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Zane Caplansky serves up deli sandwiches at his food truck in Toronto.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Toronto City Council has passed street-food reforms, loosening the rules on food-truck vendors.

The 43-1 vote, propelled in large part by the support of Mayor John Tory, will allow food trucks to operate in more locations and for longer periods of time. Most notably, the decision reduces the required distance between a food truck and a restaurant to 30 metres from 50 metres.

"This is a huge win. This is the birthplace of an industry," restaurant and food truck owner Zane Caplansky said. "It's a culture change. This is going from hot dogs to really good food in the streets of Toronto."

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Food-truck owners had previously said the 50-metre rule meant there was almost nowhere in downtown Toronto they could park.

The new regulations will take effect on May 14.

Mr. Tory spoke in support of the reforms on Tuesday.

"I think this is a significant step forward that we would actually [be] slowly but surely dragging ourselves into the 21st century," he said. "It has been a little bit like making sausages over time, if you'll pardon the reference to food, but I think we are ending up in a place that is closer to the right place."

The city has had a long and complicated history with regulating street food.

An attempt in 2008 to diversify beyond hot dogs and French fries with the city's "A La Carte" program shut down after three years because vendors found the regulation and red tape to be excessive.

And although Toronto lagged behind other major North American cities in allowing roaming food trucks, council finally approved them last year. But vendors said the rules – limits on where they could park, and for how long – were still too restrictive. Only 17 vendors bought the new city permit created out of last year's vote.

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More recently, city staff conducted a one-year review of the food-truck policies, which led to Tuesday's council decision.

The lone councillor to vote against the reforms, Giorgio Mammoliti, said the decision would hurt small-business owners near the food trucks. "The [Business Improvement Areas] are not content. They're not happy with this. It's only going to cause problems," he said.

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