COVID-19: CaféTO


As you may know, the Ontario Government recently released its plan for CaféTO, a program allowing restaurants/bars to extend their patios.

We will be working alongside the City with the aim of closing portions of the curb (outer) lanes along Dundas St W to traffic. The area on the street in front of restaurants and bars will be devoted to patios, while all other spaces will be dedicated space for parking. We have heard your concerns and we can assure you that there will be no lack of space for parking.

Please read below for details on how all businesses can get involved. Restaurants & Bars, you MUST read below for important details and APPLY ASAP.

Restaurants, Bars, and Other Food & Drink Establishments


If we are able to close portions of the curb lanes, you may be able to extend your premises to set up a patio space on the street in front of you, where you may serve food and alcohol (if licensed). This curb lane closure is not the same as the Solstice Festival street closure. Pedestrians must still have 2.1m of sidewalk space to walk. You will not be permitted to cook food outdoors or erect built structures. The CafeTO program is meant to help you provide seating for additional customers while indoor capacity may be restricted.

Options available for restaurant and bar operators are outlined below. Due to our narrow sidewalks along Dundas St W, Option 4 is the most feasible.

  1. Expand existing frontage café in front of your business frontage on the sidewalk.
  2. Expand existing frontage café in front of an adjacent property on the sidewalk.
  3. Install a new frontage café on the sidewalk.
  4. Install a café in the curb lane. 

Note: If the City does not close the curb lane, you may need to supply your own barriers for the street, such as planters or fencing.

In order to take advantage of a potential curb lane closure, you must take the following steps:

  1. Carefully read the CafeTO Placement Guidebook.
  2. Collect all required forms (below).
  3. Complete the CafeTO Registration Form. The City recommends that you do this as soon as possible. 
  4. Wait for confirmation from the City and The BIA.  We will be meeting with the City to look at the feasibility of every business to participate, but there is no guarantee that your patio extension will be approved. At the end of the day, this decision will be made by the City. Do not begin purchasing new patio furniture until you are given the green light. 

You should also have the following documents ready before launching the form: 

  1. A City of Toronto Eating Establishment Licence Number (starts with B71).
  2. A Completed Certificate of Insurance PDF* Download and complete this form, not your own insurance documents.
  3. A City of Toronto Café Permit Number (for existing cafés – starts with R57).
  4. A Letter of Permission from the adjacent business and/or property owner. This is only required if you are looking to extend a patio ON THE SIDEWALK in front of an adjacent business. 

Important: We will try to work with the City to allow an extended patio onto the street for every food establishment in the Junction. However, this will ultimately be the City’s decision. We appreciate your understanding. 

Fees: Fees for new and existing patio permits will be waived.

Restaurants located on Pacific Ave and Keele St: We will discuss other possible ways for you to be involved in the CafeTO program when we meet with City officials. Please complete the CafeTO Registration Form in the meantime. 


Retail and Service Businesses

We are disappointed that the City is not currently planning to permit non-food & beverage (retail) businesses to participate in the CafeTO program. However, we encourage you to consider the following options as we endeavour to increase foot traffic to the Junction this Summer. 

  1. Set up a Marketing Display directly against your building. Max 0.8 meters deep, allowing 2.1 m for pedestrians. No permit required. More information can be found on page 14 of the CafeTO Placement Guidebook.

2.   While we are skeptical that there will be enough space to erect a marketing display along Dundas St W greater than 0.8m, you may be interested in pursuing that option. Click Here for more information. 

3.  Allow a neighbouring restaurant to extend their patio in front of your business on the street. You may find that the increased foot traffic and a guaranteed captive audience sitting in front of your business is more worthwhile than a parking spot. This should not block your window. 

We will be in touch if anything changes regarding these rules. Keep in mind that bars and patios are the Junction’s best opportunity to bring people to the Junction – this will benefit everyone!