Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





Post-pandemic beer gardens in parks: an idea whose time has come?

a well-distanced beer garden in Philadelphia
Mayor John Tory, May 14, 2020

"The mayor has asked city staff from Transportation Services to identify areas where restaurants could expand their patio space as part of his overall recovery plan." (CBC report)

Dr.Christian Droste, the Berlin virologist who was considered Germany's Coronavirus expert at that time:

"....it's summer now and the outdoors can be classified as a relatively safe zone. Which means restaurants which already have patio spaces should be encouraged to use these spaces. I would go so far as to say that a 6 foot distance is probably not necessary outdoors, because the aerosolized virus particles will blow away anyway if we are out of doors. I would even go so far as to say that we don't need to be as strict about social distancing regulations on patios...In my opinion we should consider - because the restaurant industry has suffered so much damage from the new measures which should be taken into account: Why can't the restaurants use sidewalks as well?" Source


Parks with bake ovens and space

What about the smaller restaurants and bars which don't have patio spaces: could they be permitted to operate beer gardens in parks that have bake ovens?


Beer gardens don't only serve beer, they serve wine as well -- just not stronger alcoholic drinks. Here's what else they often have:

- good, inexpensive food
- a mixed clientele including families with children
- outdoor tables and chairs or benches, with lots of room to space them out
- shady trees and colourful gardens, room for kids to run around
- often, live music (note: can be one to three musicians spaced out)

See also: Correspondence about this suggestion

Dufferin Grove ovens

Dufferin Grove Park has run Friday Night suppers for 17 years. It has two widely spaced outdoor ovens:

the bigger oven, built in 1995

the smaller oven, built in 2000

It also has two widely spaced food prep kitchens, in different sections of the rink clubhouse:

the "zamboni kitchen" in the large former zamboni garage

the rink house kitchen

spacing between staff in the large zamboni kitchen

FNS prep

ready to roast in the ovens

DG little oven pizza

Outside, people can eat the supper food on blankets spread on the grass, or at the "Dan's Table" picnic sitting area:


FNS distancing

DG Dans Table

Christie Pits Park oven

Christie its has a large oven and seating area, and five years of experience with suppers and sometimes beer. Local restaurants collaborated with neighbourhood organizers to provide the food. .

the large newer oven

a long table for eaters, plus other picnic tables and lots of blanket space

food is brought in ready to cook

prep tables by the oven

Evergreen Brickworks oven

Wednesday Night pizza and beer garden events have been going on at the Brickworks for some years.

the oven

lots of tables and chairs, tables and benches

Sorauren Park oven

This fairly new oven is beside the community-funded field house, which is also their farmers' market location. The oven has been used by a number of local restaurants to make and sell pizza on Mondays (market days). Near the playing field.

the normal market pizza set-up -- works fine for distancing too

easy to distance at an outdoor oven

Wychwood Barns oven

This oven is not on park property (the Wychwood barns are run by Artscape) but it's right beside the main open area of the park and has been used to cook food at events and also during the weekly Saturday farmers' market.

the Wychwood oven

making pizza for the market

Edithvale oven

This oven is used almost as much as the Dufferin Grove ovens, programmed by the staff mostly. It's between two play areas with lots of room to sit and eat as well. There have been pizza movie nights, summer camps, and private parties at the oven.

Edithvale oven -- odd but usable

Edithvale state-of-the-art kitchen

Montgomery Inn oven

The Montgomery oven is used more for production baking (especially for their Wednesday farmers' market) than for sitting and eating, but it has lots of park around it and a good prep kitchen in the historical building.

Montgomery oven, surrounded by the historical inn


Regent Park oven

This oven is beside the large open playing and strolling area and has been used during a lot of events, including movie nights and music performances.

The Regent Park oven is built into the side of their commubity greenhouse

there's a lot of space for distancing

even the tandoor can fit into the cooking area

Thorncliffe Park tandoor

The Thorncliffe tandoor is in R.V.Burgess Park, and gets used a lot during the weekly summer Friday bazaar. The shipping container Café is about 20 meters away.

the tandoor is in the park

easy to prep the naan bread

kids can help too

Shipping container Café: there's space to distance the lineup

naan bread baked in the tandoor

Riverdale Farm oven

This was the second oven built in a park (in 2000). It hasn't been used much for years but it's an excellent oven, and there's a prep kitchen only steps away.

Elizabeth Harris at the oven

picnic tables already widely spaced

serving pizza

so much room for distancing groups near the oven

Lawrence Heights oven

This oven is on Toronto Community housing land but is operated with help from Parks and Rec. It's got a little kitchen building nearby, and roomy places to sit and for kids to run.

multi-function oven

waiting for the biscuits to be ready

cooking in the fireplace

kitchen 10 meters form the oven

Fairmount oven

This oven was moved, by flat-bed truck, from Christie Pits after they got their new oven. There's no kitchen nearby but there's running water and sheds that can be used as staging areas.



Falstaff oven

This oven is located on Toronto Community housing land beside the Falstaff apartments. There's a small kitchen and community room on the street-level floor of the building, very close to the oven.

Falstaff oven

Falstaff sitting area

Scadding oven

This oven was built in 2004 by a person hired by the city, and it hasn't had a great deal of use over the years. It had a reputation of not heating up well, but when CELOS asked Dufferin Grove baker Anna Bekerman to try it out in 2011, it heated up just fine. The Scadding Court community centre nearby has a well-equipped prep kitchen

the first city-built oven, 2004

Anna baking bread with Alice, 2011

John Polanyi Collegiate Institute oven

This is a very well-organized urban farm run in conjunction with PACT. The oven and the rocket stove are located in the middle, and there's a long table that makes it easy for eaters to spread out (plus there's plenty of strolling room among the vegetables).

Lawrence Heights cob oven 2015

Lawrence Heights oven outdoor kitchen

Lawrence Heights rocket stove

Lawrence Heights trestle lunch table

The Stop community food centre oven at the Davenport Perth Community Health Centre

This was an early community oven, built on land owned by the church that also houses the DPNC health centre. The tables and benches are easy to distance and there's an excellent commercial kitchen at The Stop food centre (food bank and meals) right next door.

the Stop oven

the kitchen nearby, at the DPNC next door

More possibilities:

The Artscape artist co-op oven

This oven was built years ago by Gene Threndyle, an artist who lives in the building. It's surrounded by a pleasing garden area that has enough seating that it's easy to distance -- plus Trinity-Bellwoods Park is right across the street.

chef from nearby Luca restaurant

sitting and socializing garden

Alan Carlisle's community garden oven

Alan Carlisle at the community garden oven and sitting area

Cooking fires

Park campfires are easy for people to spread out around, and cooks usually work one at a time.

cooking Roma-style goulash

roasting chestnuts

cooking at Thorncliffe park

Temporary ovens

Withrow Park temporary oven

Crombie Park temporary oven

Susan Tibaldi parkette temporary oven

dishing up the food at Susan Tibaldi park

Lakeshore Park temporary oven

Thorncliffe Park temporary oven

Resources (for lending out):

CELOS multiple-compartment loaner sink

CELOS temporary oven kit

portable tandoor

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Content last modified on April 19, 2022, at 04:21 PM EST