City Council adopted Item PH7.2 – Review of Zoning Regulations for Outdoor Patios on Private Property at its meeting on November 8 and 9, 2023. Please refer to Patios on Private Property for a summary of the new permanent zoning regulations.

An outdoor patio is an area that creates or provides additional patron capacity for a business such as a restaurant or bar.

The City is undertaking a comprehensive review of zoning regulations for outdoor patios located on private property and will present a staff report to City Council by the end of 2023.

Outdoor patios that are located on private property are regulated by applicable Zoning By-laws and are the subject of this review.

Outdoor patios that are part of the CaféTO program, which are located on public property such as curb lanes, are regulated by the Municipal Code and are not part of this review.

All temporary use zoning by-laws, which expanded permissions for outdoor patios during the COVID-19 pandemic, will expire on December 31, 2023, and staff have been directed by City Council to consider potential permanent modifications of zoning regulations for outdoor patios on private property.

Other purposes of the study include but are not limited to:

  • Supporting businesses by enabling expanded outdoor patio areas associated with eating establishments, take-out eating establishments and other commercial uses;
  • Evaluating the performance of city-wide temporary use by-laws enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Supporting Official Plan policies regarding a diverse mix of employment types and potentially increasing dining options and economic opportunities for eating establishments, take-out eating establishments and other commercial uses;
  • Supporting Official Plan policies regarding an active public realm; and
  • Easing the implementation of outdoor patios in the event of future pandemics.

The following topic areas may be considered in this review:

  • Potential new commercial uses to which an outdoor patio can be combined with;
  • Revisions to the permitted maximum size of an outdoor patio;
  • Regulations governing entertainment uses, such as performances, music and dancing;
  • Fence and screening requirements;
  • Permitting outdoor patios in the Residential Apartment Commercial (RAC) zone and Commercial Local (CL) zone;
  • Regulations governing outdoor patios located in parking lots of commercial plazas;
  • Permitting certain structures within a required setback area if they are used for an outdoor patio;
  • Winterization of outdoor patios;
  • Requirement for outdoor patios to be “open to the outside”;
  • Location;
  • Public health considerations; and
  • Temporary site-specific by-laws enacted for various outdoor patios (where the city-wide temporary use by-laws did not provide full relief from zoning regulations)

What we did

  • Two virtual public consultation sessions were held on April 24 and 27, 2023, for the public and businesses to learn more about potential changes and to share their opinion.
  • An online survey was also available from April 4, 2023 to May 6, 2023.

Who we heard from

  • 659 people completed responses to the survey, and 18 people participated in the virtual consultations.

What we heard

  • Enjoyable active spaces encourage more local active travel and less reliance on driving to other locations;
  • A strong majority of respondents support the continuation of outdoor patio permissions on private property that were enacted on a temporary basis in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, such as expanding their permitted maximum area and removing barriers to outdoor patios in parking lots; and
  • People are concerned about noise that can sometimes be associated with outdoor patios.
  • As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, City Council requested, at its meeting on June 29, 2020, that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing provide expanded permissions for patios on private property. On July 2, 2020, the Province of Ontario issued Ontario Regulation 345/20, which permitted City Council to adopt temporary use by-laws respecting a restaurant or bar patio without holding a statutory public meeting under the Planning Act and that such a by-law is not subject to appeal.
  • At its meeting on October 27, 2020, City Council enacted by-laws to temporarily ease restrictions on outdoor patios.
  • At its meeting on March 9, 2022, as part of an extension of temporary use bylaws easing regulations for patios, City Council requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, to report back to the Planning and Housing Committee by the third quarter of 2023 on potential permanent modifications of zoning regulations for outdoor patios on private property.
  • All temporary use by-laws which expanded outdoor patio permissions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will expire on December 31, 2023.

Area or site-specific zoning regulations for outdoor patios continue to prevail over city-wide zoning regulations. In City-wide Zoning By-law 569-2013, area-specific regulations are contained in Chapters 600 and 900 of the By-law. Some of the areas in the City that have area-specific outdoor patio zoning regulations include:

  • Queen Street West between Roncesvalles Avenue and Dufferin Street;
  • Queen Street West between Gladstone Avenue and Dovercourt Road;
  • Queen Street West between Bathurst Street and Simcoe Street;
  • Bloor Street West between Riverside Drive and Wendico Way;
  • College Street between Ossington Avenue and Bathurst Street;
  • King Street West between Walnut Avenue and Bathurst Street and Bathurst Street between King Street West and the Canadian National Railway;
  • Avenue Road between Davenport Road and MacPherson Avenue; and
  • Ossington Avenue between Dundas Street West and Queen Street West.