The City of Toronto’s CaféTO program, which now supports more than 600 restaurants city-wide with increased dining capacity, will close registration to new applicants on Tuesday, August 11 at noon. The program is scheduled to end for the season on November 15.
Since Toronto entered Stage 3 of the provincial reopening plan, fewer restaurants have been applying for CaféTO. After Tuesday, program staff will continue helping local businesses by rolling-out remaining approved locations while supporting hundreds of businesses with existing CaféTO locations.
Program staff have been actively approving and installing expanded curb lane and sidewalk cafés for more than six weeks, since registration opened in June. CaféTO now supports more than 600 Toronto restaurants in 57 Business Improvement Areas, and 65 restaurants outside Business Improvement Areas. To date, 328 curb lane closures occupy approximately 8,000 metres of roadway to create safer, expanded dining options.
A key component of the CaféTO program is that all locations meet important safety, accessibility and physical distancing guidelines. Municipal bylaw officers, focusing on education first and bylaw enforcement if necessary, will continue to proactively patrol CaféTO areas while also responding to public concerns to ensure patios are safe for customers, employees and the general public, and in compliance with all CaféTO requirements.
CaféTO is a quick-start program that makes it easier for restaurant and bar owners to open patios, expand them and access additional space for physical distancing during the summer months in Toronto. The program provides more outdoor dining areas by identifying space in the public right-of-way and expediting the current application and permitting process for sidewalk cafés and parklets in accordance with public health guidelines.
Toronto City Council approved the CaféTO program on June 29. The City worked ahead of that date to pre-register as many restaurants as possible and the first curb lane locations were open for business on July 1.
On July 9, the City received a new Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) from the Province of Ontario that has helped ease zoning restrictions on outdoor patios while allowing for expanded patios on private property, including parking areas.
A cross-divisional action team from Toronto Public Health, Transportation Services, Economic Development, Municipal Licensing and Standards, City Planning and Strategic Communications has overseen the development and implementation of the program. Members of the group have worked closely with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), restaurant associations and other key stakeholders to quickly address all possible considerations while anticipating issues.
Learn more about CaféTO at toronto.ca/cafeto.
“Restaurant and bar patios are an integral part of Toronto’s economy and contribute to the energy and vibrancy of our city. This program has been a tremendous success by helping support more than 600 restaurants and creating 8,000 metres of new patio space. I want to thank City staff, TABIA and the local Business Improvement Areas for working quickly during the pandemic to make sure we continue to support restaurant owners and operators so that they could get their patios up and running as soon as possible.”
– Mayor John Tory
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.