Last updated: October 1, 2020 at 11:35 a.m

Tell us what you think about Toronto’s CaféTO program.


From hitting the patio to supporting local art and shops, it’s time to get out and do the things we love with ShowLoveTO

CaféTO registration is now closed.

The CaféTO program aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help some restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios during the summer months.

A CaféTO Placement Guidebook (currently being updated) has been created to better understand program requirements and other details necessary for the safe and accessible installation of a temporary sidewalk café or curb lane café.

The City is working closely with Business Improvements Areas and restaurant and bar operators to help them understand enforcement, safety accessibility requirements, and how to maintain physical distancing, within the space, to keep customers and employees safe.

If you have any questions about this registration form or the CaféTO program, please email us at To receive updates and information on CaféTO, sign-up for the BusinessTO newsletter.

Read the staff report on CaféTO which was approved by City Council on June 29, 2020.

Learn more about the guidelines for re-opening your restaurant, bar or other food service premise while in Stage 3 of the Province’s reopening plan. Per provincial regulation, operators are required to record the name and contact information of at least one member of every party of patrons (not “every patron”) that enters an indoor or outdoor dining area, other than customers who are there temporarily for pick up or takeout orders.

Map of CaféTO Installations?

Options available for restaurants and bar operators:

  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

Diagram of a street showing four different cafe configurations. 1. Expanding existing frontage café in front of your business frontage on the sidewalk 2. Expanding existing frontage café in front of an adjacent property on the sidewalk 3. Installing a new frontage café on the sidewalk 4. Installing a café in the curb lane


Small Sidewalk Frontage Café

If you would like to install a Small Frontage Café (single line of seating directly in front of your business) registration in CaféTO is not required. Please refer to the new CaféTO Placement Guidebook (currently being updated) for installation requirements.

Requests for curb lane closures may only be approved, where feasible, following careful review and consideration by the City.

Every effort will be made to investigate the potential for a curb lane closure, but they are not guaranteed. Curb lane closures are not possible within the following areas:

  • Commercial or Accessible loading areas
  • Transit stop and taxi cab zones
  • Certain bike lane locations

Proximity to an intersection will also limit the ability to close a curb lane to ensure traffic safety and emergency vehicle access. Curb lane closures are not possible within:

Signalized Intersection:

View Diagram

  • 30.5 metres of an approaching signalized intersection measured from the closest curb edge of an intersection.
  • 9.0 metres beyond a signalized intersection measured from the closest curb edge of an intersection.

Un-signalized Intersection:

View Diagram

  • 15.0 metres of an approaching un-signalized intersection measured from the closest curb edge of an intersection.
  • 9.0 metres beyond an un-signalized intersection measured from the closest curb edge of an intersection.

Pedestrian Crossover (PXO):

View Diagram

  • 15.0 metres of a PXO located prior to an intersection.
  • 9.0 metres of PXO located beyond the approaching intersection.

Driveway/Laneway and Fire Hydrant:

View Diagram

  • 1.0 metre of a driveway or laneway.
  • 1.2 metres of a fire hydrant or directly adjacent to buildings with pumper or fire department (Siamese) connections unless clearly visible and directly and easily accessible from the street.

Read and familiarize yourself with the Ministerial Zoning Order for Toronto before installing or expanding a patio on private property.

The City of Toronto has received a new Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) from the Province of Ontario that will help ease zoning restrictions on outdoor patios while allowing for expanded patios on private property, including parking areas.

The MZO clearly describes area limits, restricts patios from being above the first storey of a building, and requires a patio to not be in or within 30 metres of a Residential Zone. The Order will expire on November 16 to coincide with the end of the CaféTO program.

Physical extensions of liquor sales for an outdoor patio on private property are permitted under the applicable zoning bylaw, and no further action is required by business operators. However, the City may withdraw this permission if a business fails to comply with the applicable zoning bylaws or other applicable City by-laws, policies or orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Restaurant and bar operators who wish to expand their patio on private property should also contact their landlord(s) for permission. Restaurant and bar owners in a business improvement area may wish to contact their BIA for design support.

In order to ensure safe operation of outdoor patios on private property, while recognizing that the CafeTO program is for 2020 only, operators may not:

  • Build or expand permanent structures like decks, walls, stairs, etc.
  • Install new fueled fire appliances, i.e. propane heaters, BBQs
  • Amplify sound of any type
  • Construct or install awnings or tent-like structures
  • Block access to fire connections or adjacent businesses

Private patio operators are solely responsible for ensuring their patio meets accessibility (AODA) requirements, complies with the Noise Bylaw and meets any other regulatory requirements. Conditions imposed by the City (e.g. hours of operation) will apply to any expanded patio area.

Portable heating devices, including fueled heating appliances like propane patio heaters, will be allowed on all outdoor patio types in Toronto, including sidewalks and curb lane cafés.

It is important that everyone read, understand and follow closely these safe operation guidelines from Toronto Fire Services.

Your portable heating appliance must:

  • Be certified by CSA/ULC
  • Meet the requirements of TSSA Act 2000
  • Be designed for outdoor use only
  • Have an anti-tilt feature that automatically shuts off the heater
  • Be free-standing, with a minimum height of 160 cm (65 in)
  • Table top heating appliances are not permitted

Do install your portable heating appliance:

  • On a non-combustible solid surface (i.e. not on grass or uneven sidewalk)
  • Out of the wind. Wind negatively impacts efficiency and can create a hazard if the unit is blown over
  • With a minimum of 1 metre (3 ft) clearance from the base of the unit to any combustible material

Do not install your portable heating appliance:

  • Under fire escapes
  • Within a means of egress or adjacent to an exit
  • Underneath a combustible structure (i.e. canopies, awnings, tents, wood framework)
  • Adjacent to or otherwise obstructing firefighting equipment like fire hydrants or Siamese connections
  • Near or attached to trees, utilities or other street elements
  • If the electrical wires need to placed on the pedestrian clearway

Fueled Heating Appliances

If you choose to use a propane or other fueled heating appliance, please closely follow these specific safety guidelines:

  • Do not store the unit indoors
  • Keep a maximum of one (1) day’s supply of propane on site
  • The maximum allowable propane tank size is a single 9 Kg (20 ) tank (approximately 10 hours of operation)
  • Do not move portable heater while the flame is open. Ensure the gas supply is properly shut off and the unit is cool before relocating
  • Follow all manufacturer safety requirements for the safe transportation, operation and storage of fuel
  • Each propane tank used must meet these requirements

All questions regarding these guidelines should be directed to Toronto Fire Services at


Tents and Other Similar Structures

  • Tents/structures are not permitted in curb lane closure areas to ensure full visibility for people driving, on bikes and pedestrians
  • Toronto Public Health Guidelines indicate that a roof, canopy, tent, awning is permitted for outdoor dining but at least two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way. More details are available here
  • For public safety and accessibility reasons, nothing may be drilled or affixed to the sidewalk or roadway
  • Do not operate a fueled heating appliance in any enclosed or partially enclosed area