curb lane patio toronto

Toronto to begin installing curb lane patios next week

While Toronto remains under a strict shutdown implemented by the province amid the third wave of COVID-19, the city is doing everything in its power to ensure restaurants can open their patios as soon as public health restrictions allow for it.

Mayor John Tory announced Wednesday that the installation of curb lane patios — introduced through the city's CaféTO program — is set to begin on Saturday, May 8, in an effort to avoid delays for participating restaurants when outdoor dining is once again permitted.

"CaféTO curb lane locations provide expanded outdoor dining space by reallocating the public right-of-way on Toronto streets for use by restaurants and bars that have registered and been approved for the program," said the city in a statement

"Installation of these locations takes time and requires crews, equipment and the preparation of detailed traffic plans. Installing these locations on schedule ensures that they will be immediately available to operators when public health orders permit outdoor dining."

Installation is set to take place over the course of the next several weeks, and restaurant owners and operators will have to ensure the areas aren't being used while outdoor dining is prohibited and the stay-at-home order remains in effect.

According to the city, 720 curb lane cafés and 71 public parklet locations are currently being reviewed for placement during the first phase of installation, with even more planned throughout the spring and into the summer.

The latest CaféTO registration period, which ended yesterday, saw hundreds more applications submitted.

When provincial orders eventually allow for outdoor dining once again, the city says restaurant owners and operators will also be allowed to set up safe and accessible sidewalk cafés.

Toronto first introduced the CaféTO program last summer to provide much-needed aid for restaurants that were struggling as a result of the pandemic, and it ultimately supported a total of 801 restaurants in 62 BIAs as well as 96 restaurants outside of BIAs. 

The program also resulted in an additional 44 public parklets in BIAs, and the 439 curb lane closures converted a total of 9,683 metres of Toronto traffic lanes into new outdoor dining space for restaurants.

"We know at some point, we will be able to reopen again and we want to make sure we are doing everything as a City to help businesses be ready to safely welcome customers at the earliest date possible. They need these extra outdoor seats to start earning back revenue lost during the pandemic," Tory said in a statement. 

"Keeping these installations on track in May will ensure that the street patios are ready to go in hundreds of locations when public health officials determine the measures can change and outdoor dining can be allowed again."

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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