An increasing number of food desert studies over the past two decades have attempted to identify urban areas with inadequate access to nutritious and affordable food with implications for public health social equity and environmental issues. Due to different ways of operationalizing food desert analysis and the multifaceted dimension of the concept, there are inherent ambiguities in the validity and accuracy of food desert results across different studies. This study challenged the conventional measurements of food availability (e.g., distance-to-supermarket criterion) and food accessibility (e.g., circular buffer method) in identifying food deserts. An alternative methodology was developed that considered a wider variety of healthy food sources and used a network buffer method to produce more comprehensive results. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis, alternative measures of food deserts were tested empirically in one Toronto ‘disadvantaged’ neighborhood. The results indicated that different areas were identified as part of a food desert depending on the methodology used. It concludes that failing to use a broader set of food desert elements can significantly alter the results in the study area.