montreal food truck

A street food vendor is seen in the Old Port in Montreal last June.
Photograph by: Marie-France Coallier , Gazette

MONTREAL, CANADA – Selling food on city streets has been illegal in Montreal since 1947. Mayor Michael Applebaum said the time has come to make a change, and therefore ten sites for food trucks will be chosen in the downtown Ville-Marie borough where food trucks will be permitted.

Sound good right? Well, the devil is in the details in the pilot project that will begin June 20.

  • Small carts or trailers, as seen on sidewalks in many cities across North America, will not be allowed.
  • Vendors will have to prepare food in a building where they will pay rent and taxes.
  • A “no junk food” rule has been included, which hasn’t been thoroughly defined, but it’s a good to guess that regular “Junk Food” like hot dogs and poutine may be included.
  • 10 specific, per-determined locations for mobile vendors will be chosen for food truck operation.
  • The trucks must belong to restaurant owners or caterers that are already established in the city.

Additionally the local restaurant association has chimed in with their concerns over allowing food trucks within city limits, the sad part is that since the pilot program only allows existing restaurants or cratering groups to operate the trucks they are already stepping on the toes of their members.

Although commissioner and Ahuntsic-Cartierville councillor Étienne Brunet said, “We wanted to bring Montreal to the same level as the other greatest cities of the world, that all have street food.” we see this program too limiting and not embarrassing the what the food truck revolution is all about.

We love hearing that cities around the world are opening their city street to the mobile street food movement, but when done this haphazardly, the eliminate the opportunities for fledgling culinary entrepreneurs and neglect their constituents ability to choose from a wider array of food options by bowing down to the political pressure issued by restaurant associations.