In Montreal, there is a "best of " category in the yearly dining reviews just on Poutine.
Usually La Belle Province and Frits Alors are the 2 restaurant chains that win the awards year after year, but McDonald's does place well in the voting.
The McDonald's version uses their standard french fries, nothing different-just adding the cheese curds and gravy.
If the cheese curds are not available, mozzarella is often substituted.
The people in Quebec are so serious about their poutine that:
1. You can buy cheese curds in a gas station convienience store. (Just think, pump 20 bucks of gas, a pack of smokes, a six pack, and ..oh, I'll take a bag of cheese curds as well.)
2. There are chain restaurants in various food courts that offer 15 or 16 different versions, including the tomato sauce version.
3. Because it is considered a provincial "specialty" dish, seemingly native to Canada, it is paired with another native Quebec cuisine, smoked meat...to create, you guessed it..smoked meat poutine, where diced smoked meat, cheese curds, gravy are all poured over French Fries.
4. The supermarkets have packets of Poutine gravy on the shelves next to the packets of sloppy joe mix, taco seasoning, and sweet and sour sauce.
Poutine is now 47 years old.
For its history: http://www.canoe.ca/CNEWSLifeArchive/oct2_poutine.html