For the basics, see
- Website & Privacy Policies
- How To Get Involved
- The Role of the Park

Search options:

up to a month to index new postings
web search

Search Campfires:
local & up to date but simpler
See Search Page

Department Site Map


News 2009

From the December 2009 Newsletter:


In winter there are lots of birthday-and-skating parties, at the rink-side campfire near the smaller bake-oven. The rink house can’t be booked for birthday parties – it’s open for everybody, not rented out privately – and even the campfire circle is not closed to drop-ins when there’s a party.

Even so, a campfire-and-skating party seems to work very well for celebrations. To book a campfire by the rink, or at the central campfire site, speak to the recreation staff at the rink house, or e-mail You can borrow marshmallow sticks, pot and pot-stand, oven mitts, ladles, etc. But you have to bring your own wood.

From the October 2009 Newsletter:


Fall is a time when people’s thoughts turn to campfires, smoke curling upwards, the good smell of something tasty cooking over a fire, the beautiful colours of the leaves – and so on. This means that Dufferin Grove Park’s program staff get a lot of requests for campfire permits.

The campfires at Dufferin Grove Park are a bit different than the regular city campfires, which are arranged with the central Permit Office. Centrally booked permits cost $53 and they are located in the more woodsy, natural areas of the largest city parks – in the ravines, beside the rivers, and on Toronto Island. The campfires at Dufferin Grove, in contrast, are a special program in a densely settled neighbourhood. They were started partly to add a lively activity to the park at night and thereby increase the “eyes on the park.” The park becomes friendlier and safer for people passing through after dark. The other reason for the campfire program is that campfires can be a wonderful way for neighbours to gather.

There have been a great many campfires in the fifteen years since the program was established. The sight of people gathered at the fire circle has cheered many park users. But lately the requests for campfires have felt a little overwhelming at times. The program staff have been taking pains to make it clear that the campfires involve a trade: if you have a fire, you and your campfire friends become volunteers for the park. Having a campfire is not like “booking a campsite” or “reserving a table at a restaurant,“ as one very disappointed park user recently said in frustration. She had expected a space reliably reserved for her own party, but instead she found that the site was being used as a sacred fire circle during the pow wow, and that the “firekeepers” would not be finished until half an hour into her picnic. The park program staff are now trying to emphasize more clearly: campfires mean joining the life of the park, not reserving a spot that will be punctually ready for your own group. If the pow wow runs half an hour later than expected, that’s part of the way parks are. They are public, not private, full of the surprise of the unexpected.

At the same time, one kind of surprise is unwelcome at the campfires: any kind of percussion. Campfires are not drumming circles, out of respect for the park neighbours who live so near. For drumming, it’s best to reserve a regular City campfire area, where your group can drum together beside a river or in a woodsy ravine.

At Dufferin Grove, park campfire volunteers must keep an eye out for trouble. They might welcome a stranger into the circle. They can explain to curious park users about how the park runs and how campfires are set up. Sometimes they share their extra food – especially with nosy children who come by from the playground. In return, campfire volunteers get the use of pots and pot stands and marshmallow sticks, shovels and buckets for water, stir spoons and oven mitts and kindling. Most of them willingly contribute $10 for the upkeep of these supplies. There’s no campfire fee beyond that.

To volunteer for one of those kinds of campfires: call 416 392-0913, or (even better) e-mail

From the September 2009 Newsletter:


Campfire permits are available throughout the fall. You pay a much lower fee than the city’s normal bonfire permits (only a $20 donation for the use of the campfire equipment).

In return, when you have a campfire, you also undertake to be a park warden during that time, keeping a eye on the park and thereby making it safe and friendly.

A dark, empty park looks much more welcoming if you add in the glow of a campfire, surrounded by people roasting marshmallows, or quietly strumming on a guitar. The fire circles are intentionally located near the main path so that people walking through the park will come across this pleasing sight.

To book a campfire, contact the park’s program staff: 416 392-0913, or

From the May 2009 Newsletter:


Etienne Brule Park campfire site See more

There are two different ways to have a campfire in a city park. One is to get a permit from the central permit office, for one of the bonfire sites in a large park in the ravines or on Toronto Island. The permit costs $72.61 and the insurance cost is tied to the number of people – for example, if there were 20 people coming, the insurance would cost $54.

Firewood is included in the price. A campfire fee of $126.61 means that it would work for larger groups or a corporate function, but not so much for a regular-size gathering of a group of families or friends on a tight budget.

With persistent encouragement from Dufferin Grove friends, the City has kept another approach available – campfires run as recreation programs. That means that people who want to cook over a campfire or sing around it, can have such a fire, with a $10 donation for upkeep of the campfire equipment: -- the trivet, frying pans, pots, and marshmallow/hot dog sticks. The reasoning is that such campfires add friendliness to the park, and increase park safety (more “eyes on the park”). Often food is shared beyond the group that planned the gathering. And a campfire is a beautiful sight. If that’s the kind of campfire you would like, contact the park staff at 416 391-0913, or e-mail them at You have to bring your own firewood, though.

hosted by | powered by pmwiki-2.2.83. Content last modified on June 13, 2014, at 04:59 PM EST