Toronto street cafe offers free healthy food to keep neighbourhood fit

Environmental cafe offers fresh fruit and other freebies from 7am to 7pm

People living in a Toronto neighbourhood will be able to drop into CaféTO and get free food as a permanent fixture on the community’s street.

A proposal that will be going before the city council this week would allow the cafe, which usually runs on half-hour intervals from 7am to 7pm, to stay open for a full day.

It is currently a pilot project on Saturday mornings.

The street, which is known for its multicultural community, is home to a number of neighbourhoods run by Muslim and Jewish organizations.

Fahd Ghulam, who was running the cafe, saw it as a way of keeping the neighbourhood up-to-date with the ways to stay healthy and taking part in community life.

Fahd Ghulam, who owns CafeTO in Toronto. Photograph: Graham Goodwin/the Guardian

“The purpose of CaféTO is to raise awareness and show customers something different and interesting about our world,” he said.

The cafe will also offer a range of services for those in need, including a free pickup point for food for needy homeless people.

The cafe has proved popular, but cafe owners still had to abide by rules on marijuana.

People smoking cannabis at the cafe. Photograph: Graham Goodwin/the Guardian

“On weed they only allowed a few joints each in the cartons, and that has changed quite a bit over the year,” Ghulam said.

The opening of the cafe comes as the legalisation of marijuana has altered, and sometimes unraveled, many street drug markets in the country.

Although free of charge, this sort of service – and the cannabis hotlines that offer advice – have become hugely popular.

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