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Ask Torontoist: Where Are the Trash Cans?

Ask Torontoist features questions posed by you and answered by our elite team of specially trained investigative experts (also known as our staff). Send your questions to

Reader Ira Kates asks:

Do you guys know why garbage cans were removed all along Front Street?

Photo by Marc Lostracco/Torontoist.

Torontoist answers:

The City of Toronto is currently in a street furniture transition period where the old, steel three-slot trash bins are being replaced by the new “droid” foot pedal designs. Downtown Yonge Street also just went through a short period where there were no trash receptacles on the sidewalks at all.
The reason for the delay in replacing the bins once the old ones have disappeared is that there are different parties involved: though Toronto’s Solid Waste Management is in charge of overseeing the operations, Eucan is responsible for removing their 3,500 steel bins, whereas Astral has their own schedule for replacing those, plus adding 2,450 more to the streets. The process began in March.
Transportation Services tells us that the City will provide temporary bins where needed, and we’ve confirmed this: after contacting them about a one-kilometre stretch of Gerrard Street being devoid of any receptacles whatsoever—an area which envelops the heavy commercial activity of Chinatown East—temporary blue trash bins showed up within two days.


  • http://undefined CaligulaJones

    Gets worse: up near Yonge and Finch, where they are “renovating” a church (i.e., condos), they’ve completed fenced in the brand new garbage can AND bench. Sorry, I only have video and haven’t had time to, er, dump it.

  • http://undefined Matthew

    Yeah, I think I carried dog poop from Jarvis and Wellesley to Yonge and Maitland without finding a garbage receptecle a few weeks back. Real classy city we’ve got here. G20 is going to be awesome for those of you that are here for it. Thankfully I’ll be out of town.

  • http://undefined Christopher

    There isn’t a single trash can from Avenue/Davenport east to Davenport Yonge or south of Davenport/Bay to Bay/Bloor.
    That’s pretty disgusting, and it was like this prior to the City’s current excuse

  • http://undefined Matthew

    And by the way, Transportation Services putting out temporary bins after a request from Torontoist does not absolve the city from responsibility for this ongoing debacle. The city should not need help from a blog to know that they need to make garbage receptacles available to the public.

  • http://undefined Marc Lostracco

    I didn’t contact them about replacement bins under the Torontoist name; I just said there were bins removed without having been replaced yet, and two days later, the temporary bins had been dropped off until the Astral bins were installed. If you have no receptacles, I’d suggest letting them know since they would know the discrepancies in the Eucan and Astral schedules, presumably.

  • http://undefined rek

    The new cans have cigarette butt receptacles, right? I think the city needs to publicize that. There’s a can literally at my door, yet the sidewalk is covered in butts because the patrons of the bar immediately next door don’t know any better.

  • Darren

    China Town east is the LAST place you want to a garbage shortage in. I go by there twice a day when riding the streetcar, and;
    a) the area literally stinks
    b) a week into the garbage strike there were piles of garbage on the curbs
    c) people literally do not care for that stretch of neighbourhood. I’ve seen people parked on Gerrard during morning rush hour everday now for the last several weeks during rush hour. Its either a construction firm or deliveries for some new store, but they dont care and this city doesnt enforce the parking bylaw anyways

  • http://undefined mark.

    Yeah, and they’re good ones too. Most butt cans (!) start to smolder or even catch fire when you toss a butt in them. On the new droid bins this never seems to happen. Since we’re talking about it, I’ll take a moment to offer a tip to fellow smokers – it’s really easy to knock off the cherry and toss the butt in any garbage can. You can even just pinch and roll the butt between your fingers (!) to make the cherry fall off and toss the butt in a garbage can. I’ve also been known to toss butts down sewer grates, but I’m not sure that’s really a good practice – it’s not littering the street/sidewalk but I have no idea if it gets filtered out or goes straight to the lake.

  • http://undefined CaligulaJones

    Update: the garbage bin and bench are now now longer behind a fence. They are, in fact, now totally missing. Along with the half dozen or so mature trees that were there on Monday.
    Joey Pants: are you listening?

  • Paul Kishimoto

    I don’t know if this would go better if it were all done in-house, but the private contractors certainly seem to be doing a horrible job of this, and the city an equally poor one of overseeing them.

  • http://undefined Svend

    There’s a few near my home that have broken foot pedals, shouldn’t they be able to last at least a year?
    Garbage design.

  • http://undefined panko

    Yep. Straight to the lake. So please stop.

  • mark.

    Thanks for the info! When I lived in BC, some of the sewer grates had a fish symbol painted beside them. This signified it went straight to the ocean – I guess they all do here (expect it’s a lake!).

  • http://undefined jem

    Fish symbols were painted on the curb beside the sewer grates on my street in the last couple of years. I still see a neighbour pouring who-knows-what down them. I phoned Toronto Water when I saw a restaurant owner do the same thing recently, and they sent someone out to “re-educate” him (their term). It’s illegal BECAUSE it bypasses the water treatment process and goes right to the lake.