East Toronto patio spaces expand into curb lanes as city allows extra space for customers

The Beacher Cafe's expanded patio space on Queen Street East in the Beach. Photo: Beach Village BIA.

By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Restaurants, bars, and cafés in East Toronto are among the dozens across the city getting curb lane closures for expanded patio space under the city’s CaféTO blitz this week.

Riverside BIA and The Beach Village BIA have a total of six and 11 curb lane closures, respectively, while more are expected to be installed in neighbouring BIAs. The Danforth BIA will have curb lane closures and expanded patios within a week, as city staff finalize plans for it and other BIAs in East Toronto.

CaféTO, a collaborative city program developed in response to COVID-19, allows restaurants, bars, and cafés to expand their patio space onto the curb lane and other public right-of-way space. The program is in place to expedite that process by speeding up the permit approvals, zoning, and other procedures.

The temporary outdoor dining areas are aimed at helping businesses recover revenue from more patrons while allowing for physical distancing. The city’s on an installation blitz this week as it rapidly expands curb lane closures for restaurants whose applications have been verified and approved.

CaféTO was approved by Toronto Council on June 29.

As of July 12, the city installed 47 curb lane closures supporting 73 restaurants across the city.

A zoning order from the province easing restrictions for outdoor patios was effective July 9 and will expire Nov. 16.

Toronto’s CaféTO program is a collaborative effort from Toronto Public Health, Transportation Services, Economic Development, Municipal Licensing and Standards, City Planning, and Strategic Communications. City departments have worked with BIAs to address concerns regarding physical distancing and seating space, among others.

Restaurants, bars, and cafés can register for the program at toronto.ca/cafeto

  • Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.

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