Toronto’s food-truck rules are one step closer to being slightly less terrible

Toronto’s food-truck rules are one step closer to being slightly less terrible

Introducing: Hogtown Smoke (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)
 

Toronto’s years-long struggle to make itself more habitable for food-truck owners has a tragic innocence to it: like Frankenstein’s monster, or Lennie in Of Mice and Men, city hall’s earnest efforts often seem fated to fail—in this case, due to an apparently uncontrollable penchant for making things a gazillion times more complicated than they need to be. That said, the latest developments in the ongoing saga seem relatively promising.

A few weeks ago, city staff submitted a set of recommended reforms to Toronto’s food-truck policy. Reactions, for the most part, ranged from slightly exasperated to totally enraged. The proposal suggested removing some obstacles that make Toronto food trucking a tricky business, but they also instituted other, more insidious barriers, like a provision that would let the managing boards of Business Improvement Areas apply to ban food trucks from their neighbourhoods.

Yesterday, the city’s licensing and standards committee voted to nix a bunch of those limiting provisions, including the BIA rule mentioned above, as well as a proposed three-hour time limit for use of pay-and-display parking spaces (the committee suggested extending it to five hours) and a rule that would limit food-truck populations to two trucks per city block. City council will vote on the new regulations next month. Judging by recent reports, exasperated truck owners and downtown residents may find their most effusive support coming from an unexpected place: namely, Rob Ford’s mouth.