Last updated: November 23, 2020 at 11:15 a.m.
The Winter CaféTO program aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help some restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios. Winter CaféTO has been extended to allow cafes on the sidewalk through the winter to support restaurants with increased outdoor dining space.
A full Winter CaféTO guidebook will be made available soon when provincial regulations are made clearer. In the meantime, restaurants that follow this design guide can establish a sidewalk café.
Learn more about the guidelines for re-opening your restaurant, bar or other food service premise while indoor dining is prohibited in Toronto as part of provincial health orders. Per provincial regulation, operators are required to record the name and contact information of every patrons that enters a dining area, other than customers who are there temporarily for pick up or takeout orders.
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Winter 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.
There is no registration required to participate in Winter CaféTO. Please follow the below steps to operate a sidewalk café as part of the Winter CaféTO Program.
Read the design guide to understand the rules about safe and proper placement of a winter sidewalk café to keep them safe and accessible.
Café operators must have copies of the following documents on hand and available to be presented upon inspection:
*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.
Please read the Indemnification Requirements Clause before proceeding.
The success of the Winter CaféTO program depends on café operators understanding their winter maintenance requirement.
Tents and Other Similar Structures
A tent/structure may be permitted on private property if the following requirements are met:
Portable heating devices, including fueled heating appliances like propane patio heaters, will be allowed on all outdoor patio types in Toronto.
It is important that everyone read, understand and follow closely these safe operation guidelines from Toronto Fire Services.
Your portable heating appliance must:
Do install your portable heating appliance:
Do not install your portable heating appliance:
Fueled Heating Appliances
If you choose to use a propane or other fueled heating appliance, please closely follow these specific safety guidelines:
Open Air Fires
All questions regarding these guidelines should be directed to Toronto Fire Services at TFS_Events@toronto.ca
Toronto Zoning By-law 569-2013 regulates outdoor patios on private property. A Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) eases some of the zoning restrictions. Although the MZO expires on November 16, 2020, the Planning and Housing Committee will consider a Temporary Use By-law to replace the MZO on October 22, 2020. You should read and familiarize yourself with the zoning regulations for your property before installing or expanding a patio on private property.
The MZO from the Province of Ontario eases zoning restrictions on outdoor patios while allowing for expanded patios on private property, including parking areas. The MZO describes area limits, restricts patios from being above the first storey of a building, and requires a patio to be set back at least 30 metres from a residential zone.
Physical extensions of liquor sales for an outdoor patio on private property are permitted under the applicable zoning bylaw, and no further action is required by business operators. However, the City may withdraw this permission if a business fails to comply with the applicable zoning bylaws or other applicable City by-laws, policies or provincial regulations.
Private patio operators are solely responsible for ensuring their patio meets accessibility (AODA) requirements, complies with the Noise Bylaw, meets fire codes and regulations, meets Ontario’s building code, meets public health orders and guidelines and any other regulatory requirements. Any conditions that apply to operations or bars (e.g. hours of operation) will apply to any expanded patio area.