Toronto

Toronto allows portable heaters in bid to extend 2020 patio season

Toronto is hoping to extend the city's 2020 patio season by allowing portable heaters on all outdoor patios, Mayor John Tory says.

‘We are doing everything we can to support our local restaurant industry,’ mayor says

The CafeTO program gave hundreds of restaurants around Toronto the green light to add or expand patios amid the COVID-19 pandemic but it is scheduled to end in late fall when the snow begins. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Toronto is hoping to extend the city's 2020 patio season by allowing portable heaters on all outdoor patios, Mayor John Tory says.

Approved on June 29, the CaféTO program gave hundreds of restaurants around Toronto the green light to add or expand patios amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is scheduled to end in late fall when the snow begins.

The planned extension — which also includes patios on curb lanes — is intended to provide additional support for local restaurants by permitting portable heaters, in turn making outdoor dining more appealing to customers as temperatures drop.

"We are doing everything we can to support our local restaurant industry," Tory said.

"I heard this request from the restaurant industry and took action to help allow portable heaters to safely keep CaféTO installations and patios warm, even in late October and November, to help extend the season."

The guidelines for safe use of the portable heating devices, including fire-fuelled appliances like propane heaters, was developed by Toronto Fire Services.

The first curb lane locations were open for business on July 1. 

"This is another great example of the many ways the city has stepped up to help our local businesses through the pandemic," said Coun. Brad Bradford, Ward 19 Beaches-East York.

"By helping to extend patio season we're making the most of the incredible success of the CaféTO program on main streets across the city. 

"An extra month or so of service could make all the difference to businesses at this critical moment. This is the kind of proactive, creative response communities expect from their local government," Bradford added.

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