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Food trucks rally for looser regulations at City Hall

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / April 2, 2014

toronto food trucksWhile city council debated the fate of Toronto's food trucks Wednesday, those food truck owners set up shop outside city hall, attempting to win some hearts and minds with fish tacos and brisket sandwiches.

Five favourite Toronto trucks - Food Dudes, Caplansky's, Hogtown Smoke, Randy's Roti, and Gourmet Gringos - set up camp in Nathan Phillips Square over the lunch hour. (Choco Churros cancelled their planned appearance due to generator issues.)

The rally, organized by a newly-minted coalition of 26 local food trucks, was an effort to show city councillors set to vote on new food truck rules that there's an appetite for an increased food truck presence on Toronto's streets.

The regulations, which were approved by the city's licensing committee last month, are looser compared to previous guidelines: They'd let food trucks set up in street parking spots or in parking lots, and would allow them to sell their wares from the same curbside spot for up to five hours. That is, unless they don't run afoul of the plan's most contentious rule: They wouldn't be allowed to park within 50 metres of an existing restaurant.

Food truck owners, frustrated by years of restrictions and red tape, have come out swinging against many of the regulations.

"We're trying to show city council how much Toronto wants food trucks to be able to go where we need to go, as opposed to the way the laws are now," says Scott Fraser, whose barbecue-focused Hogtown Smoke truck boasted some of the afternoon's longest lines.

"Everybody'll realize two years from now that we don't affect business - we help business," said Fraser, who also owns a brick-and-mortar Hogtown Smoke location in the Beaches.

"If you want to come and put a really popular food truck across the street from my restaurant, come on down. You're just going to bring more people in front of my restaurant. They may not eat there today, but they'll come tomorrow."

Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, who facilitated the event, said that while she felt the staff recommendations were a positive step, they were "still too restrictive.

"Have a little faith in your foodie entrepreneurs, and get them out there, the way they are in any multi-cultural, world-class city."

Discussion

10 Comments

CW / April 2, 2014 at 02:36 pm
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They should focus on loosening restrictions on all business, not just food trucks. Why can't I sell socks or raw meat out the back of my van?
hogtown butter / April 2, 2014 at 03:09 pm
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did you catch the mayor butting in line during lunch with his swarm of goonies and media flys.

hope there was some food left after the hog had his feeding time.
Gail / April 2, 2014 at 04:14 pm
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If were regulating food trucks can we regulate that cabs must stay 50 feet away from TTC stops as well.

Thanks.
W. K. Lis / April 2, 2014 at 04:54 pm
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According to this map http://www.torontolife.com/daily-dish/food-news/2014/04/01/map-food-trucks-banned-new-rules/ that leaves the food trucks being almost allowed to park on the Gardiner or Don Valley only. What a concept.
Marc replying to a comment from Gail / April 2, 2014 at 08:18 pm
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Lol that's the stupidest comparison ever.
carlo / April 2, 2014 at 09:22 pm
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this is not fair to restaurant owners we pay taxes ,high rent and hydro now tell what these guys going to pay how would you feel if one of these guys were to open shop right at front of you'r restaurant ! this is a shitty idea
Shelly R / April 2, 2014 at 09:59 pm
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Once again Vancouver is more progressive than us
They have delicious food there and it is everywhere
Ron Swanson / April 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm
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This is the simplest issue to resolve. City council should be ashamed for wasting so much time on this. Let them operate, it works everywhere around the world, if restos don't like it then they should up their game. Welcome to Ron Swanson's Toronto. It's called free market capitalism.
Ron Swanson replying to a comment from carlo / April 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm
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welcome to capitalism.
Spike replying to a comment from CW / April 2, 2014 at 11:49 pm
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'Why can't I sell socks or raw meat out the back of my van?'

Because it's not healthy to do so, you stupid idiot.

And Carlo's right-why are we even considering loosening the rules to have more food trucks in Toronto when it's a different city from the ones that do have them? They were needed in American cities for a good reason; we don't really need them here since our downtown core's quite robust. Why can't these guys and gals serve food from trucks in places where they are needed, like factories, parks, and construction sites?

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