la paella toronto

Toronto forces local restaurant to dismantle patio it custom-built to survive lockdowns

Toronto restaurants got creative with patios during dine-in lockdowns, but now one place has been forced to remove their custom outdoor dining area.

La Paella takes up residence in a corner space in Leslieville and had built out a patio addition along one side with a full roof, strings of lights and lots of wood for a warm ambience.

Now, they've had to take it down entirely.

"We are so upset about our patio situation. The specific problem is the corner restaurants with a flankage patio," says a representative from La Paella. 

"CafeTO ordered us to take the structure down to be able to operate under their rules, and we've also been working with various offices from the City of Toronto. They differ in opinion and keep passing our case from one to the next with no avail. We have been stuck in the middle for months as they try to figure it out."

Media relations for the City tells blogTO that apparently the patio was never permitted to be constructed in the first place.

"In January 2022, the City was made aware that a structure was built without a permit and as a result, an order was issued to the owner requiring them to obtain a permit," a representative for City media relations tells blogTO.

"The applicant was also advised that they required an encroachment agreement in order to allow a structure in the City's right-of-way."

Attaching a structure to the side of the building the way that had been done at La Paella is considered a "material alteration" that requires a permit.

For now, the patio has been taken down to comply with CafeTO regulations, and the representative from La Paella says there have been promising developments with the situation.

"We are very fortunate to have support from Counsellor Paula Fletcher and the Leslieville BIA, as well as such a great community behind us. It looks like we are going to finally get the help we need," says the La Paella rep.

"Hopefully, this will get sorted soon for us and the other restaurants in the neighbourhood and city that are going through the same thing."

Lead photo by

La Paella

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