Campfires at Dufferin Grove Park are different than the campfires at other city parks. That because of the local history of this campfire program. If you and your friends make a campfire at the park, you’ve taken on a park volunteer job: you’ll be helping with park oversight while you’re at the fire.
The campfires started in 1994, to increase the night-time liveliness of the park and therefore make the park safer and friendlier. The two fire-sites are intentionally located right by the main park thoroughfare. Everyone can pass nearby and enjoy the beautiful light of the fire, and the smell of food roasting on the grill. This works wonders on other park users. Campfire cooks often share the food they cook, if someone comes along hungry or just curious.
A city is a place of many strangers, and it can be scary – a dark park even more so. But a campfire is a reassuring circle of light and activity. So the campfire participants contribute to the neighbourliness of the park. A few times (very few) there has been trouble elsewhere in the park, and the campfire participants have gone to help. The trouble was quickly defused. Safety in numbers! This is exactly the point of a lively park – trouble goes somewhere else. So if you want to have a campfire at Dufferin Grove Park, don’t forget: you’ll have an important job. If you like that task, you can book a campfire spot and a half-hour orientation session by calling the park staff at 416 392-0913.
The campfire orientation sessions are every Tuesday at 6 pm and every Saturday at 12.30, at the rink clubhouse, rain or shine. It's nice if you let us know which one you're planning to come to, but you don't have to -- you can just show up. But you do need to have a session before you can have your FIRST campfire. Note: the orientation sessions start and end on time, lasting exactly half an hour.
Check the schedule to see which campfire spots are available. (There's a suggested donation of $20 for staff support and upkeep of cooking equipment -- some people give more, some less, some just give their eyes-on-the-park -- whatever you choose.) You do have to bring your own wood and paper and matches to start the fire, but the staff can often offer you some kindling.
If you feel like you really just want to have a private campfire party, there are 20 other city parks without a campfire program but with attractive campfire permit spots: see our "other campfire locations" page.
For 18 years now friends of the park have worked with Toronto Fire Services (the Fire Department) and with each branch of the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division as well as the local city Councillor and neighborhood groups to allow small, safe campfires in specific locations in Dufferin Grove Park and a few other nearby parks.
Keeping this program running over the years has required cooperation and flexibility from all involved. Our campfire booklet tells some of the stories.
If you want to have a campfire, you must book with staff.These are the basic rules.
Campfires are particularly nice for cooking over. For recipe suggestions and ideas go to our recipes page which has adapted stove top cooking, alternative roasting and baking procedures and wonderful old recipes from pioneer times and Aboriginal cooking ideas.
Campfire Picture Show
click on the arrows to flip through the slide show