Toronto City Council approves CaféTO program improvements to better support restaurants, diners and a longer outdoor patio season

CafeTO program

On Friday, Toronto City Council approved changes and improvements to the CaféTO curb lane program that will better support restaurant operators and Business Improvement Areas (BIA), improve the experience for people dining and get more cafés in place sooner to allow for a longer outdoor patio season next summer.

CaféTO program improvements focus on the curb lane café experience and have been informed through consultation with restaurant operators and BIAs, as well as the results of an overall review of program governance and operations by City of Toronto staff.

Key improvements to the CafeTO curb lane program include:
•       Earlier installation of traffic safety equipment (such as barriers) needed to operate curb lane cafés so that at least 90 per cent of participating restaurants can open their curb lane patio by the Victoria Day long weekend.
•       A more user-friendly permit application process for new and returning restaurant operators.
•       Enhanced City staff support to accelerate permit application and platform review processes for restaurant operators.
•       More and better communications and resources that support restaurant business planning, including online webinars. Opportunities to improve the “look and feel” of curb lane cafés by painting or wrapping barriers and concrete blocks.

Made permanent earlier this year, the curb lane CaféTO program has transformed Toronto’s main streets, revitalized neighbourhoods and supported hundreds of local restaurants while helping to protect thousands of jobs during a challenging time for the hospitality industry.

This past summer, CaféTO delivered approximately 1,000 places to dine outdoors in Toronto, including more than 330 curb lane cafés, 500 sidewalk cafés (which can remain in place throughout the winter) and dozens of patios on private property.

Looking ahead to 2024, the City will continue to offer the popular CaféTO Property Improvement Program, which provides funding to restaurants to beautify their patios. The Government of Canada funds this program through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and is part of the Toronto Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative. More information is available on the City’s website:

City programs supporting vibrant restaurants and bars:
Along with the CaféTO curb lane program, Toronto’s diverse and vibrant restaurant and bar operators benefit from other City programs, including:
•       Small Business Property Tax Sub-Class (
•       Property tax reduction for live music venues (
•       Winterlicious and Summerlicious programs:
•       Night Economy planning with recommendations at Council this month (
•       Zoning bylaws to make more private patios available and permanent (
•       Amplified Live Music on Patios program provides paid performance opportunities for local musicians while enhancing the outdoor dining experience for the public (

More information about the CaféTO program is available on the City’s website:


“We are fixing CaféTO for restaurant operators now so that restaurants can be operating their outdoor curb lane patios by the May long weekend next spring, helping to ensure a great season of summer patio dining in neighbourhoods across Toronto. I want to thank City staff for their diligent work, listening to restaurant operators, and ensuring this important program works better for everyone.”
– Mayor Olivia Chow

“We are gearing up for another fantastic patio season here in Toronto next summer! Outdoor dining is a significant contributor to our local economy and brings so much vibrancy to our streets. The planned improvements to CafeTO will provide a simpler, more streamlined process for restaurant operators. I encourage our many local restaurants and bars to take full advantage of this program. By working together, we can attract more diners to the fabulous establishments that call Toronto home.”
– Councillor Shelley Carroll (Don Valley North), Mayor’s Economic Development and Culture Champion

SOURCE City of Toronto

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