Food vendors welcome expanded menu options
Published Thursday, July 12, 2012 3:25PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2012 8:11PM EDT
Street food vendors in Toronto will now be allowed to sell more than hot dogs and sausages, after city council voted Thursday to allow expanded menu options.
Council approved a motion that allows street vendors to offer a range of food items including, but not limited to:
- pre-packaged cut fruit and vegetables, fruit salad, nuts and seeds
- whole fruits and vegetables, including corn on the cob
- bagels with single-serving butter, margarine and jam containers
- soup, coffee and tea
- pre-cooked veggie burgers.
Other menu options not on the list would require approval from the Medical Officer of Health, the decision states.
Vendors were already applauding the move on Thursday.
“It’s good for us and for the people in the street,” said hot dog vendor George Zigkos. “We are happy for that.”
Some vendors, like Marianne Moroney, have already worked around the current restrictions.
By partnering with a steak house, Moroney was able to up the offerings at her University Avenue food cart, adding turkey sausages, pulled pork, bison burgers, wild game and sweet potato to the menu.
Because she only reheats the food, rather than cooking it onsite, Moroney is able to offer this expanded menu.
Moroney, who also represents city vendors as part of the Street Food Vendors Association, said the decision was moving the city in the right direction.
“It’s a first good step. It’s not fast enough for most of us,” said Moroney. “However, I think that if any vendor wants to work with Toronto Public Health, they’re really open to it.”
Still, Toronto remains far behind many other Canadian cities when it comes to allowing mobile food trucks.
In Calgary, a food-truck pilot program that reduced red tape for vendors has seen more than 30 new trucks pop up in the city, serving everything from Mexican food to doughnuts.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi declared the city’s food truck pilot program a success.
“Everything that I’ve heard has been fantastic,” said Nenshi. “People love the food. They love the convenience. The entrepreneurs are really happy with the city’s licensing regime.”
Some Toronto councillors are pushing for the city to further ease restrictions about what kind of food street vendors can sell.
“I find, we kind of over-study and over-regulate at times and kind of try to manage things too much. I think, probably, what we need to do is just kind of take our hands off,” Counc. Josh Colle told CTV Toronto.
Meanwhile, other downtown councillors, including Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, have argued that allowing food trucks increased access to the downtown core presents a threat to already established businesses that pay high rents to be in the area.
The motion approved Thursday applied only to food carts.
A further discussion of food trucks won’t take place until council meets again in the fall.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson