Heather Deal, Vancouver City Councillor

Heather Deal, Vancouver City Councillor

From the 2013 Influencer Index: The Vancouver councillor has brought Portland-style food carts to the streets of Vancouver

First elected to City Hall in 2005, Councillor Heather Deal has made it her mission to liven Vancouver’s streets through cultural attractions and festivals like the Cultural Olympiad and the city’s 125th-anniversary Summer Live concerts. But to see real proof of Deal’s mark on the city, look no further than the Portland-style food carts, which now pepper the streets of downtown Vancouver.

Since Deal first brought her expanded food-cart program proposal to City Council five years ago, Vancouver has gone from a verifiable street-food wasteland (with only the occasional hot-dog stand) to the home of an impressive 103 carts.

Vancouver’s food-cart revolution has done more than provide exciting lunches to locals. Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer says “food carts have played a huge part of animating the public realm. It’s an essential frontline piece that helps people imagine what’s possible in terms of local food, what’s possible in terms of economic development and what’s possible in terms of better utilizing public space.”

With proposals approved to license up to 130 carts by 2014, Deal’s plan to continue feeding the foodies on the street is pressing on—and inspiring some of Vancouver’s most influential restaurateurs, including Vikram Vij, who opened his first mobile food cart last year.