'Let’s make the best of the next 48 hours': Parklettes installed in downtown Windsor

A handful of parklettes were reinstalled across parking spaces on Pelissier Street this morning as bars restaurants prepare for patio season, but when they’ll be able to use them is another question.

The parklettes are patios that span across parking spaces — a market that was cornered by My Handmade Home in 2020.

The interior renovation and decking and fencing company pulled a strong pivot in 2020, installing eight temporary parklettes last year, thanks to a pilot project launched by the city of Windsor.

“They had some interesting requirements and so we spent a couple of days trying to design a modular system we could put up, take down quickly and store for the winter,” says Brandon Kolody, co-owner of My Handmade Home.

On budget day 2021, council once again approved waiving patio fees and the early opening of patio season on April 1.

Kolody and his crew wasted no time getting a number of patios set up out front of Craftheads Brewing Company and Terra Cotta Pizza at the crack of dawn.

Because of the modular design, the team is able to re-build each patio in just a few hours.

Craftheads owner Bryan Datoc will waste no time opening it up Thursday, but new provincial restrictions limiting out-door dining will idle the patio for four weeks, starting Saturday.

“It'll be open tomorrow at 9 a.m. We're expecting the real changes to be applied on Saturday,” says Datoc. “So let's make the best out of the next 48 hours.”

Once establishments are given the green light, Kolody hopes the parklettes are as well used this summer as they were in 2020.

“The way that downtown felt last summer in comparison to previous summers was completely different,” remembers Kolody. “Having open-air dining and large patios and the street closures that they did, it made Windsor feel a lot better than it has in a long time, even though we were in the middle of a pandemic.”

He’s also hopeful the custom patios will become an annual staple across the city, beyond the pandemic.

“It saved a lot of businesses, I’m sure,” he says.