construction in toronto

Toronto bar surprised by construction right outside while trying to install curb lane patio

A Toronto bar that was excited to set up their curb lane patio for the season got an unpleasant surprise when construction hit right outside their door just as they were beginning installation.

Sweaty Betty's has been known for their epic patio service long before CafeTO ever existed, but the tiny dive bar at Ossington and Queen has capitalized on the phenomenon to add much more outdoor seating, including out on the street in the curb lane.

The program is beginning for the year right now, with the first curb lane patio in Toronto opening at the beginning of May. Unfortunately, there are already issues.

"The construction has been a bit of a surprise to say the least," Sweaty Betty's owner May Brand tells blogTO.

They were told by the Ossington BIA that they had the greenlight to start setting up CafeTO patios around May 3 or 4, with the City dropping off pylons and concrete barriers.

"We were surprised to then arrive on Wednesday to find the sidewalk in front of the bar completely ripped up and a huge hole for pedestrians and customers to navigate," says Brand.

"No notice, no idea who the work belongs to and neither CafeTO or the BIA were informed either. The road in front of the bar was dug up as well, directly inside our curblane patio area."

Brand says CafeTO was not aware of the construction when they dropped off pylons, and they contacted the head of the BIA to try to get details about the construction and how they'd still be able to go forward with their patio install.

"We're installing our patio ourselves, so we spent Thursday and Friday last week trying to assemble picnic tables at the far end of our curblane space while construction workers dug up the road on the other," says Brand.

"To be honest it was a disaster of a day, the two construction crews were fighting with each other, the construction person in charge of directing traffic was hitting cars and yelling at people and we were being harassed the whole time and told to stay out of their way, meanwhile they were interfering with access into the business."

Though things are running a bit smoother now at Betty's, Brand still isn't entirely sure what work was actually done, if workers will return or what they should expect going forward. In the meantime, the back patio is operating.

Lead photo by

Sweaty Betty's


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