The end is near for curb lane patios

Patio domes in Kitchener

For several months now, some restaurants have been sharing the road with drivers, allowed to set up makeshift patios in curb lanes of traffic. 

It was one small way the city tried to throw them a lifeline during the pandemic which has forced the closure of indoor dining. 

Mayor John Tory says that beginning this week those patios on the street will start to be removed. All of them will be gone by mid-November. “The reason they are starting to come down now is because, historically, as much as I hate to mention that just as I don’t like to pass along advice on Halloween, it’s soon going to snow and we have a responsibility to keep the roads clear.”

That said, a report is going to be presented to the Planning and Housing Committee that recommends the patio expansion bylaw be extended through next year for patios on sidewalks or parking lots. 

One of the ideas floating around is installing dining bubbles. 

The operators of the parking lot patio on Richmond Street, shared by The Ballroom and The Fifth have considered the bubbles but want to hear from Public Health, first, that they’d be permitted because wouldn’t that be like bringing indoor dining outside?

The bubbles are also very expensive, about $1,500 each. In order for them to make it worthwhile they’d probably need to order 20 or so and even then, would people still use them when the temperature falls below zero?