Warm Weather Brings a Fight Over Sidewalk Space to Toronto

Outdoor seating is a sign of a vibrant city. But in Toronto, neighbor complaints and conflicting regulations conspire to constrain the construction and operation of such spaces along city sidewalks, explains Valerie Hauch.
May 7, 2013, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Last year, the City of Toronto recorded 270 complaints related to outdoor patios, some dealing with noise," notes Hauch. "And then there’s the loss of precious sidewalk space, squeezing out pedestrians, moms with strollers, seniors on mobility scooters or parents with children in tow."

"Vibrant patios are one of the drawing cards of 'leading cities’ around the world, says Richard Gabriele, chair of the Beach Business Improvement Area." Yet in some areas of the city getting approval for such spaces is "almost impossible," due to neighbor opposition.

“We need to have as many patios as possible," adds Gabriele. "They’re important. When you’re inside for six months of the year, you just want to go outside for a few hours and sit.’’

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Published on Thursday, May 2, 2013 in The Toronto Star
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