New zoning order allows local restaurants to use more available space for outdoor dining in Toronto

The City of Toronto, at the direction of City Council, requested and has now 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.

As part of Toronto’s CaféTO program, which expands sidewalk patios and flankages (additional frontage when a business is on a corner lot) and allows for installation of curb lane patios, Council requested that staff submit an appeal to the province for an MZO specific to Toronto to quickly allow for modest increases to the maximum size of outdoor patios, remove restrictions that could prevent an outdoor patio located in front of buildings, and provide particular consideration for non-residential properties with dedicated surface parking in front of the building (subject to necessary parking requirements).

The MZO provides more opportunity for restaurants and bars to respond to physical distancing requirements associated with the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing the amount of outdoor space for customers. It will allow more restaurants in Toronto to use more available outdoor space to generate revenue this summer.

The MZO will expire on November 16 to coincide with the end of the CaféTO program. Indoor dining remains prohibited in Toronto under stage two of the provincial recovery plan.

Toronto City Council approved the CaféTO program on June 29 to safely make space in the public right-of-way for restaurant and bar owners in Toronto to respect physical distancing guidelines. To date, nearly 800 business operators have registered for the program, more than 550 applications have been verified, and more than 125 curb lane closures and sidewalk patio expansions have been authorized.

Local restaurant operators interested in installing a new patio or expanding an existing patio on private property do not need to register for CaféTO but should familiarize themselves with the MZO guidelines.

Read the Ministerial Zoning Order at

More about CaféTO is available at


"We know that our restaurant industry is struggling, and we’ve found a way, by working with the province, to allow businesses to use more available outdoor space so that they can generate revenue during the patio season. We need them to get back to business, while respecting physical distancing, and to stay in business, and this new order will help. I want to thank Premier Ford, Minister Clark and the Province of Ontario for moving quickly to respond to the City's request, and help support our restaurants."

- Mayor John Tory

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