community fridge toronto

A community fridge in Toronto is being removed due to an outdated bylaw

An obscure bylaw is responsible for the attempted removal of a fridge being used to provide free, accessible food to the community.

In the summer, Ten Restaurant started up an initiative to host fridges filled with free food outside their restaurant. The program eventually expanded to include fridges in other communities, including one outside Black Diamond Vintage in Parkdale.

This is the fridge which is being removed, according to the community group posting about it on an Instagram page dedicated to the project.

According to the post, City bylaw officers ordered the landlord to remove the fridge within 24 hours, citing a bylaw intended for unused appliances, which are supposed to have their doors removed.

The post goes on to explain that the bylaw is apparently for outdated fridges which cannot be opened from the inside and could potentially trap children, but appliances which are in use are supposed to be exempt.

"We pleaded our case on how the fridge is not abandoned, the frequency of the community members and volunteers constantly visiting the fridge, and how many folks have become reliant on its existence," the caption reads. 

"We even tried to come to a fair solution, offering to place a smaller fridge instead but we've essentially hit 'the red tape' and the city will not budge."

They thank Black Diamond Vintage for hosting up until now, but are currently on the hunt for a new home for the a community fridge in the Parkdale neighbourhood.

All a new host needs is a private spot like a patio, enclave or parking spot that's accessible to the community, and to provide power to the fridge. Potential hosts should get in touch via email. 

"As far as we know the other fridges aren't in peril. The assumption was that there was a neighbourhood complaint about the Parkdale one specifically that lead to the bylaw officer's notice. The city failed to offer a reasonable solution or find a way this could be rectified," Jalil Bokhari, who helped start the project, told blogTO.

"The community has already come together in support and have been frequently donating to the other locations since the news of the Parkdale one being shut down." 

Other fridges are located at 1132 College St., 348 Pape Ave. and 782 Adelaide St. W. and are accessible 24/7 to leave or take clean, good quality foods free of excess packaging stored in an organized manner.

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