After visiting with many a homeowner discussing various hardscaping projects, the topic of a firepit or fireplace will sometimes be discussed. Many people like the fire pit concept because it brings back memories of camping and fun with family and friends. Sitting around the camp fire roasting marsh mellows, the smell of smoke and the taste of roasted marsh mellows, good times.

Now let's take that idyllic setting and try to incorporate into our upcoming hardscape project. Great idea, but can a fire pit be installed in your backyard if you live in the City of Toronto. The answer is, Yes and No. The issue of "open air burning" comes into play. In the city of Toronto open air burning is prohibited. What that means is any wood burning fire pit, fireplace, chimnea is technically not permitted. Quoted from the city's website.

"open air burning is not permitted unless such burning is used to cook food on a grill or a barbecue and is restricted to a small, confined fire that is supervised at all times"

So when are firepits or fireplaces legal? A legal fireplace or firepit has to be powered by natural gas. These units must be rated for the outdoors and must have the designation of being an appliance. If the unit in question meets these requirements than it is not a problem. Of course the unit would have to be installed by a license gas fitter and/or an electrician. And any needed permits would have to be in place, usually the depth of buried electrical and gas lines.

Even if the fireplace or fire pit has a screen on the front ? These fires are still considered open air burning and are technically illegal to use. Even though this scenario looks correct, the fire is contained in a fire box and has a screen it's still not "used to cook food on a grill or a barbecue."  To state things clearly, no wood burning. The only option is an appliance, natural gas unit. Hopefully that clears things up!


City of Toronto, Open Air Burning

City of Toronto, Open Air Burning is prohibited in Toronto

About the Author

Garry Reisky

Garry Reisky is the owner of Terraform Contracting. A landscaping and hardscaping contractor located in Toronto, Ontario. Terraform designs and installs residential hardscape and landscapes. Garry is a hardscape expert with extensive installation and product knowledge. Garry is an unofficial Rock(et) Scientest and self proclaimed guru of everything Enduracolor. Find Garry on Google+. Tired of dealing with inexperienced contractors, Contact Garry for a free estimate.