News Release
February 22, 2023

Starting this week, local restaurant and bar owners and operators interested in expanding outdoor dining space into curb lanes and sidewalks through the City of Toronto’s CaféTO program can apply for permits online at until Tuesday, March 28 at 11:59 p.m.

Once applications are received, City staff will work with operators to create traffic management plans and develop a balanced approach to curb lane use to support businesses, including loading zones, garbage/recycling pickup zones, cycling infrastructure and pedestrian needs.

Approved CaféTO curb lane locations will be installed in mid-May and June.

Important changes to the program this year will ensure the continued success and sustainability of the program in 2023 and beyond. Changes include the phasing-in of permit and application fees over a three-year period. This year, fees will be reduced by 66 per cent with the full amount not charged until 2025.

Operators will have until August 1 to install temporary platforms in curb lane café permit areas to improve accessibility and program equity. Until this date, operators will be able to use their permitted space by deploying a temporary ramp from the sidewalk.

A CaféTO Curb Lane Pilot Program is launching this year. It will provide opportunities for Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) to design a curb lane closure that fits their local neighbourhood character. Through this pilot, BIAs will be able to work with operators to extend patio lengths, add bicycle parking or loading zones, or establish waste collection areas. BIAs have deep knowledge about their neighbourhoods and are well-positioned to partner with the City in animating and revitalizing main streets. Operators are encouraged to speak with their BIA to learn more.

Grant programs will be available to assist businesses and BIAs participating in the CaféTO program.

Through the CaféTO Property Improvement Program, $1.5 million is now available to support operators with the cost of installing a temporary platform, an increase of $1 million from the original $500,000 available. This program will match 50 per cent of the cost of eligible patio space improvements, including costs associated with renting, leasing, or purchasing accessible temporary platforms, up to a maximum of $7,500. This program is funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and is part of the Toronto Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative.

The City’s BIA CaféTO grant program will continue this year and support planter maintenance and curb lane closure design. BIAs are eligible to receive up to $5,000.

Sidewalk cafés
Obtaining a sidewalk café permit provides certainty for businesses in terms of their permitted sidewalk café space, which allows for greater confidence when considering investments in café furnishings. In 2023, the one-time application fees and the annual permit fees are being reinstated but will be reduced by 66 per cent with the full amount to be charged in 2025. Applications for sidewalk cafés are accepted throughout the year.

Patios on private property
Restaurant and bar operators may also be able to expand outdoor dining opportunities on private property. The City has enacted temporary use Zoning Bylaws to permit larger outdoor patios than would otherwise be permitted and to permit outdoor patios on parking lots, provided the parking space is not required for a residential use or is not an accessible parking space.

About CaféTO
CaféTO provides restaurants and bars in Toronto with the opportunity to expand their outdoor dining space through sidewalk cafés and curb lane cafés and infuses vibrancy along Toronto’s streets and in neighbourhoods. Businesses looking for more information can find comprehensive guidebooks and details, as well as application information at


“I encourage restaurant and bar owners and operators to check out the online resources and apply for this year’s CaféTO program before the March 28 deadline. As part of the 2023 budget we’ve made changes to CaféTO to respond to the needs of businesses that are still recovering from the pandemic. This program will now permanently contribute to making Toronto’s streets more vibrant and is an important part of the hospitality industry’s recovery from the effects of the pandemic.”
– Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park)

“Warmer weather is on the way, and that means it’s about to be patio season for our local restaurants and bars. CaféTO not only provides unique outdoor dining opportunities for restaurant owners and operators, it helps attract tourism and investment across the city by creating vibrant and welcoming streetscapes in our neighbourhoods. I encourage restaurants to participate and residents to support small businesses whenever they can.”
– Councillor Shelley Carroll (Don Valley North), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

“Toronto’s cafés and restaurants are essential meeting places for locals and visitors and contribute to the character and vibrancy of their neighbourhoods. The revised CaféTO program, with support from our government, is helping small businesses grow and thrive while providing people with beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy.”
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

For 13 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation, growth and job creation in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving productivity, growing revenues, creating jobs, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects, our Southern Ontario Spotlight, and FedDev Ontario’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.


Toronto is home to more than three 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.

City of Toronto
Media Relations
Edward Hutchinson
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario