I’ve often heard people wonder why it is that the only food you can buy from a street vendor in Toronto is a sausage, when the city is full of people who come from places where you can buy a dizzying array of foods on the street. The good new is, people are trying to do something about it.
Multistory Complex’s Street Food Vending Project is holding a “vending cart design competition,” aiming to get Toronto talking about better street food and ways to improve our vending culture.
We’re asking you to propose a new, mobile vending cart for the City of Toronto. Designs should support the sale of healthy, affordable food and should consider things like current vending regulations; the conditions and needs of Toronto’s street food vendors; the social spaces that vending carts create; the contribution of street vending to pedestrian-friendly environments; and the cart’s location in Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods, including those without access to healthy, affordable food. Winning designs will be prototyped, exhibited in Alphabet City’s Food Festival and used in a citywide pilot project. The deadline for design submissions is June 15, 2007.
As part of the competition, they will also be hosting monthly “Snack Chats” open to anyone. These informal talks will be given by vendors, City staff, designers, food security advocates and others.
Meanwhile, on the political front, the Toronto Star reports that city councillor John Filion, chair of the Toronto Board of Health, is starting a campaign to bring a wider variety of food to Toronto’s streets. His biggest challenge will be dealing with the province, whose regulations are what keeps those vendors selling hot dogs only:
He plans to begin by getting more special-event permits that will allow a wide variety of foods to be served on the street on specific days (this process is what allows all those tasty Greek treats to be served during Taste of the Danforth).
photo by Kevin Steele