Here's when Toronto's curbside patios could be opening back up
Even though 2020 was by all accounts the worst year ever in Toronto for obvious reasons, it was also perhaps the best year for at least one thing: patios.
The City introduced the CafeTO program, which upgraded the outdoor dining experience at our bars and restaurants, allowing them to easily enlarge their patio space onto sidewalks and into curb lanes to keep people physically distanced and try to make the most of the summer.
And now, Mayor John Tory is planning to bring the initiative back even bigger and better this year.
HAPPENING NOW: Mayor John Tory speaking to reporters ahead of a budget committee meeting, says a major priority will be expanding the CafeTO program in the spring, which led to expanded patios such as in curb lanes. #topoli #onpoli— NEWSTALK1010 (@NEWSTALK1010) January 20, 2021
While CafeTO came to fruition quite quickly last year due to necessity, the City now has more time to consider the fine details of it, with Tory pushing for an easier registration process that would start as early as February, along with some other steps to make things move more smoothly — and quickly.
"The first approved CafeTO curb lane closure locations for 2021 could be installed as early as May, almost two months earlier than last year," the City says in a release about new enhancements to the program.
Today, Mayor @JohnTory endorsed a new #CityofTO report that recommends an expanded CaféTO program starting this spring to help Toronto’s main street restaurants and bars during the ongoing pandemic.— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) January 20, 2021
After patios were permitted to open as part of Stage 2 in June, more than 800 establishments took advantage of CafeTO by building completely new patios, or extending their existing spaces. Dozens of new parklets were also added.
It completely enlivened the city's streets, helped restaurants stay afloat, and was a resounding success after the dark months of lockdown that preceded it (and, unknown to us, would follow it).
Report recommends that the CafeTO program allowing expanded patios return for summer 2021, provided it’s permitted by COVID rules and such. Here’s how many restaurants participated last summer, per ward. https://t.co/ApGFqYf0AK pic.twitter.com/M8wal5TG1q— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) January 20, 2021
As we all sit sequestered in our homes amid a stringent lockdown and miserable winter weather, at least we can have this one glimmer of hope for a better summer in a time when there seems to be little else to look forward to.
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