Yorkville’s redesign kicks street food vendors off the curb

Yorkville’s redesign kicks street food vendors off the curb

A hot dog vendor at the safer location of College and St. George (Image: Alfred Ng from TorontoLife.com Flickr Pool) 

The costly Bloor Street Transformation Project (BSTP) may have added flowerpots, trees and benches to the widened granite sidewalks on Bloor Street between Yonge and Avenue, but it’s also become yet another reason why Toronto’s street food industry is floundering. Apparently the Yorkville renovation left no room for several street vendors, forcing out eight hot dog stands (some of which have operated in the area for 15 to 20 years), two retailers and an ice cream truck.

Briar de Lange, executive director of the Bloor-Yorkville BIA, told the Sun that street vendors just don’t go with the new and improved Yorkville look:

Essentially, the whole premise of vending on the street is not something that our BIA has been all that much in favour of . . . Aesthetically we are trying to create a different street.

Despite the fact that pedestrians seemed to have managed to successfully navigate around or, if hungry, beeline straight toward street vendors in the past, de Lange maintains that the BSTP was meant to enhance the pedestrian environment in the area: “sticking a cart in the middle of it doesn’t make any sense.”

Then there’s the matter of new landscape design—city bylaws require 3.66 metres between any vendor and street furniture. Since the Yorkville renovation specifically altered spaces that vendors previously occupied, municipal licensing spokesperson Bruce Hawkins explains these businesses are no longer in compliance with the 3.66-metre rule. There’s still hope for street vendors, though; city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam told the Sun that the city is looking to relocate businesses within the ward: “I do think [street vending] changes and improves the life of any city.” But with news like this, we’re not holding our breath for a Toronto appearance on the next season of Eat St.

Wiener war in Yorkville [Toronto Sun]