City of Toronto announces plans to modify CafeTO to make it permanent – Toronto | PKBNEWS

The City of Toronto has released a report proposing changes to the popular CafeTO program that will see it transition to a more permanent and sustainable program.

The report outlines that it wants CafeTO to move from a “temporary emergency response initiative” to a more permanent program that makes Toronto’s streets more “attractive, safe and accessible while continuing to allow restaurants and bars to operate with an expanded outdoor space”.

“The proposed changes will ensure CaféTO facilities are beautiful, active and accessible,” city officials said.

The program was originally launched in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to give restaurants more outdoor dining options due to public health restrictions.

CafeTO includes opportunities for sidewalk cafes and seasonal sidewalk terraces.

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The report recommends returning to the current requirement to build temporary platforms in curbside café permit areas to ensure that curbside cafés are fully accessible, and to increase safety near street patios and address concerns about equitable access to the program.

In addition to the one-time application fee, the city said the permit fee to participate in CafeTO will be an annual fee that will be the same in all areas of the city.

He also notes that curb lane zones will be allowed from May 15 to October 15 instead of previously when they started on April 14 and lasted until November 15. All fencing must be removed by permit holders outside of the modified period.

The report also contains a recommended grant program to help companies meet the requirements.

The number of businesses using CafeTO has increased year over year as Torontonians seek to eat in more outdoor spaces. In 2020, there were 801 participating companies, 2021 saw 1,213 and in 2022, 1,327 companies.

The report will be submitted for the committee’s consideration on January 31st.

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