Public Bakeovens



Cooking with Fire in Public Parks


Campfire rules 2023

Feb.13, 2023

Subject: question about your campfire policy
To: <> [general supervisor]
Cc: <>, <>, Sabina Ali <>

Dear Ms.MacMillan, My name is Jutta Mason and I'm part of a group that's formed recently, called the Toronto Outdoor Public Ovens and Campfires Alliance. We're interested in understanding the city's approach to outdoor bake ovens and cooking campfires located in parks.

At a recent meeting we heard that the campfire permission that has been in place for 15 years at the R.V. Burgess park winter festival was withdrawn this year. This was surprising, since there have been a number of very lively community campfires in the west of Toronto recently.

We want to find out whether the campfire/cooking fire policy is different between northeast and west, and the background for that. I've copied a number of city staff here, since I'm not sure who I should contact, or even whether this might be a Recreation issue, not Parks. Could you let me know the right person, if it's not you?

I'll try to call your office later today, to follow up. This photo of bannock-making was taken at Dufferin Grove Park on Dec.28:

Feb.15, 2023

Subject: question about your community campfire policy To: <> Cc: <>, <>, <>, Sabina Ali <>, Belinda Cole <>, Jane Price <>, Lea Ambros <>

Dear Mr.Dametto,
This email is a follow-up to the email below, sent to your general supervisor Rachel MacMillan several days ago. I had no response from her despite leaving two phone messages as well, so I assume I contacted the wrong person. I am now widening my search. There are a number of other participants in our alliance (for public outdoor ovens and community campfires) who are interested in the issue of the city's community cooking-campfire policy.

Our particular interest in this case is in the withdrawal of the community campfire permit for the 15th annual TPWC winter festival on Friday Feb.17. Yesterday, volunteer organizer Sabina Ali got a call from rec staff asking her to fill out the permit request form. That's a start (I believe the verbal request to the parks supervisor was made earlier in January). However, the city's permit forms don't include an email address for submitting the form. The permits phone number is listed but no one picks up -- apparently not when rec staff call in either.

I have copied the manager of client services Kevin Carr here as well, since permit officers are listed under his section of the staff directory.

In the process of looking at various links to find out more, I came across some puzzling information, making it even more timely for our group to gain some clarity.

Community cooking fires are a very helpful way of pulling neighbourhoods together. City management is likely aware of this, so does that mean community campfires actually belong under Recreation?

I would appreciate it if you could help us get the clarity we're seeking by having a conversation with me either on the phone or in person -- or connecting me to whichever of your colleagues is most involved. My phone number is____.

Feb.16, 2023

From: Katarina Currah <>
Subject: RE: question about your community campfire policy To: <>, <> Cc: Dennis Dametto <>

Good afternoon Jutta and Sabina,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the upcoming special event permit request at R.V. Burgess Park. The special event permit has been approved, with the exception of the request for a campfire. Historical permit requests for this event have not included requests for fire pits.

The policy for fire pits is the same Citywide. As you may be aware, there are a number of parks across the City that have designated fire pits (facility map). Additional steps are required to obtain approval for parks like R.V. Burgess for non-designated fire pits, including:

· An additional form to be submitted to the permit officer

· An inspection to be completed by Toronto Fire Services

· A fee for the inspection and open air burn permit

I understand that Sabina has arranged for a site inspection with Toronto Fire Services this afternoon. If they approve the open air burn permit, the request for a campfire can proceed at tomorrow’s event.

Thank you kindly,

Katarina Currah on behalf of Dennis Dametto

Katarina Currah

A/ Policy & Project Advisor

Parks, Forestry & Recreation

Feb.20, 1023

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Content last modified on February 20, 2023, at 03:34 AM EST