November 27, 2017


Sidewalk Café and Marketing Display Review

  • Municipal Licensing and Standards and Transportation Services have been reviewing existing regulations for the past two years
  • From 2014 to 2016, collected feedback from 850 people through:
    • 12 public meetings, 14 stakeholder meetings and online survey
    • In April 2017, conducted additional consultation and reached 390 people through:
      • Two public meetings and five meetings with stakeholders including BIAs, TABIA, accessibility advocates and design professionals


Proposed Sidewalk Cafe Bylaw

  • Harmonizes existing bylaws and establishes consistent regulations to provide clarity. Increase opportunity for local business and provide safe and accessible sidewalks for pedestrians



  • 698 licensed sidewalk cafes/patios
  • 226 licensed marketing displays
  • 65 per cent of sidewalk, cafes and marketing displays located outside the downtown core


New café options for business owners

  • small frontage café (no permit or fee)
  • curbside standing café (no permit or fee)
  • frontage and curbside split café
  • parklet café
  • curbside and parklet café combination
  • extended frontage, curbside or parklet café
  • temporary year-round café enclosures
  • retractable café


Sidewalk Marketing Displays (display of goods being sold)

  • Small displays will be allowed with no permit or fee
  • New regulations to de-clutter sidewalks
    • No overnight storage on public sidewalks on main roads
    • Setting a maximum height for the display of goods for sale
    • No more temporary marketing enclosures, with roof and walls


Public Parklets for Business Improvement Associations

  • Uses permanent parking space as public space
  • Can be sponsored and maintained by BIA or other organization



  • Minimum 2.1 metre pedestrian clearway for arterial and collector roads, allowing two people using assistive devices to pass each other
  • Accessible one-metre wide entrances
  • Cafes require white cane-detectable fencing or planters for the visually-impaired on arterial and collector streets


Application and Review Process

  • New standards for applications to ensure proper submissions and expedite review of applications
  • Delegate authority to staff to issue permit
    • Community Council had to approve in former cities of Etobicoke and North York
    • Delegate authority to General Manager, Transportation to review appeals of pedestrian clearway requirements and appeals related to parklets
    • Updated community engagement process for new café applications including:
      • Increased notice period from 14 to 21 days
      • Notification to be provided to BIA, registered resident association and local Councillor
      • Notice of application for cafes on local roads will be provided to residents living within 60-metre radius of proposed café with email/mailing address for comments or objections
      • Must be more than one objection from the public to application before refusal
      • Objection from councillor triggers a refusal of the application


New Regulations for Sidewalk Cafes

  • All permit holders must display permit in window
  • Fencing requirements dependent on street type
    • Arterial and collectors: provide fencing or cane-detectable planters
    • Local roads: no fence required, cane-detectable planters or elements at end of each patio
    • Small frontage café: not required to provide fence
    • Sidewalk cafés must be accessible and comply with pedestrian clearway requirements when a new owner takes over, or by 2025, whichever comes first
    • Increase separation between café permit area and residential area from 25 to 30 metre distance for new permits
    • Sidewalk café elements must be removed between November 15 and April 14 to coincide with snow removal



  • One-time application fee of $1,131.80
  • One-time tree planting fee of $1,300.00 – installation of two trees either at café location or nearby
    • Fee not required if there is no available space to plant a tree, a tree is already there, or application is for a parklet
    • Yearly permit fees, separated into two fee zones, to be phased-in over 10 years with capped inflation
      • Central Zone: comparable to downtown area
      • Outer Zone: remainder of city


Fee Zone

Sidewalk Café


Marketing Display


Year-round Enclosed Café


Parklet Café


Central Zone $88.31 $62.65 $133.00 $935
Outer Zone $44.14 $38.12 $66.50 $596


  • Parklet fees are based on the average size of a parking spot
  • Average total fee for sidewalk café is $2,560 in Central Zone; $1,280 in Outer Zone
  • Average total fee for marketing display is $1,130 in Central Zone; $690 in Outer Zone
  • Fee decreases for existing permit holders at first permit renewal past May 1, 2018



  • New enforcement tools include the ability to:
    • seize and remove goods
    • amend, suspend or cancel permits when required
    • cancel permit if fees not paid 90 days after expiry date, permit was obtained through false information or permit poses risk to public safety
  • Higher maximum fines
  • New set fines


Implementation of New Bylaw

  • Bylaw to go into effect on May 1, 2018
  • All existing permit holders will be required to comply with the pedestrian clearway standards, fencing and accessibility requirements when the permit is transferred to a new owner or by the permit renewal date in 2025
  • Design support and funds will be available to help existing permit holders on main streets to comply with the new bylaw
    • Funds to be used to help relocate or modify elements such as relocation of bike rings or resizing garbage/recycling bins


  • Staff will report back to Public Works & Infrastructure Committee and Licensing & Standards Committee by the end of 2020




Media contact: Tammy Robbinson, Strategic Communications, 416-338-3761,