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Pizza for the masses

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A pizza bakes inside the Mile End Bread Oven. Volunteers with the bread oven say they want to preserve traditional ways of preparing food. Just a few blocks away, the famed St-Viateur Bagel shop still uses a wood-fire oven.

An underused park in Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood is getting some attention since some area residents built a wood-fire oven there. Dubbed “The Park With No Name”, the space had been an empty overgrown lot, surrounded by a 10-foot chain-link fence tucked in by the Van Horne overpass, on the corner of Clark and Arcade. Last Saturday, about 30 people gathered for a community pay-what-you-can pizza dinner.

A pizza comes out of the oven, ready for the eatin'.

Public making creative use of a public space – sounds great, no? Well, no doubt afraid of liability, some public officials are threatening the future of the oven. Volunteers with the project say they’re just trying to build community and preserve the Quebec tradition of wood-fired ovens. Indeed, just a few blocks away, the famed St-Viateur Bagel still uses this method.

A petition is circulating and volunteers with the oven say they will bring the issue to the next Plateau borough council meeting. If you want to find out more about the project and sign the petition, drop by the Cagibi (corner of St-Viateur and St-Laurent). The next meeting and public dinner is Saturday July 28 at 6pm.

A volunteer checks a pizza before serving it to the hungry crowd at a public dinner last Saturday.

photos by Misha Warbanski



  1. Some other cities, like Calgary, dot their parks with permanent charcoal barbecues for public use. This really isn’t much different.

  2. I believe Toronto’s Dufferin Grove park has experienced similar problems with the City’s bureaucracy. The Montreal vlunteers might want to ask them how they convinced Toronto city officials not to shut it down.

  3. I have heard a rumour that Saturday’s pizza dinner has been shut down by the city. Don’t know for sure but two people have said the same thing.

  4. Soudns like a great idea. Which brings me to wonder, Why is it so difficult to buy a slice of pizza for a snack in Montreal? You can get one on almost every block in Toronto but when I mentioned that to my friends in Montreal they looked at me like I had two heads (“A slice of pizza? – For what?”)

  5. Jon> What about all those 99c pizza places in MTL? It’s bad pizza, but I recall being in those places, all along St. Cathrine and St. Laurent at 2 or 3am a few years ago. Then walking back to the hotel saying “I will never do that again” then uh, doing it again.

  6. Yeah, there’s a ridiculous amount of cheap pizza joints around here. Where in Montreal were you?

  7. Does anybody know what the restrictions from the council might be (if any) for having a woodfire oven in a public place, say a market or even on the side of the road? anyone know what could be done to get around any of these health a saftey regulations?

    Thanks allot Henry

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