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Mar 15, 2010 05:46 AM

March 15 Toronto Star update on Food Cart Program

The Toronto Star did an update on the Street Food Vendor program. It doesn't look like many of these vendors are doing well and are stuck in a lot of bureaucratic red tape.

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  1. The food cart program is such a mess. I'd be tempted to vote for a mayor solely based on the fact that they promised to get rid of it altogether, and let anybody sell whatever food they want as long as they meet the required health codes (and not ridiculous health codes either, just the same kind that seem to work fine in any number of other first-world cities with street vendors).

    5 Replies
    1. re: Strongbad789

      "as long as they meet the required health codes (and not ridiculous health codes either, just the same kind that seem to work fine in any number of other first-world cities with street vendors)."

      Right and who is going to fund the matching small army of inspectors required to enforce compliance with the "required health codes" you mention? Funny that "nanny state" OHIP is great but strict health codes intended to protect you and yours somehow suck. Suspect a couple of doses of salmonella or e. coli, courtesy of a toxic taco stand, might change your tune. The GTA has greater needs than food carts.

      1. re: Kagemusha

        How often do you think these carts need to be inspected? As for tummy troubles, that's a good way to lose customers and go out of business.

        1. re: Kagemusha

          and the hamburger and hot dog stands are immaculate, shining beacons of cleanliness second to none?

          the "prepared food" concept is a joke. and you're telling me that cities like Portland have lax health regulations and its citizens are dying by the (food)truckload from eating some of the yummy tainted tacos we hear foodies raving about?

          1. re: Kagemusha

            This is just a ridiculous argument.


            1. re: Kagemusha

              You are making a lot of generalizations and assumptions about what people think, and end up with a false dichotomy. It is really hard to have an open discussion in this manner.

          2. Here's a follow up article from the Star:
            For $400 in fees to the city, you too can be in business selling street food. Not including the cost of the cart which you can prob. get on CL or just make yourself.

            And for comparison, an article about the Halal guy:
            BTW, there's lots of guys selling stuff like this and many of them are really good. And for $6 including a can of soda, you can't go wrong for lunch, dinner or late night/early morning supper.

            6 Replies
            1. re: GoodGravy

              I could be wrong, but I thought they had to buy specific, city-approved carts that were significantly more expensive than your standard hotdog cart.

              I agree with Strongbad - let's get rid of "nanny state" politicians, and let some people who actually enjoy food run the program.

              1. re: FrankD

                GoodGravy's post lacks context... both articles he's linked to are mostly about NYC. it is there that it only costs about $400 of city fees to get yourself up and running with minimal interaction from the city short of health concerns. the a la carte program had always looked like it was designed to fail in my eyes, i would love for them to explain why they made some of the rules they made and to move in such a divergent direction from programs in cities where the variety is successful.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  Agreed. NYC is a city of best practices and success stories, particularly when it comes to food. This is true because the city is run by people who understand the importance of creating an environment where simple things like diverse food carts can exist, and then standing back and letting the vendors succeed, or fail, on their own.

                  The fact that one of the people overseeing Toronto's program - Kyle Rae - said last year about food carts "I'm afraid it's a fad ... they should be seasonal at best." clearly indicates that our municipal "leaders" don't understand the basics of how to build a thriving city. Why should a Toronto street food vendor have to struggle under the financial weight of a $30,000 City-mandated cart and $2,500+ rent to set up on a street corner, when $400 in fees is sufficient investment for vendors operating just 500 miles south of us?

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    The first article is a contrast/compare bet. two ethnically diverse cities w/ street vendor programs. The 2nd is an example of a food cart in NYC to give you an idea of what carts and food can be like. I'm not sure how they lack context. If you look at the A la Carte program in a vacuum, you won't know how your program measures up against the rest of the world.

                    1. re: GoodGravy

                      your post, not the articles, lacked any context. you offered up two links and cited information from them without mentioning that your information had to do with nyc as opposed to toronto.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        My post cites an article that follows up the article in the original post. How much context is needed? I'll cede the point about citing information from the article out of context. That part was misleading.

              2. What I don't get is the size of the carts and why they can't put photo's of their food on them. I like to see what I am ordering.

                4 Replies
                1. re: juliewong

                  The city for some reason is probably afraid that they think pictures on carts will make them look tacky or something... but I think they forget that it's a street food cart, not a fine dining restaurant.

                  1. re: Blueicus

                    the city food carts were so unobvious as to what they sold. i would be inclined to think they sold maps instead of ethnic foods.
                    why not have a unique name on each stand? why does it have to (coldly) state "A LA Carte"?

                    1. re: atomeyes

                      Probably because the people who designed the carts were the same people who design those ubiquitous and generic "modern" restaurant designs

                      1. re: Blueicus

                        Nope - it's because the City Hall bureaucrats think THEIR idea of what signage should be on a cart is obviously superior to that of the poor schmuck who invests close to 40 grand to own a small business. When would a businessman/woman ever know more than any of Miller's minions?