A three year-old girl is slowly recovering after stepping on hot barbecue coals left along Kew Beach.
“I’m actually amazed at her courage through all this,” says her father Chad Danyluck.
His daughter got the burns on May 25, when she and her uncles were walking by the water just west of the Kew dog park. Danyluck found hot coals in the sand nearby.
Doctors said it could take a month before her second-degree burns heal enough that she can stand. At one point, the blister on her right foot swelled as big as a tennis ball.
While it’s no fun changing her bandages, Danyluck said her feet are healing faster than expected and she can already put weight on one foot.
But until picnickers quit using coal-fired barbecues on the beach, he said people with young kids or dogs need to watch out.
It’s illegal, but from what he and others have seen in the Beach, coal-fired barbecues seem to be a pretty normal thing.
“I really don’t know what the solution is,” he said.
Gas barbecues are the only portable barbecue allowed in city parks. They can be used in parks where signs allow for it, or if picnickers get a special permit.
Picnickers can use charcoal or briquettes in parks, but only at the fixed barbecues set up in larger parks like Ashbridges Bay, Cherry Beach, and the Scarborough Bluffs.
“It’s disappointing that people don’t respect the rules,” said local councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon.
“My heart goes out to the little girl and her parents.”
McMahon said the city will install new signs to let people know what the rules are, and bylaw officers have already stepped up patrols. The applicable fines range from $255 to $5,000.
“You can do your coal-fire burning, which people love – the smell is nostalgic, and it’s usually better-tasting,” she said, but only in fixed barbecues.
For more information, or to get a barbecue permit, phone the City of Toronto’s info line at 311.