Plan to allow use of heaters to extend outdoor patio season at restaurants welcomed by local councillors

By Ali Raza, Beach Metro News

Restaurants in East Toronto and across the city can keep their patios open as the cold weather approaches.

The City of Toronto recently announced plans to allow restaurants, bars, and cafes to allow portable heaters in all outdoor patios.

It’s aimed at making outdoor dining appealing to customers in the colder weather and to help give business owners a chance to generate revenue in the face of economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s part of the city’s CafeTO program which began end of June. It’s due to end in late fall.

“I heard from many businesses and our BIAs about this, and it goes to show what strong advocacy can do,” Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher said.

“I hope everyone continues to shop local and support our wonderful small businesses.”

Portable heating devices such as propane heaters are the most common type of heater expected to be used. The city has guidelines developed by Toronto Fire Services to oversee the use of portable heaters on patios.

Locations will be monitored for safe use, and guidelines will be enforced by city bylaw officers and Toronto Fire Services staff.

Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford said an “extra month or so of service could make all the difference” for restaurants, bars, and cafes in the community.

Across Toronto, more than 760 restaurants have opted-in for outdoor patios to boost business, dozens of which are located in the Beach, along the Danforth, and Queen Street East.

Plan to allow use of heaters to extend outdoor patio season at restaurants welcomed by local councillors