As noon approached, the line to the window in the side of the Mr. Tasty Fries food truck outside City Hall grew longer.
“This is the busiest food truck in the city,” said Serkan Hrak, who helps run the truck. “Within half and hour you will see 25–30 people.”
On the other side of Nathan Phillips Square, councillors had been debating changes to make it easier for food trucks like Mr. Tasty Fries to do business around the city.
On April 3, city council voted 34–3 to bring in the new rules, which include allowing the trucks to do business in pay-and-display parking spots for up to three hours and in private parking lots.
But council also imposed a number of restrictions. Mobile food trucks can’t operate for more than three hours in a 24 hour stretch on the same block, and they must keep their distance from schools, places of worship and licensed restaurants.
Tonight I will be in my ward supporting food trucks at Yonge and Eglinton and getting fish tacos.
“If you look at cities such as L.A., Boston, New York, San Francisco, the food trucks abide with location and parking regulations,” said Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow, who added he supports food trucks.
The new rules also create a limit of two food trucks on a single block.
“I don’t have a problem with other food vendors around the area but all vendors should not be in one location,” Hrak said. “There are other areas where they can locate, such as parks and industrial locations.”
Food trucks bring in revenue for the city and generate employment, Mr. Tasty Fries owner Ivan Tchonlea said.
“My business creates jobs,” he said. “In the summer I will be hiring employees since it will get busier.”
Tchonlea, in the food vending business for 30 years, said he is the longest-serving vendor in the city.
“This is our way of life,” he said. “Over 80 per cent of my customers are regular customers and have been long-term customers for over 20 years. We live and breathe this.”