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.
The City conducted the review to:
To inform the review, the City sought feedback through targeted industry engagement, public consultations and a survey to:
City Council adopted amendments to the Licensing Bylaw and the Zoning Bylaws as part of the Night Economy Review at its meeting on December 13 to 15, 2023. The amended bylaws are to come into effect on January 1, 2025.
On January 17, 2024, the City of Toronto held the inaugural Night Economy Town Hall to shared the latest Night Economy project information including the adopted amendments.
Also introduced were the Good Neighbour Guide for Late-Night Businesses and SafeTO: A Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.
This hybrid event, held in person and virtually, was for members of the public, businesses, industry members and associations, cultural event producers and venues.
In March and April 2023, the City hosted public consultations to provide opportunities for people to share their ideas and an online public survey was posted.
On June 5, City staff shared what was heard during these consultations including general themes and high-level survey feedback.
On September 6 and 7, 2023, the City hosted two virtual meetings to gain insights and feedback on how bars, restaurants, and other entertainment venues – including nightclubs – are defined, licensed and zoned in Toronto.
Download the summary of proposal that were discussed during the sessions.
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 were held from March to June 2023.
Insights and experiences from these consultations 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 November 2023.
This review intersects and complements other ongoing City initiatives for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, including:
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