A Toronto staff report recommends changes to help make CafeTO sustainable.
City of Toronto staff released a report Tuesday offering recommendations on how the popular CaféTO program could move forward, including charging for permits and making sidewalks and street patios accessible to businesses. Having a grant to help build
The changes will help CaféTO “move from an emergency response initiative to a sustainable program,” the city said in an accompanying news release.
CaféTO, which allows restaurants and bars to open extended outdoor spaces on sidewalks and curb lanes from spring through fall, was introduced in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic imposed restrictions on indoor dining. were
The city has covered more than $20 million in administrative costs for the program so far. Staff is recommending that application and permit fees for CaféTO be introduced and aligned with patio-related fees that pre-pandemic. The changes will mean more than $1M in additional revenue this year, according to the report.
Staff also wants the annual window for temporary patios to be shortened from April 15 to November 15 to 61 days from May 15 to October 15.
The report also recommends continuing two existing grant programs to help business owners cover some of the costs of CaféTO.
The report will be presented to the Executive Committee on January 31. If approved, the council will consider it on February 7.
Mayor John Tory said, “Cafeto is a success story for our hospitality industry, and has added to the look and feel of our city. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed changes will make CaféTO more sustainable for years to come,” said Mayor John Tory. in the news release.
Tory previously said he would support making the program permanent, which city staff recommended in an October 2021 report.
A city-funded study estimated that CaféTO generated more than $203 million in economic benefits in 2022, with more than 1,300 businesses participating.
A November 2022 public survey by the city that included feedback from hundreds of restaurant owners and patio-adjacent business owners, as well as more than 7,000 members of the general public, found solid support for the program. The report summarizes the results of the survey.
You can read the full staff report here..