Toronto City Council gives thumbs up to 'improved' CaféTO ahead of summer 2021


When the weather warms up, you’ll start to see restaurants and bars open up patios on sidewalks and lanes of traffic where allowed.

City council has voted to approve an improved CaféTO program which helped some of those hardest hit businesses survive the pandemic last year.

Director of Transportation Barbara Gray says she understands the urgency.

“We are quite aware that businesses are eager to get started as soon as possible we will be opening the registration process at the end of February which will give everybody a little bit of time to plan,” Gray said Friday.

According to the City, a Toronto-led CaféTO survey of approximately 2,800 respondents, comprising restaurant and bar owners, operators, and members of the public, indicated the following:

  • 95 per cent of respondents want to see CaféTO operate in 2021.
  • 90 per cent of those surveyed were very satisfied or satisfied with their patio experience.
  • 66 per cent of operators said their restaurant would not have been financially viable without CaféTO.


“We are bringing CaféTO back and it will be bigger and better this year,” said Mayor John Tory.

Today, City Council unanimously approved the new #CafeTO program.

This program was a lifeline for our local restaurants and bars.

I look forward to bringing back #CafeTO bigger and better this Spring.

— John Tory (@JohnTory) February 5, 2021

“The restaurant operators and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) we have heard from are enthusiastic about the return of this program because it has helped local businesses stay in business, helped protect jobs, and CaféTO has improved the quality of life in our city for residents.”

There’s always room for improvement, Tory says.

“We will make it even more enjoyable for the people to go and dispense of some of the revenue with these hardworking and restaurateurs and bar owners.”

In 2020, CaféTO supported 801 restaurants in 62 BIAs, as well as 96 restaurants outside of BIAs.