoy our series and stop at a local chip stand next time you are on the road.
How we choose our chip stands: There are SO many chip stands, chip trucks, chip wagons, casse-croûtes, etc. across Canada that it would take us forever to illustrate every single one. In the last two seasons of the project, we have been prioritizing visually-interesting chip stands; meaning the more stuff around the chip stand, the better. In the past five years or so, we have noticed that the older, more ramshackle chip stands are being replaced by shiny new (boring) food trailers. This does not a good illustration make, which is why you will see us prioritizing older chip stands, or ones that have made an effort to be visually-interesting (yes that includes built-up structures around it that some people find visually-offensive, ha). We welcome suggestions for new chip stands to draw, so please send us your recommendations for fun, visually-interesting chip stands to include in the project.
Please remember to credit @everychipstand when sharing our art!