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politics

Building a Food-Truck Paradise in a Parking Lot

Well, maybe not paradise—but thanks to new City staff report, it's possible you'll soon have more access to late-night poutine.

If there is one thing at which Toronto the Good really excels, it’s using unnecessary laws to resist change: so it should be greeted as a sign of (slow) progress that City staff has recommended to the Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee that Toronto’s food trucks now be permitted to sell their tacos, deli sandwiches, and poutine from one of 58 appropriately zoned parking lots within the city.

The recommendation comes from a staff review of Toronto’s street food options, which are widely seen as lagging behind those of more adventurous North American cities. Toronto’s A La Carte food cart project was a spectacular failure, but restaurants and residents still resist more relaxed laws intended to accommodate the vendors.

The staff recommendations reflect this tension, and include very specific rules as to where food carts and trucks can sell. No vendor can sell within 30 metres of a school or place of worship. No mobile vendor can sell within 50 metres of a licensed eating establishment during operating hours. No more than two food trucks can be on the same block.

Through GIS mapping, the City identified 350 opportunities for new locations, and they project they’ll double the number of licenses issued next year from 150 to more than 300.

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