toronto patios

Toronto is going to be getting more patios than ever next summer thanks to new rules

Toronto may endure some long and brutal winters, but the city definitely knows how to take advantage of its summers, as evidenced by our dedication to patio-ing, among other things.

Although prime patio season has come and gone for 2023, residents already dreaming about next summer will be glad to know that the city is gearing up to have more patios than ever once the warmer weather hits, thanks to some regulatory changes.

A motion heading to city council in the coming weeks suggests permanently reducing the red tape required for outdoor patios with the aim to "increase dining options, provide greater activation of the public realm and increase opportunities for people to socialize."

The bylaw amendments will piggyback off of the drastic improvements the city made to its policies governing outdoor terraces through CafeTO during COVID-19, and include things like expanding patio permissions in certain zones — like parking lots and residential apartment commercial areas — and allowing retailers to sell goods in private outdoor spaces.

It will also ensure that existing temporary use bylaws enacted to help businesses with patios in recent years, which are set to expire at the end of 2023, will continue on without the public meeting and appeal process  usually required.

If adopted by city council on November 8 — after already being adopted by the Planning and Housing Committee at its meeting this week — the new rules will surely mean easier access to patio permits for more bars, restaurants, cafes and stores for summer 2024, a welcome change from this summer when many CafeTO applications were arbitrarily denied.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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