Cafés and patios

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Right of Way Patios are regulated by the Right of Way (ROW) Patio By-law which has been amended and approved by Council.

Council approved amendments to the Right of Way Patio By-law in advance of the 2023 patio season, notably:

  • All right-of-way patios will be permitted to stay open until 2 am, with all patios also being subject to the City’s Noise By-law
  • A cap will be lifted on seating permits for Café Seating patios, to permit as many tables as space allows
  • Reference will be added to the Tree Protection By-law to allow review of the potential impact a new patio might have on City trees
  • Winter maintenance provisions will be added to ensure owners maintain their spaces free of snow and ice and to prohibit using patio spaces for seasonal storage 
  • Notification for new patio applications will be circulated only to property owners within 30 metres, rather than 90 metres, to align with noise and zoning by-law notifications

As part of this report, Council also approved the Urban Design Guidelines for Commercial Patios, a resource that will aid in the review of commercial patio proposals on both private property and in the right of way. The guidelines provide design details on subjects such as furniture, partitions and vegetation. 

Additional information to consider:

The Good Neighbours (Patio Season) Guide [ PDF 535 KB ]

The Good Neighbours (A-Frame Signs) Guide [ PDF 1.031 MB ]

Urban Design Guidelines for Commercial Patios [ PDF 9.670 MB ]

Café seating permit

The Café Seating program allows businesses to place limited outdoor seating located on the sidewalk and is one table deep. The number of tables permitted will be determined by an establishment’s frontage while ensuring the 2- metre clearway. Café seating can be extended in front of a neighboring property or along the edge of a sidewalk (or “Curb-side”) with the appropriate permissions.  Alcohol can be served at the café seating as long as all requirements of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario are met. Refer to the Urban Design Guidelines for Commercial Patios for additional information such as features and implementation requirements.

A Café Seating Permit is an annual permit which is valid from April 1 to March 31.

Patios on private property

Regulations for patios on private property are governed under the Zoning By-law. For more information, consult Section 85 of the Zoning By-law or contact a Development Information Officer (DIO) by calling 3-1-1 or by emailing