Curbside Bliss Cupcakes and Tiny Tom Donuts set up shop on Thursday to tempt the taste buds of hungry area employees at the Abandon Your Building event on Celebration Square.
Curbside owner Cynthia Pacheco told YourMississaugaBiz.com that she relies on event opportunities like Abandon Your Building to make money in Mississauga, where her required vendor’s permit only allows her to sell at corporate functions and private events.
“If we can do any events with the city it’s amazing because they help us out with the permit to get here,” she said from the window of her bright blue van. “But other than that, it’s really hard to vend on the street.”
Mississauga bylaws allow food trucks to park for a maximum of 20 minutes.
Pacheco estimated she spends about three full working days in Mississauga each week through bookings at big companies like Hasbro Canada, Target Canada and Pepsi Canada, as well as lots of local car dealerships. “We depend a lot on the corporate businesses to keep us going,” she said.
While Mississauga is Ontario’s second largest city after Toronto, vendors say its laws around food trucks lag significantly behind.
“The City of Mississauga needs to realize if you’re going to offer licences you have to offer permanent licences that people can take for private property or permanent spots on Celebration Square,” said Brampton food truck owner Bob Yayros.
The franchisee of Tiny Tom Donuts owns three food trucks and regularly works major events in Mississauga, including the tree lighting ceremony and New Year’s Eve celebration.
But without the ability to get a permanent licence, Yayros has to reapply for every event. “You have to give them all your paperwork, insurance, articles of incorporation, apply and pay your fee,” he explained. “It’s just redundant.”
Yayros has permanent food truck licences in Brampton and Toronto, where the bylaws are easier to maneuver. He said if there were looser regulations in Mississauga he would serve beyond the limited special events, especially since he lives in Brampton.
“I think there are a lot of spots in Mississauga we could vend,” Yayros said. “There’s over a million people in Mississauga, why would there not be demand?”
On Thursday, the City of Toronto announced a pilot project that would allow food trucks to operate in five city parks.
Yayros said for changes to be made to the city’s bylaws, people in Mississauga need to speak up. Mississauga’s last call for public consultation on the topic of food trucks garnered little response.