Box 690

Fire Department Canteen Association

About Us

Box 690 – Fire Department Canteen was officially approved by Council of the City of Cambridge in November 1988. Box 690 was modeled after Box 43 (Hamilton) and Box 12 (Toronto), Fire Canteens which have been operating successfully for several decades. The name ‘Box 690’ comes from reference to the early traditional street alarm box system used in larger cities and the numerical part of the Cambridge Fire Department Radio System Identifier Code ‘XJI 690’. Initially Box 690 only served the City of Cambridge. The service expanded to serve Kitchener (1991), Waterloo (1992), and now serves all stations in North Dumfries, Wilmot, Wellesley, and Woolwich Townships. The City of Cambridge donated a 1978 GMC Panel Van (retired CFD Rescue) to Box 690 in 1995 which was retrofitted into a snack and drink van. This was replaced in November 2002 by a 1982 International Truck formerly in service as Kitchener Fire Department’s – Rescue 8, which has been overhauled into a mobile field kitchen. In 2010 the truck was replaced with a 1986 International that was donated by Wilmot Township. The rescue ran as New Dundee 27, and was originally from Waterloo.

Box 690 monitors Fire Dispatches in Waterloo Region during the daytime and evenings and is dispatched to working fires at night. The Box automatically responds to confirmed reports of working fires within Waterloo Region and attends approximately 100 calls for service per year. All Box 690 Members are volunteers who have a strong interest in the fire service. The truck (6903) is equipped to provide firefighter support and rehab at emergency scenes including shelter (either warming or cooling as needed seasonally), lighting, clothing, and refreshments, including refrigerated bottled water, juice, Gatorade, coffee, hot chocolate, hotdogs, chili, soup, and small snack items (granola bars, cookies, peanuts, chips etc.)

Box 690 is a registered charity and is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. Box 690 is an associate member of the Waterloo Regional Mutual Aid Fire Services Association. The canteen has responded to 2,426 fire calls as of October 31 2017. Members have responded to numerous smaller fires close to their homes to provide drinks and snacks which are not recorded as “official” calls unless fifteen drinks have been served.