By Megan O’Toole | National Post
Piles of plump grapes, oranges and granny-smith apples spilled across a red-and-white checkered tablecloth outside City Hall Wednesday — a food stand effectively banned by municipal regulations.
Local advocacy group Food Forward bypassed the rules by offering the fruits to passersby for free instead of selling them, a demonstration aiming to highlight the absurdity of the city’s controversial limits on food carts.
Councillor Josh Colle, who stopped by to snag an apple, blasted the city for dragging its heels on the file.
“It’s unfortunate that for so long we’ve had this burgeoning industry that really City Hall has kind of kept down,” Mr. Colle said.
“It’s a matter of red tape and overmanaging this… I think it speaks to how antiquated some of our rules are. It’s 2013; puritan Toronto rears its ugly head again. Let’s just get over ourselves and open it up to these entrepreneurs.”
Although council voted last year to allow existing food carts to offer certain healthier items, there is a moratorium on new street food downtown, and rules against parking food carts on streets or sidewalks. A report on Toronto’s street-food program is due out in 2014, but members of Food Forward believe change should come sooner.
“In a multicultural city like Toronto that values different food and health, I’d like to see things like this available,” said the group’s executive director, Darcy Higgins.