Public Bakeovens

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Cooking with Fire in Public Parks


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Welcome to Public Bake Ovens

Why bake ovens? Over the years, CELOS has found that these small brick or cob structures bring forth delicious pizzas, bread, and new friendships. They are also a magnet for stories of distant places, for community gatherings, and -- more recently -- for regulations. The following sections present the stories, photos, journal entries, newspaper articles, policies, and other documents that CELOS has collected about bake ovens.

 
 

Toronto Bake Ovens

Toronto boasts a number of permanent bake ovens in neighbourhoods across the city. Most are in public parks, although a few are on private property. Each oven has a different story of how it got built and who built it, and each has its own unique programs. All of the ovens on the list below share the goal of being a public resource.

The official City of Toronto bake oven information page is here (click on "outdoor ovens"). It includes a city training video "Using an outdoor oven in a city park": here. Caution -- do not try to make pizza this way.


Dufferin Grove oven 2002

List of Permanent Bake Ovens in Toronto

 

Thorncliffe Tandoor Oven Project


Thorncliffe tandoor

What is Tandoor? An enhanced cooking fire

It is an open air cooking device traditionally used in many cultures ranging from the Middle East to Central and South Asia. In a tall clay pot with a fire at the bottom, insulated to keep the heat in, various foods such as bread, grilled/roasted meat and vegetables are made. read more

Toronto Guest Baker Project (2010-2011)

In 2011 there were eight or nine outdoor bake ovens in Toronto, only a few of which were used regularly throughout the year. The goal of the guest baker project was to learn what assets and challenges each oven has. Each story comes from a baker visiting and baking in the oven, often at a community event where the bread was then served. The process of arranging an occasion and actually baking unfolded according to the characteristics of the oven, logistics of baking, and politics that surrounded it. We hope that our findings help the future use of ovens as well as the building of any new ones. We created a chart from the guest baker project here: Bake Oven Chart

read more


Bread and Puppet oven from the front

Temporary Bake Ovens

Our original inspiration for temporary ovens was the work of Bread and Puppet Theatre, who have been doing what they call "cheap art" in New York, Vermont, and many other countries since the 1960's. Their performances always involve puppets and bread, and when they are not at their farm with their own ovens, they build ovens with whatever materials come to hand. read more

In 1995, Dufferin Grove got the first outdoor oven located in a Toronto park. Jutta Mason had that idea as the result of watching this little film at the Toronto Reference Library in 1994. The film was made in 1983 and it's mostly about trains and port wine in the Douro region of Portugal. Near the end (at 35.10 minutes) there is an eyeblink scene about a communal bake oven in a small northern village, revived at the urging of a radical priest. Dufferin Grove Park is in a neighbourhood that has a lot of Portuguese immigrants. An outdoor, communal bake oven seemed like a good thing to try here....read more

List of Toronto Ovens

Bake ovens main page


oven styles


Public ovens next steps November 2022

 

Alliance of Public Ovens (and cooking fires) in Toronto (APOT)

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Content last modified on July 23, 2024, at 03:24 PM EST