Patio Bylaw Review


This week at Transportation Committee, a new Bylaw was proposed which would regulate the use of patios placed on City sidewalks, known as right of way patios.


Patios play an important role in our communities, creating places for residents to connect, relax, and animate our streets. In 2016, 87 applications for patios on City sidewalks were received. This number is up significantly from 68 patio applications in 2005.


The purpose of the new standalone bylaw is to encourage year round animation of streetscapes, patios, cafe seating, and parklets all year. Included in the report, which you can review in its entirety here, is a proposal for two seasons – a summer season spanning from April 1st to October 31st and a winter season from November 1st to March 31st.


New patios will require a standard minimum pedestrian clearway of 2 metres as determined by the City of Ottawa Accessibility Design Standards and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and audio speakers will be permitted provided that they abide by the provisions of the noise bylaw.


Some existing patios that do not meet these standards will be grandfathered in for the duration of 2017 and requested to reach compliance with the new Bylaw for the 2018 summer season. Some BIAs in the downtown areas did raise some concerns about not being able to grandfather the 9 current non-compliant patios; however, these patios did raise additional accessibility issues such as existing on raised platforms or requiring ramps. Over the course of 2017, staff will work with each of the renewal applicants that do not currently meet the requirements of the new bylaw to determine how their patio can become in compliance in time for next year’s summer season.


I would love to hear your thoughts regarding year-long patios in the City of Ottawa. Please email any comments to me at