Wood Smoke Stories

Wood-burning restaurant in Toronto

In downtown Toronto, Canada I chair a coalition of 5 condominium boards (and counting) representing over 3,000 residents. We are attempting to shut down the wood burning smoke emanating from a BBQ restaurant that promotes the fact that they use wood for smoking and cooking their meats.

The smell and noxious smoke are persistent every day 24/7 — in a very densely populated area. Our condominiums are situated from 10 feet to approximately 50 feet away from the restaurant. In other words, very close proximity — therefore feeling the impact directly. Condo balconies and shared rooftops overlook the restaurant rooftop.

Activities so far include submitting complaints to the Toronto City Board of Health, the Ministry of the Environment, our local city Councillor, the restaurant itself, and the restaurant's landlord. We have the attention of our local Neighbourhood Association and Business Improvement Association.

Under the Freedom of Information act, we have asked the city to provide us with statistics relating to wood burning complaints throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Thanks to your website, and other research I have undertaken, I have prepared a 30 page factual report that summarizes the problem — which we have submitted to the various authorities. We feel that a rational argument based on facts will help to affect a by-law change to restaurant wood burning in our city.

Our next steps are to seek other condominiums, apartments, and businesses affected by the smoke, and then generate a public groundswell and ask them to submit complaints to the governing bodies as we did. This will take time, but we are willing to wait for an outcome similar to Montreal, Canada where they have banned wood burning stoves in their city. We have only begun! Keep up the great work. I was thrilled to find this website!!

A large pile of firewood in an alley.
Woodpiles behind the restaurant.
The restaurant is on the right. Note the proximity to surrounding residential buildings. “There is always the strongest smell of wood smoke in this alley,” according to one of the residents.