Restaurant owner hopeful CafeTO will become summer tradition


It was a popular program that spurred from restaurant owners struggling through the pandemic, and now Toronto's mayor wants to see it continue.

CafeTO helped restaurant owners expand or add patios to their properties as in-person dining was banned due to COVID-19. When asked about it today, John Tory said he wants to see the program come back next year.

"I want to (commit to next year), and I'm certainly looking at the program at the moment as having been widely successful," he says. "But I think we owe it to everybody involved in the city to take a look at it on an expeditious basis once it concludes."

It could conclude as late as November, which Hemingway's co-owner Daimin Bodnar is on board with. Bodnar adds that the program has been a lifeline for restaurants in a trying time.

"The program has been a massive success, and... with this pandemci we're in, it's a program that's necessary but it's also a program that's adding value to Toronto, to the city, to the people in this city," Bodnar says. "It might have been born out of a very difficult time, but it could be something that's come out of this and could be for years to come."

Bodnar wanted a firm commitment from the City to running the program next year, but he understands the need to consult the public first. He's also encouraged by the mayor's comments regarding the future of it.