community ovens toronto

The top 10 outdoor ovens in Toronto

Outdoor ovens are more common than you might think in Toronto. They're used on a weekly basis, during various festivals and community events, or those who wish to reserve them can get an outdoor oven permit from the city.

Regent Park just got a spiffy new public oven, and it got us thinking about similar locales in the city where these are situated. Most of the ovens are open to the public on a DIY basis, though the Evergreen Brick Works is typically operated by staff. Here are my picks for the top outdoor ovens in Toronto.

Regent Park
The Regent Park Community Food Centre is turning the lively, community-oriented neighbourhood of Regent Park into a true park. It brings families together over co-created meals, as the name would imply, and also includes a greenhouse and bake oven open to community use. The space is graced with a community garden, with classes on food skills and a community advocacy program.

Dufferin Grove
Dufferin Grove has two wood-fired bake ovens that are often used during festivals and regular community events. On Sunday nights during warm weather, neighbours come together for a DIY pizza night. Dough, sauce, cheese and fresh herbs are provided. To partake, it costs just $2.50.

Christie Pits
Christie Pits used to host community pizza nights as well, but now the oven is used only sporadically for events. Individual Torontonians can use the oven too, though, by getting a permit from the city.

Evergreen Brick Works
Wednesday night in Chimney Court, Pizzeria Libretto does a pizza night where it serves up a slice of pizza and salad for $3. There are also hikes, flea markets and craft fairs and any sort of extended cutesy affair you could imagine.

Alexandra Park
The oven at Alexandra Park sees a lot of action. In the summer months, community groups use it to bake bread, muffins and pizza, and to roast vegetables.

Edithvale Park
This North York park includes a fully appointed kitchen and large prep area alongside its oven, making it ideal for community groups to host elaborate dinners. There's a play area nearby to keep children busy, too.

Lawrence Heights
Toronto Community Housing staff built the Lawrence Heights oven in 2009. To counteract gun violence that had been going on in the area, residents decided to come together and strengthen their community. Like some of the other public ovens in the city, residents will sometimes gather for pizza nights.

Riverdale Park
Staff bake pizza in the Riverdale Park oven for weekly farmer's markets. They also conduct cooking classes and demonstrations at their bake oven, and if you're in the mood, there are other sessions available, like candle making and quilting.

Thorncliffe Park (R.V. Burgess Park)
People in the community use R.V. Burgess Park's outdoor tandoor oven during summer bazaars and markets. Bragging rights are in order, as this is North America's first outdoor tandoor oven. (It took two years to convince the city to install it). Residents will sometimes gather here to make roti or naan, and there's play space alongside it for children.

Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre
This oven is run by The Stop. Residents use it to bake bread and pizza during the summer and fall. There are regular free DIY pizza days throughout the summer, with local ingredients provided.

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