City of Toronto passes major changes to sidewalk cafes and patios

Apr 3 2019, 1:14 pm

After calling for input from the community, Toronto city council has agreed to establish a separate chapter of the Toronto Municipal Code for sidewalk cafes, public parklets and marketing displays.

AKA: produce stands and those cafe and bar patios that are plopped onto the street.

The result of this decision is a harmonized bylaw that will ensure application standards and fees are consistent across Toronto.

This is a pretty major change for the city’s restaurant owners, as up until now, the fees for sidewalk cafes and the like have notably varied.

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Here’s what’s going to be changing.

Right now, Toronto is divided up into eight sections, each one with different fees for sidewalk cafes and marketing displays — save for Scarborough, where they aren’t permitted.

City of Toronto

Proposed changes to the fees were shared by the City of Toronto earlier this year, showing how the city’s division could be broken down to two sections.

Instead of the current eight, there will only be the Central Zone, which is essentially an expanded version of the downtown core, and the Outer Zone, each with corresponding fees.

City of Toronto

The harmonized bylaw will come into force on September 1.

According to the information shared by the city in advance of their January 31 Bylaw Review, these new fees won’t be subject to inflationary increases for 10 years. They’ll be locked in.

For restaurants or shops that are newly registering for permits to take up sidewalk space, the fees will take immediate effect.

Staff’s preparations for the new bylaw will include providing information about cafe and marketing permits via the city’s Open Data web portal.