Indoor and outdoor dining is currently prohibited in Toronto due to Provincial health orders.

Last updated: February 26, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.

Register now for a CaféTO curb lane and/or sidewalk café.

Sign up for the free webinar about CaféTO on Tuesday, March 2 at 9:30 a.m.

The CaféTO program aims to provide space for expanded outdoor dining areas to help some restaurants and bars who are impacted by COVID-19. Restaurants and bars operating in Toronto must follow current public health guidelines as developed by Toronto Public Health and the Province of Ontario. Please visit the Province of Ontario’s website to stay informed.

Read the updated CaféTO guidebook to better understand this year’s program.

Step 1: Before Registering

For eating establishments that would like to install or expand a sidewalk or curb lane café (on the road) in 2021, please make sure to have the following pieces of information available:

  • A City of Toronto Eating Establishment Licence Number (starts with B71)
    • Some exceptions may be possible for businesses holding other licence types, please contact CafeTO@toronto.ca for further details
  • A completed Certificate of Insurance* completed by a broker/insurer
  • A City of Toronto Café Permit Number (for existing cafés – starts with R57)
  • A Letter of Permission from the adjacent tenant and/or property owner (if you would like to expand your existing sidewalk café in front of an adjacent property)

*As the city is the owner of the property to which the new or expanded café is located, this insurance is for liability only, a risk you have already been assessed and insured for by your broker/insurance company.

Step 2: Register 

Please complete the registration form, even if you have previously received permission under CaféTO.

  • We strongly recommend that you view/print a preview of the form in advance.

Step 3: Read the CaféTO Guidebook

Read the updated CaféTO guidebook to better understand this year’s program.

You will be able to apply for a sidewalk café at any time throughout the duration of CaféTO.

There will be multiple registration windows for curb lane cafés for this year’s program:

Registration Window Date Notes
Window 1 Opens Friday, February 26 at 9 a.m. and closes on Friday, March 26 Pending public health orders, the first approved curb lane closure locations from window #1 would be installed as soon as May.
Window 2 Open Saturday, March 27 at 9 a.m. and closes in May 2021 Pending public health orders, the first approved CaféTO curb lane closure locations for window #2 would be in installed in June.

More registration windows are expected to be available this summer. Please watch this page or contact your local BIA for updates.

All applicants for CaféTO will be required to submit a complete Certificate of Insurance. Comprehensive Liability Coverage of at least $1,000,000 is required. A blank copy of the CaféTO Certificate of Insurance is available for download.

Registration in CaféTO is not required to expand patios on private property. You can find details about the rules for expanding on private property starting on page 36 of the guidebook.

If your patio complies with the local Zoning By-laws, and is located entirely on private property, then you do not need permission from the City prior to installation. To determine if your patio complies with local Zoning By-laws, you may submit a Preliminary Project Review and staff will determine compliance.

If your patio incorporates structures beyond a modest fence or guardrail, such as a platform or tent, then a building permit may be required. If you have a question regarding the requirements for a building permit, Contact Toronto Building by calling 416-397-5330 Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

As part of registration for curb lane cafés, restaurant and bar operators are able to apply for a temporary platform to be built within the curb lane café space.

Applications for temporary platforms require additional documentation, including photographs of the proposed space, and drawings and site plans stamped by an architect or engineer, or signed by a BCIN (Building Code Identification Number) licensed designer.

Be sure to read the requirements for permission of temporary platforms before applying. Please carefully review this section starting on page 33 of the CaféTO guidebook.

Please keep in mind that CaféTO is a temporary program and permission to install a platform in 2021 does not guarantee permission for a platform in future years.

It is the responsibility of CaféTO participants to follow the rules and ensure that their café is accessible for your patrons, and that their café does not impact the ability of people to use the sidewalk.

The CaféTO guidebook contains important rules that CaféTO operators must follow, such as maintain the pedestrian clearway, cane-detectability and colour contrasting of café materials.

The guidebook also has some suggestions to improve the accessibility of their outdoor dining space, including furniture choice and layout of the café. Please carefully review this section starting on page 12 of the CaféTO guidebook.

Add your restaurant to Destination Toronto’s ToGoToronto.com, a free listing of more than 700 Toronto restaurants that are open for safe takeout, delivery and patios as public health restrictions allow.

CaféTO is a part of the City’s ShowLoveTO initiative, launched in association with Founding Sponsor American Express and in partnership with Destination Toronto, to help Toronto businesses, neighbourhoods and residents safely recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To receive updates and information on CaféTO, sign-up for the BusinessTOnewsletter