Licensing and Zoning for Restaurants, Bars and Entertainment Venues

The City of Toronto is reviewing the licensing and zoning regulations for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues – including nightclubs and live music venues – and exploring strategies to support and enhance Toronto’s Night Economy 


As part of this review, the City intends to:

  • explore new ways to activate space and enhance livability for everyone who works at night or is interested in cultural or social experiences after dark
  • create strategies that promote safe and enjoyable communities for all
  • update the definitions, rules, and licensing for bars, restaurants and entertainment venues
  • change regulations that define where these businesses can operate in Toronto

To inform the review, the City is seeking feedback through targeted industry engagement, public consultations and a survey to: 

  • Clearly define and clarify the current licensing and zoning regulations for businesses that operate as restaurants, bars, nightclubs or live music venues
  • Provide opportunities for business owners, patrons, and residents to share their expertise, insights and general feedback
  • Generate discussion to better understand the issues impacting nighttime businesses and the needs of people who are active at night, including hospitality workers, shift workers, vulnerable populations, and those visiting cultural venues, stores, recreation facilities, and other businesses open at night

We’re looking for feedback from various stakeholders including community members, industry professionals, business owners and operators and the staff that work within these industries.

Your insights and experiences will inform strategies for enhancing Toronto’s night economy, as well as zoning and licensing recommendations and proposed bylaw amendments for Committee and Council consideration in fall 2023.

A survey will be launched soon to provide residents across the City an opportunity to provide their thoughts and comments on the review

The City will also be hosting public consultation sessions to provide additional opportunities for people to share their ideas

Please check back for updates. Survey launch and session dates will be posted soon.

In 2018, the City began reviewing the licensing and zoning regulations for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues in response to directives from City Council, and recommendations from the Auditor General.

This work included background research, data analysis, a review of regulations in different cities, and preliminary stakeholder consultations. However, this review was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recognizing that the pandemic has negatively impacted the restaurant, bar and entertainment industries, the City has prioritized the review of relevant zoning and licensing regulations, to ensure that they are consistent, and reflective of emerging business models in the dining and entertainment sectors.

In December 2021, a staff report was presented to Executive Committee that introduced a framework to update licensing and zoning regulations for restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, to better support an inclusive social nighttime culture in Toronto and to gather insights and make recommendations for its night economy advisory bodies. The report outlined recommendations for next steps including public and key stakeholder consultations that will be held from March to June 2023.

This review intersects and complements other ongoing City initiatives for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, including:

Other relevant reports

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