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Unlike at other City campfire sites, there is no fee for having a campfire at Dufferin Grove, and there’s a reason for that. If you and your friends make a campfire at the park, you’ve taken on a park job: you’ll be helping with park oversight while you’re at the fire.
The campfires started in 1994, to increase the night-time liveliness of the park and therefore make the park safer and friendlier. The two fire-sites are intentionally located right by the main park thoroughfare. Everyone can pass nearby and enjoy the beautiful light of the fire, and the smell of food roasting on the grill. This works wonders on other park users. Campfire cooks often share the food they cook, if someone comes along hungry or just curious.
A city is a place of many strangers, and it can be scary – a dark park even more so. But a campfire is a reassuring circle of light and activity. So the campfire participants contribute the neighbourliness of the park. A few times (very few) there has been trouble elsewhere in the park, and the campfire participants have gone to help. The trouble was quickly defused. Safety in numbers! This is exactly the point of a lively park – trouble goes somewhere else. So if you want to have a campfire, don’t forget: you’ll have an important job. If you like that task, you can book a time with firstname.lastname@example.org.
For 14 years now the friends of the park has worked with Toronto Fire Services (the Fire Department) and with each branch of the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division as well as the local city Councillor and neighborhood groups to allow small, safe campfires in specific locations in Dufferin Grove Park and other parks.
Keeping this program running over the years has required cooperation and flexibility from all involved, our news archives tell a fascinating tale of cooking fires in public space.
If you want to have a campfire, you must book with staff. These are the basic rules.
Campfires are particularly nice for cooking over. For recipe suggestions and ideas go to our recipes page which has adapted stove top cooking, alternative roasting and baking procedures and wonderful old recipes from pioneer times and Aboriginal cooking ideas.
Note: all campfires bookings expire at 10 pm. If you see campfires later than that, those people didn’t arrange it with staff. That’s not okay – call 416 896-8942 or 416 709-0573 or 416-392-0913, and somebody will be over there on the double. Or take note of the time, date and location and inform staff via email: email@example.com or phone the numbers above. Police will respond to dangerous situations or noise complaints: 416-808-2222.