HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Food Truck Bylaw Debate at CityHall

I want to get peoples opinion on this issue.

Does Toronto really need to follow the trend,with the likes of Vancouver,Montreal,and cities in the U.S.of allowing food trucks
to sell anywhere in the streets of Toronto?

I would like to see them be able to sell,but they should limit how many permits they give out.

Food truck prices seem to be the same,if not more than in the restaurants.

I find that Food from trucks are inconsistent due to limited space,and
amount of supplies and prep they can hold.

What would be the consequences of of the bylaw if it goes through.

Is it really worth it?

Here's the article from the Glode and Mail.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. In Montreal they cannot sell anywhere. Food truck sites are very restricted - there is very poor coverage in the city.

    1 Reply
    1. The city should issue as many permits as vendors who want them. Public spaces are determined by the city and published. In the downtown core of Toronto side street locations are amongst those licensed locations. Example: Pearl St, both east and west of University. Also the north west corner of King & University, on the pedestrian area. First vendor(s) to the spots gets to use them. Vendors can negotiate with private spaces for operating.

      That's it.

      Food trucks are not competition with sit down restaurants. They are in competition with food courts.

      32 Replies
      1. re: lister

        So a food truck selling smoked meat sandwiches should be able to park directly in the parking spot in front of Caplanskies Deli at lunch and sell food? You do not think that a sit down restaurant does not do take-out especially at lunch? Plus all the truck customers filling all of the surrounding garbage cans with waste causing trash to litter the area? (ever see street festivals when they have the food booths setup & how much trash is tossed on the ground)... How about a Burrito Truck parked in front of Burrito Boys?

        1. re: pourboi

          For those specific examples, which are bad, there would not be a designated spot in front of Caplansky's. That's a major street (College) and wouldn't have a designated spot. The side street next to Caplansky's also isn't suitable and wouldn't be designated. Same goes with Burrito Boys being on Adelaide. I didn't propose that food trucks could park wherever they feel like.

          At the various present food truck locations they put out garbage cans. I've been to the RBC location, Sony Centre location, Roy Thompson Hall location and trash doesn't seem to be a problem. Regardless people need to be responsible for their trash.

          1. re: pourboi

            Ok check this out. I open a burrito restaurant in the space occupied by smokes poutine on Adelaide, directly on top of an existing burrito restaurant, but I make better quality food and people start coming to my restaurant instead. This is ok? But if I did it in a truck and parked across the street for some reason it's not ok? No offence but that logic, which is exactly the logic you used, is totally fucking backwards. You're suggesting that we simply stop allowing competition and let the status quo go unchecked. You shouldn't get in the restaurant industry if you're afraid to compete and if these places are afraid of the competition then they need to step the quality of their product up.

              1. re: disgusti

                Not so fast. the difference here is your second burrito business will be paying a similar rent and taxes to the guy underneath, putting you on a more equal footing and making your prices probably fairly similar based on the similar product. Food trucks have a huge advantage in this case and in some cases, can undercut a restaurants. Also, trucks take their money they earn back to wherever they live. Your burrito restaurant will contribute far more to a city than a truck.

                1. re: ThoughtForFood

                  But if food trucks are inherently limited in the amount of customers they can serve and therefore profit they generate given the space limitations that they face this should make up for the difference. Why can't *insert established quick service operation here* choose to forego the storefront model and open their own truck if that's where the money is at? Or do both? Who benefits from lack of competition? No one except the established guard

                  1. re: disgusti

                    They can choose to forego. Then we won't have any cheap eats places you can sit down in and a city full of ugly trucks. I guess that is kind of a false dichotomy, but I don't think the city should bend over to accomodate these trucks. I can see it now ,one side of sidewalk foodtrucks for 8 hours a day. The other side, empty spaces where great restaurants could have been. What do you think this street will look like at the end of the day when the truck packs up and leaves.

                    1. re: ThoughtForFood

                      Except that wouldn't happen under my idea.

                      1. re: ThoughtForFood

                        I'm sorry but this is flat out ridiculous. Have you been anywhere else? Ever?Street food peacefully coexists with first class restaurants in most of the rest of the world, but we're just starting to figure this out and people are having the problem of associating street food instantly with giant food trucks. Once out fascination with these massive boxes peters out and we realize that it's actually the food and not the vehicle from which it's delivered that matters we'll be in a much better place. We need choice, regulated and inspected choice but choice nonetheless, not a municipal government happy to abide by the incredibly stagnant and insufferably outdated status quo.

                        1. re: disgusti

                          I called my own statement a false dichotomy, suggesting there was some middle ground. I've eaten street food around the world and realize Toronto is a completely different creature. Streetfood offerings in most other countries are tiny little places with a few items with one worker. Not a mobile restaurant like foodtrucks. I would like to see more small vendors.

                        2. re: ThoughtForFood

                          Good lord. Do you seriously think the mental process is "Am I going to get something from the truck, which I have to eat standing up/outside from a styrofoam package with a plastic fork, or am I going to go the great restaurant across the street where I can eat from china at a nice table?" I buy food from food trucks where there are no good restaurants nearby (think, e.g. UofT on St. George street or the Convention Centre) and I have only an hour between lectures. I have never in my life decided to go out to eat at a restaurant and then changed my mind and dined at a truck.

                          Seriously - do you think Payless Shoes stops people from buying Jimmy Choos or Frye boots? They are segmented markets, and the crossover between people who want to eat at a food truck at a given time, and the people who want to set at a sitdown restaurant is miniscule at best.

                          1. re: FrankD

                            this is part of the problem. it shouldn't have to be a segmented market... great food should be available from anyone who wants to sell it, and to appease the licensing and cleanliness nerds who always pop up in these discussions i'd even submit that they should be licensed and inspected like regular restaurants, although i much prefer the rather haphazard approach that a lot of the world continues to abide by.

                            1. re: FrankD

                              FrankD look up what False Dichotomy means and come back to me. My statement was rather sarcastic. I was playing devils advocate. There is middle ground. I am talking Cheap eats vs Cheap eats, Jimmy Choo vs Payless is hardly a good analogy. How you came up with this from what I said is beyond my understanding.

                              1. re: ThoughtForFood

                                False dichotomy? You're the one who suggested that food trucks take business from "great restaurants". Most food trucks sell food that costs less than $8 per person, drinks included. Could you please give me your list of 'great' restaurants in Toronto that do the same? And if you are talking 'cheap eats' vs. 'cheap eats', please have the courtesy to qualify that upfront, as the unqualified term "great restaurants" does not immediately bring 'cheap eats' to mind.

                                If your statement was intended as sarcasm, you need more training in the genre, as it was nearly impossible to infer.

                                1. re: FrankD

                                  The discussion was about burrito vs burrito, If you read earlier in the convo which is all attached. I guess I shouldn't expect people to read. High end was never part of the conversation nor did I EVER say anything about them stealing business from "great restaurants". You put words in my mouth. If the food truck market is too attractive to people who do cheap eats, why would they ever open a cheap eats location when they can just go wherever they want in a truck? I never said anything about stealing business. Its about a business not opening in the first place because they decided to go the Truck route. I want little hole in the wall places to go sit and eat in. There needs to be a sarcasm font!

                                  1. re: ThoughtForFood

                                    Your exact sentence from a few posts above:
                                    " The other side, empty spaces where great restaurants could have been. ", with the unwritten implication that those 'great' restaurants ARE NOT there because those pesky food trucks took away their potential business. See, those of us who write for a living are pretty sensitive to what's not being written as well.

                                    I agree with you; there should be a sarcasm font. At other sites, we bracket such comments with "<s>" and </s>".

                                  2. re: FrankD

                                    Frank, I have no idea which food trucks or even qsr's you've been going to in 2014 that get you a meal and a drink for under 8 dollars. That's just not happening

                            2. re: disgusti

                              A well setup food truck,should not have a problem with the amount of customers they serve,given that the have (Should Have!)A space(restaurant,or commercial inspected kitchen) where they pre-prep to load on to the truck.I could not imagine a truck not having a home base where they can stock,or call someone when they are running out of food.

                              I also assume that if they give out license of where you can set up your food Truck it would have to be at heavy foot traffic intersections.I would not imagine any food truck owner wanting a license to sell at the corner of eg. Dupont and Shaw st

                              1. re: disgusti

                                some people cannot comprehend that a food truck's volume is dictated by the space of their kitchen and their storage. comparing a food truck kitchen to a burrito restaurant kitchen is laughable.

                              2. re: ThoughtForFood

                                I can't imagine people are likely to commute further in a food truck than they are to commute to a business they own. Given how hard a food truck is on gas, it seems like they'd probably prefer to commute less distance than a restaurant owner who can choose a more efficient vehicle.

                              3. re: disgusti

                                it's always a competition in the food industry, it's always comes down to who can make better food and locations

                              4. re: pourboi

                                As well, people complain about the nanny state. Just how much do you want? Inspections make sense. Dictating competition doesn't.

                                1. re: pourboi

                                  i'd love to see a smoked meat truck that actually knows what they're doing park in front of Caplansky's and school Zane and maybe spank him for his godawful overpriced swill.

                                  1. re: frogsteak

                                    Hehehe. So would I. We still think wistfully of the many fantastic sandwiches early on at Monarch.

                                    1. re: frogsteak

                                      I think that, "godawful overpriced swill" is a bit severe as a description of Caplansky's food. It appears that thousands disagree with you. I haven't been lately, but I went to the Monarch a number of times and I've been to the restaurant a couple of times. That description does not apply, in my opinion. Maybe it's not up to the same standard, but it certainly isn't 'swill'.

                                      1. re: Yongeman

                                        A drink and a terrible smoked meat sandwich is $13...Definitely overpriced when you consider that their smoked meat is no tastier than a Lester's vacuumed sealed brisket. They serve one of the worst smoked meat sandwiches I've ever had. For what it's worth, thousands also eat at jack astors.

                                          1. re: caviartothegeneral

                                            I don't want to start up another Caplansky-hater thread. I selected one of the more valid posts from the first thread caviartothegeneral. Most of the posts are just people who love to hate success--all too common here. Then there's this one: "Why haters gotta hate? ;-)

                                            So, part of the reason I came up to Toronto is that I'm working on something about revivalist/artisan delis, the new breed of delis trying to bring back turn of the (20th) century flavors and techniques. Caplansky's is one of only a handful, the others being my own Kenhy & Zuke's, Mile End (probably the most famous because it's in NY), Wise Sons, and Stopsky's.

                                            I guess it's necessary to give other credentials, like that I've been pretty much everywhere most people name, scores of places in NY, LA, and Montreal, plus delis wherever I travel.

                                            I've had two meals now at Caplansky's. I'll probably have one more before I leave town. I thought the food was very good. The only weak items, I think, were a salad whose vinaigrette needed more vin and a couple of the pickles on the pickle platter that were just okay.

                                            The smoked meat was quite good. It has a nice real smoke flavor. A lot of the revivalist places are curing and smoking their own pastrami/smoked meat. So many of even the most famous delis outsource the product, often using the same thing everyone else in town uses, so it's just a matter of who happens to heat it and serve it best that day. I thought the smoked meat had a nice balance of cure and smoke. Both days I got it at the end of the day and it wasn't dry. Slices were thick cut, but still tender enough that they fell apart with a slight tug. The fat cap was translucent and though my wife avoided it, I loved how it melted in my mouth like pastrami flavored chocolate.

                                            The tongue was also terrific. Very luscious and tender with a nice pickled flavor. I like my chopped liver a little chunkier with hunks of egg showing, but it tasted good. I liked the salami a lot, too. Milder than the stuff we get from Empire National in Brooklyn or from Katz's. I think it'd be great in a simple cheese sandwich like at Wilensky's.

                                            Love some of the specialty items, too, like the smoked meat poutine. The gravy was a little different from what I got at places like Banquis in Montreal, but it was still good and the smokier smoked meat works great. Very good fries, too. I think the knish is brilliant, unlike any I've had. They say it's puff pastry shell, but it reminds me more of the crust of bread, seeded with sesame, I believe, and then stuffed with mashed potatoes and smoked meat. And then they put more of that smoked meat gravy around it. Huge step up from most knishes, especially those evil hockey pucks places like Katz's sell. Ugh.

                                            Desserts, which too often at modern delis are about size, not quality, were quite tasty, too. Had the s'more cake, which was chocolate cake, chocolate icing, graham crackers, and browned marshmallows layered was fun and tasty. Even better was the sour cherry pie we had tonight. Nice crust and very good filling. Just the right tartness vs sweetness.

                                            I was a little worried when I got to Toronto and I was looking up other places to eat and saw this thread on Caplansky's. I was thinking maybe I came all this way and spent $1000 on our plane tickets for nothing. I'm glad the bulk of this thread, imo, was so off the mark. I think they've exceeded the hype."

                                            Oh, and Caplansky just announced that he's opening a couple of spots at Pearson Airport. That doesn't mean he has the best resto in the city, but it means something.

                                            1. re: Yongeman

                                              You are entitled to your opinion and that does sound like an interesting article but I cannot imagine how anyone who has tried the finest in smoked/cured meats of Montreal and NYC could like what Caplansky's is serving. In my opinion they execute very poorly.

                                              1. re: Yongeman

                                                Yongeman, I appreciate your thoughtful post. My 'dead horse flogging' response was aimed at other posters in this thread, and alas the Caplansky-hater thread has started anew, several hundred posts and several years later. I eat at Caplansky's about every six months and have never been disappointed with their smoked meat. If you saw the Guy Fieri DDD episode shot at Caplansky's, you know they smoke their own briskets and use their own spice blend that differentiates them from the Montreal / New York style. Best of luck with your deli work!

                                        1. re: frogsteak

                                          I'm with you on this!! The amount of Caplansky's fans on these boards never cease to amaze me. Hasn't been good since the Monarch at College & Clinton

                                    2. Also your comment about limiting permits due to food inconsistency is nonsense. Ultimately if a trucks food is inconsistent or bad they will go out of business because the public won't go to them. They have lots of other choices.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: lister

                                        My comments on permits,and food inconsistency are in two separate sentences,and are two different points.I in no way
                                        meant that they should limit permits because,they would be

                                        1. re: Spanglo

                                          That's not how I read it but whatever.

                                      2. I can't believe ANY city 'allowing food trucks to sell anywhere'. So your premise may be flawed.
                                        Food trucks have been operating for years under a licensing system with specific locations being allowed (I've certainly been buying from them for over 15 years (and that doesn't include burgers and ice-cream). Do a search for Wokking On Wheels - which has been around for what seems like generations.

                                        What we have now are a 'new generation' of food trucks that want to change the rules. I don't have a problem with that - they probably need an update - but not 'truck blanche' to completely go wherever they please. I want licensing (for safety and health reasons); defined locations (to ensure both vehicular and pedestrian safety) and defined users - we don't want 'truck wars' with people fighting over spaces. And I want 'reasonable' protection for existing restaurants whose livelihood should not be undermined by people who do not pay the appropriate taxes (of course, food trucks would never cheat on taxes would they?).
                                        It doesn't help when food trucks claim they're serving 5* meals either (as mentioned in the article).

                                        IF this is a good idea, surely we can adapt other cities rules and regs. If our politicians can't get their act together (we have an election this year!), how difficult would it be for the truck owners to propose an adaptation of comparable rules elsewhere?

                                        The last thing I want to see is the 'permit system' to become so restrictive that the permits themselves become more valuable than the businesses - c.f. the taxi license set-up where the cab licenses used to sell at a huge premium.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: estufarian

                                          I'm sorry but the tax thing is bullshit. Tons of restos operate as cash only and have just the same opportunity to fudge their books as any truck would

                                          1. re: disgusti

                                            I immediately thought the same thing. Is there a worse (legal) industry for questionable labour and financial practices? I certainly don't know of one.

                                            1. re: trombasteve

                                              Exactly how do these places cheat on their property taxes and license fees?
                                              You're arguing against something that I never said, and even if my statement was misleading (which it may have been as two of you jumped in with similar comments) that was a throw-in at the end of my major points. Can I assume you agree with those as you didn't comment on them?

                                              (EDITED to add that my final comment was intended to show how something that is NOT said is not necessarily implied. Irony doesn't always come across well and I don't want to initiate a long off-topic discussion on people meant by not saying something).

                                          2. re: estufarian

                                            Food trucks need the same health and safety rules as restaurants. no different.
                                            Defined locations: do we do that with restaurants? Nope. so why with food trucks.
                                            Protection for existing restaurants: pure bullshit. if i wanted to open a deli 2 storefronts down from Caplansky's, he can't stop me. if i own a coffee shop and, as per their usual practice, Starbucks opens up across the way? I can't stop them. so why should this apply to a food truck?

                                            people are buying trucks for $100 000. I can get a restaurant lease from a closed restaurant for as low as $20 000.

                                            the food truck concept is simple. if i want a 1 hour meal in a restaurant, i go there. if i want something quick or something i can eat in a park, i'd go to a food truck. there's no grey area. restaurateurs that are crying the blues over food trucks should examine their own business plan to figure out how to attract more customers and not worry about a bloody truck that will park outside. in the end, if a food truck like El Gatronomo is as good as they are, people will come to the AREA to discover the truck. as a restaurant owner, i'd be jumping for joy if new people were coming to my area and seeing my restaurant. that's how i found out about Chantecler - due to the lines at Grand Electric.

                                            1. re: atomeyes

                                              Actually we do restrict restaurant locations - try opening one on Bayview/Mt Pleasant/Queen west/King West/Ossington and see how far you get.

                                              My 'protection' point was in the same sentence and connected with the 'taxes' issue. I never said or implied that competition wasn't a good thing. Please remove your bullshit - you parked it in the wrong place. I will expand further, on your non-valid attribution. If you open a deli (or a Starbucks) you will have to comply with other by-laws (e.g. provide a washroom) - no requirement for trucks to do that. So the 'by-law barrier' is equal for permanent constructions.

                                              Your cost point is new (not in response to my post). Fair enough - except please compare apples with apples. If you can find me a restaurant for $20,000 I may be tempted. But if that is a lease cost, then who in their right mind would lease a truck for $100,000? I think you may have confused capital costs with monthly/annual costs.

                                              I also found out about Chantecler by being unable to get in to Grand Electric. Twice. That means I now go to neither. But neither would I have gone to Queen West to line up at a truck - any truck. So I'm not sure what your argument is here. Even less would I be inclined to go, if one of the few parking spots was taken up by a truck. Of course, your opinion is your opinion (and worth posting about) - mine just differs on this last point as well.
                                              But we are probably in agreement that they are mostly separate markets - personally, I view a truck as an alternative to take-out (so I'd still defend the operations of primarily take-out permanent structures). But others may not have the same approach. As a student, I would have welcomed more choices - permanent restaurants, mostly, do not survive by targeting the student market (obviously rare exceptions, like Salad King), so I would have welcomed more choices at ,say, U of T or York U (examples; as I didn't study in Toronto). But I would never have promoted allowing (again an example) a food truck serving Thai Food to operate at will outside Ryerson right across from Salad King.

                                              1. re: atomeyes

                                                "Defined locations: do we do that with restaurants? Nope. " - Ummm.. How about ICI trying to get a liquor Licence? took about a year because of their location near a school.. You cant put a restaurant in any area that is not zoned commercial. New patio bylaws limit where a patio can be - no longer allowed new patios behind a business.

                                                "people are buying trucks for $100 000. I can get a restaurant lease from a closed restaurant for as low as $20 000." - you are talking owning vs leasing.. bet you could lease a truck for $20k a year

                                                "the food truck concept is simple. if i want a 1 hour meal in a restaurant, i go there. if i want something quick or something i can eat in a park, i'd go to a food truck. "
                                                What about all the take out pizza & chinese & burritto places that are on the street do people sit an hour in Burrito Boyz????

                                                "El Gatronomo" is that the one that drives 2 hours each way to Toronto from St Catherines and is complaining that the city rules dont allow it to make money? What about the Gas cost and time costs of the 4 hour commute a day maybe that is why it is not worth it to be in Toronto for them!

                                            2. What's so hard about starting a food truck program? Other cities seem to manage and their citizens and visitors enjoy them.

                                              Perhaps we need the province to set up an independent corporation - "Metrofoodtruklinx" - to study the issue for years, make recommendations then put it to council so they can change their minds 3 or 4 times. And don't forget Scarborough. Scarborough wants real food trucks and not those cheaper food carts.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: hal2010

                                                Have you read about New York Chicago and Los Angeles putting in new rules to restrict food trucks? New York many areas of the city are now off limits to trucks

                                                1. re: pourboi

                                                  Yes, and NY is where control freak Bloomberg tried to limit the size of sodas, ban certain additives, and make it illegal for restaurants to put salt on the table. Is that the example you wish to emulate?

                                                  1. re: FrankD

                                                    No I am just pointing out that everyone seems to think all other cities (mostly based on food TV shows, I think) have amazing gourmet food truck on every corner and that there are no problems and no restriction... i.e. "What's so hard about starting a food truck program? Other cities seem to manage and their citizens and visitors enjoy them."

                                                    But these cities do have regulations, and in many cases need to add more to control trucks that were taking advantage... banning trucks from an area around schools because the "junk food" trucks would park outside of kids schools everyday at lunch , or blocking area with narrow sidewalks etc.

                                              2. I'm inferring this from your language, but it sounds like you're mostly against trucks and would rather regulate them so that only trucks with the best value for money were permitted on day one.

                                                At the very least, harmonizing the bylaws so they're easier for entrepreneurs to navigate is a step in the right direction. Letting the market decide what they will and won't support should separate the good from bad. Subjecting them to sensible health regulations and inspections would help keep the incidence of food borne illness to a minimum.

                                                I just ate breakfast (steak, bacon, egg and cheese on a roll) from a new food truck that upgraded from a cart, and I'm wondering what cart, truck or store to get lunch from. I'm glad I have these choices, and the competition and the market both push vendors to up their game or face bankruptcy. They can skate along on hype for a little while, but when they hype fades, so will their business if the value isn't there.

                                                The Toronto food truck scene is struggling and some trucks offerings frankly suck. Either the price is too high, the food is mediocre or the portions are small. There's not a lot of trucks, they're not serving the same thing so there's no competition forcing them to improve their food and prices. If the city lowers the barrier to entry, maybe the food truck offerings will be magnitudes better in a few years after the market has had a chance to sample and choose their favorites.

                                                And after all, who wouldn't want a fish and chips or pad thai truck waiting for them after the bars close and they want a snack before stumbling home?

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: GoodGravy

                                                  What about lowering the barrier of entry for restaurants? To open a new restaurant you have to go through: Health inspections, fire inspections, liquor inspections, city bylaws, sign bylaws, municipal licencing all require fees and rules which are not all consistient. and some are silly (you legally have to have a separate staff washroom - minimum of three sinks and a dishwasher in a kitchen, etc) - Where is the staff washroom in a food truck? Where are all the sinks?

                                                  1. re: pourboi

                                                    Those are all excellent questions that your mayor could answer or address. Ford publishes his number and urges citizens to call him w/ their questions and concerns so why don't you ask him those questions and report back on his responses? Better yet, you could run for council, and once elected, work towards overhauling the regulations governing carts, food trucks and restaurants so they make sense.

                                                    1. re: pourboi

                                                      To open a food truck, you have to go through health inspections, fire inspections and some of the licensing, they do treat food truck like a small restaurants without sitting. You do have to have a three compartment sink, but no size restriction. If there is no washroom on the truck, it need to park somewhere that have access to a public washroom or portable washroom with in a certain distance

                                                  2. Competition brings choice. Health and safety concerns can be legitimate reasons for regulations or licensing, but shouldn't be used to hamper competition. Major roads during rush hour, okay, I can see why you don't park a truck then. But to suggest that trucks be limited from proximity to restaurants is an effort to limit competition. As is a limitation on the number of permits/licences. That would create an artificial barrier to entry, as the 'value' of a licence increases because of scarcity regardless of the remainder of the business model. That would eliminate competitors much in the way that the food cart program's absurd restrictions did.

                                                    Innovation and creativity come from competition. Check out the current offerings outside Mt. Sinai, and ask the vendors what went into the choices of what's there.

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: Snarf

                                                      So would you accept a food truck spot put directly in front of your house?

                                                      1. re: pourboi

                                                        That's not particularly relevant - food truck owners who hope to make money aren't going to be camped out in residential neighbourhoods. They're going to be in commercial areas, and out during lunch hour, dinner time, and late at night.

                                                        But yes, for what it's worth, I'd be fine with having a food truck in front of my house. I'd prefer that to an ice cream truck, for starters.

                                                        1. re: trombasteve

                                                          That is relevant to me as I DO live downtown (in the St Lawrence Market area - a prime tourist area) and the "Park" pilot program this summer had trucks parked in front of condo residences (which the city approved). And there are lots of people who live on a side street off a major street where a food truck may park depending on how loose the location restrictions become.

                                                          I am just pointing out that Toronto is a Livable city so we can't just open up locations wild west style - free for all.. there has to some thought and respect for residents and business owners.

                                                          1. re: pourboi

                                                            Regulation should be limited to only the areas that are relevant to the provision of food or the managing of traffic. Once you start talking about limiting points of access for any other reasons, you are opening up imbalance and overreach. The suggestion that school diets be nannied is absurd. Past restrictions on what could be sold from trucks has already led to a poutine epidemic at city hall that has several beloved figures close to bursting.

                                                            Fixed restaurants generally embrace competition, as it raises the bar for the kind of customers in the marketplace. It is likely that a venerable institution that has been there for years would see the value in the model and sell street vendors base products like smoked meat to get in on the value chain.

                                                            1. re: Snarf

                                                              So all of these restaurants that have patios that are forced to close at 11pm because of neighbour complaints of potential noise to the liquor board should now be able to pull the tables back and plop down a couple of food truck there that can stay open till 3am? Because a food truck does not have to follow the same rules? How is that fair?

                                                              1. re: pourboi

                                                                i'm sure these issues will be dealt with. there's no sense in becoming hysterical.

                                                                1. re: frogsteak

                                                                  Snarf was saying these issues should NOT be dealt with "Regulation should be limited to only the areas that are relevant to the provision of food or the managing of traffic."

                                                            2. re: pourboi

                                                              Okay, if you'd like to discuss this - what specifically is your objection to the idea of having a food truck in front of your house? Too many people? Noise?

                                                              Also, how does that differ significantly from how it already is? Did you not realize you were moving into a busy, noisy downtown area? Were you forced into signing the lease at gunpoint?

                                                              1. re: trombasteve

                                                                I own a unit, we pay to keep our front area clean. The garbage cans will fill with takeout packaging and then overflow causing mess and rodent issues (ever walk down spadina in the summer with the street vendors on the sidewalk) , we have commercial units on the main floor that pay to be there. Having a food truck in front for hours at a time with people lined up and eating would block parking for visitors, deliveries, taxis picking up elderly residents. People lined up will cause disruptions in the sidewalk traffic (one of the reasons the city used to remove the valet parking area in front of Pusiteries which they had paid $50,000 to the city to have installed). Power generators that many trucks have will cause polution (noise & air). Depending on the time of day they may attract drunken bar patrons at 2am to congregate in from of our building (there is no reason that they would without a truck there). etc, etc. All of the same reasons the city puts rules in place on other businesses to make the city liveable for every one.

                                                                I am not saying no Food trucks but I think there has to be rules in place, Parking lots are fine, in front of city hall fine, UofT main street fine.. I just dont want them to be able to park in ANY valid street parking spot that they want for as long as they want at any time of day or night.

                                                                The people who bought the condos where the Real Jerk wanted to open a restaurant on the main level did not want to live above a "Bar" so they had to move the restairant to a different location. I am sure they would also not want a food truck parked out front for hours each day. When I bought me unit the parking spaces in front were for public parking they were not commercial business zones to be used for someone to make money. Why stop at food trucks? I could get a pickup truck and a money belt and start selling flowers any street parking spot? Or changing peoples oil in their cars... Heck I could get a generator and a saw and start making funiture.. rent is only $3 an hour!

                                                                1. re: pourboi

                                                                  I don't know why you're getting all hot and frothy over the idea of food trucks being able to park anywhere. We all know that's simply not going to happen.

                                                                  Even on the most remotest of remotest of remotest of chances that somehow magically happens (which it's not), how many food trucks do you seriously think would set up camp on a neightbourhood street that's not ten feet from a major street? Approximately zero.

                                                                  Even then in most situations like that it's simply not appropriate to park there.

                                                      2. some things to consider:

                                                        one of the issues at play here is rezoning of parking spaces to allow food trucks where ever they may be. There are several analogies being thrown around here so let me add another: this is more akin to having a house that backs onto a nice park and having the city rezone so people can rent camp sites behind your house. You paid a premium for that space and invested lots in designing your house to enjoy that view.

                                                        Another thing is we want eased regulations to allow more trucks. But with this the city becomes a landlord of parking spaces. Should they be rented off similar to low income housing (and only allow those who cannot afford to open their own business to do so) or open to the highest bidder like all other commercial rental units are in the city? What we would likely get with the latter is a virtual food court outdoors. Meaning that if the location is in demand enough you would see all the same vendors from the food court leasing trucks.

                                                        It does appear from the demand of truck owners and patrons that location is important. “location, location, location”. Many businesses are paying premium rates for their desired locations. If it opens up to a bidding process surely most of the trucks would be swiss chalet and the like:


                                                        (btw, I am indifferent to food trucks, If the rules are favourable enough I will just open one


                                                        - khao san road

                                                        18 Replies
                                                        1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                                                          I'm in favour of designated and appropriate locations for food trucks on a first come, first served approach. I don't want the same trucks in the same space for practically forever. How boring is that?! If anyone tries to be cute and "reserve" the spot then that's an automatic tow. On top of that if I had my way it would mean a suspension of their vending license for a period of time.

                                                          Spots that are not on major streets (I don't think there should be any parking period on major streets but that's for another forum!) that don't block traffic, street cars, buses, cyclists and pedestrians. There are lots and lots of side streets and parks in the downtown core that this can be done.

                                                          1. re: lister

                                                            Hell, we live in the age of the internet. It seems to me that the city could just conduct a regular scheduling lottery for the available spots via a purpose-built website, and then there wouldn't ever have to be people competing for popular spots in the moment. That's a problem that would be so very, very easy to solve with technology.

                                                            1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                              True. I could live with that.

                                                              But we're talking the government here, they'll find a way to go over budget, over normal time estimates for completion and would somehow use 5+ year older technology and completely miss tweeting out the results to those registered and interested customers.

                                                              But a good idea nonetheless! :-)

                                                            2. re: lister

                                                              Food trucks in NYC mix it up by moving around the city during the week for lunch and dinner. It's usually a regular rotation w/ a few unscheduled truck break downs, weather related off days and private catering jobs. They also tweet their locations and specials. There's also enough variety to keep things interesting. None of this has stopped new restaurants from opening, although I have noticed the choice and quality on offer at the new places are better than their competition.

                                                              1. re: GoodGravy

                                                                They are also very regulated where they can and cannot go certain areas of the city are totally off limits

                                                                1. re: pourboi

                                                                  I'm interested to understand what you mean by "very regulated". Like specific examples.

                                                                  1. re: GoodGravy


                                                                    " There are numerous (and sometimes conflicting) regulations required by the departments of Health, Sanitation, Transportation and Consumer Affairs. These rules are enforced, with varying consistency, by the New York Police Department. As a result, according to City Councilman Dan Garodnick, it’s nearly impossible (even if you fill out the right paperwork) to operate a truck without breaking some law. Trucks can’t sell food if they’re parked in a metered space . . . or if they’re within 200 feet of a school . . . or within 500 feet of a public market . . . and so on. "

                                                                    1. re: pourboi

                                                                      You should check out how Montreal has recently dealt with these issues. It makes for an interesting case study.

                                                                      1. re: frogsteak

                                                                        You mean the situation that Vice magazine has described as: http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/montre...

                                                                        "So it's hard to predict exactly where this Montreal thing is going to go, but it already has the earmarks of a bad tourism venture, with a bunch of administrative yahoos trying to manufacture a cultural identity"

                                                                        1. re: frogsteak

                                                                          So in Montreal: "Trucks will be limited to 10 sites downtown" & "A city committee will oversee not only the location for the food trucks but also what type of fare they dispense. The mayor said the committee will try to ensure the food “is of a quality that is going to be highly respected and renowned,” but “maybe someone’s going to come with poutine – a very special type of poutine.”"

                                                                          Sounds like Toronto's "A la Carte" to me!

                                                                            1. re: frogsteak

                                                                              the second post above was from the National Post... only allowing 10 hand picked trucks with the city having to authorise your menu and then the city picking the 10 locations that you can operate? That is exactly the same failure scenario that Toronto tried with food carts.

                                                                              What was it about their program that you found so great that you wanted me to research it? Do you think Toronto should do the same? only licence 10 Trucks that can only be run by people who already have restaurants?

                                                                              People always assume other cities have better programs and Toronto just sucks.. but with a little googling we don't look so bad...

                                                                              1. re: pourboi

                                                                                There's 40 food trucks in Montreal. There are 10 permanent sites for now, it was a pilot project. This number is sure to increase next year. Trucks have to rotate in and out of these spots. There are also numerous festivals all summer guaranteeing massive crowds and almost every truck was present for most of these festivals. In the first year it was completely restricted to downtown. This will be expanded. I've read predictions that there will be 200 trucks by 2015. The city has done a pretty good job at restricting parking sites while offering trucks many opportunities to sell in high density areas. So it can regulated. The biggest problem I have with the regulations is that vendors aren't allowed to cook on the trucks, only prep. Probably the most heavy handed restrictions is that trucks must operate out of a fixed location commercial kitchen.

                                                                                1. re: frogsteak

                                                                                  Like to see how they scale... it is fairly easy to find 10 or even 20 good spots for Food trucks in a city. but when you start talking 100 spots of more thing start to get iffy... add the road construction that always seems to happen removing certain spots..

                                                                                  I like the idea of Parking lot locations but even parking lots are becoming fewer and fewer as condos go up. In Montreal it seem many of the spots are by city parks which makes sense but not sure how that would work in Toronto as our big parks are not in high traffic areas and the smaller parks are on busy streets.

                                                                                  If we look at the "Core" how many and where would you put Trucks? say south of Dundas from Yonge to University down to Front? This would seem to be where the demand would be during the weekdays lunch hour...

                                                                                  1. re: pourboi

                                                                                    ya it would be problematic downtown

                                                                                1. re: disgusti

                                                                                  As often happens when just a small number of posters are engaged in a rapid fire back and forth, this is degenerating into the kind of argument that's more about the posters involved than the actual issue at hand. We'd ask that people please refocus the conversation on the possibilities for food trucks in Toronto, rather than on each other. Thanks.

                                                                          1. re: pourboi

                                                                            That article makes the situation sound more like it's poorly regulated, which it is. NYC could use some regulation harmonization as well, but at least we still have lots of food trucks to choose from.

                                                                2. Nimbyism seems to be something heavily concentrated in Ontario by comparison to other places in the world.And something that seems to be received by politicians to the point that legitimate ideas get held up. For some bizarre reasons, people in some parts of the province are against wind farms and hydro generators.

                                                                  I get that a food truck in a residential neighbourhood might cause some disruption. But the chances of one showing up in a residential neighbourhood depend on whether there is a festival or a real reason for one to be there.

                                                                  Toronto has not had great political success in the past in beginning new ideas by defining where they shouldn't be implemented. That has led to too many restrictions, to the point where ludicrous zoning restrictions inhibit food improvisation. We should be encouraging the truck market by letting the vendors determine where they want to be, and letting the licence fees be used to directly improve refuse collection in the desired location. And where possible, let them leverage existing infrastructure that is already there and underutilized, like the lakeshore parks and other parks where there is parking and washroom facilities. And also encourage private solutions like on the north shore of Oahu, where there are food truck destinations that are serviced by the vendors.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Snarf

                                                                    Maybe because in toronto we actually have people who live in our downtown core as opposed to cities in the us where at 6 pm the city centre is deserted streets ... Plus google New York City food truck backlash and read all about Nimbyism...

                                                                  2. "Does Toronto really need to follow the trend, with the likes of Vancouver, Montreal, and cities in the U.S. of allowing food trucks to sell anywhere in the streets of Toronto?"

                                                                    No, but...

                                                                    Toronto doesn't need to follow, Toronto's leadership should lead. Remember, we pay these people good money to do their jobs. Our return on our investment has been very poor IMHO.

                                                                    Ask yourself, or your council member, who benefits by not having dedicated people provide us with creative, available, affordable food (like every other place on Earth), and you will begin to understand why we don't have it.