Summer is fast approaching and, for many, that means patio season is on the horizon.
For diners in the Beach area, it could also now mean access to more patios and bigger restaurants.
That’s because Toronto City Council voted unanimously yesterday to change a 30-year size restriction on restaurants on Queen Street East.
“Calling all restaurateurs — the Beach is open for more (and bigger) restaurants,” stated ward 32 councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon on social media after the April 26 vote.
The existing bylaws surrounding long-standing restaurant restrictions along Queen Street East have been a topic of discussion for a number of years, with ward 32 councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon repeatedly pushing for changes to the bylaws which left the Beach with the smallest restaurant size restrictions in the city. Those bylaws contributed to empty storefronts on Queen Street East, argued McMahon, noting last year that they caused West End restaurants to back out of plans to open spots in the Beach.
Past restaurant rules stated that restaurants could be no more than 165-square metres in size, exclusive of mechanical equipment, and could have a front patio only. Restaurants were required to provide one parking space per 100 square metres of floor space used in the restaurant.
The new bylaws — passed at yesterday’s regular council meeting — state that restaurants can now be 200-square metres, exclusive of the space used for washroom, kitchen or mechanical equipment, and allow a front patio as well as a flanking patio that is 50 per cent of the depth of the building. The bylaws also state that there are no longer any parking provisions attached to the restaurant.
“In 2017, we have found that restaurateurs want more freedom to create successful dining establishments. It is my hope that this change will help us attract new businesses and add more vibrancy to the Beach,” said McMahon of the changes.
Disc jockeys and dance floors are prohibited however, so those who were hoping to dance the night away will have to go elsewhere.
For those concerned about an increase in noise in the neighbourhood, the new by-law also comes in conjunction with the City of Toronto’s recently released Good Neighbours Guide, which outlines the policies and requirements placed on restaurants in the neighbourhood.
Among these are ensuring that noise on the patio does not disturb local residents, ensuring that waste is properly sorted and the establishment is free of litter, cigarette butts and gum, and posting “No Smoking” signs at entrances and exits.