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UPDATE: June 19, 2020 Phase 1 of Orillia’s patio and public realm initiative receives a green light

Posted on Friday June 19, 2020

Patrons will have more patio options in Orillia thanks to Phase 1 of the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) Patio and Public Realm Initiative approved by Council on June 18, 2020.

The first phase of the Patio and Public Realm Initiative supports local businesses by making it easier and more cost efficient to add a new or expanded patio through a streamlined approval process and increased grant funding opportunities through the Downtown Tomorrow Community Improvement Program (DTCIP).

“This is a great step forward in helping our local restaurants adapt to the new reality of operating during COVID-19,” said Coun. Ted Emond, Chair of the ERTF. “With the City supporting a streamlined approval process for patios and providing grant opportunities to offset fees, we have removed elements of red tape and are helping local restaurants increase their capacity by implementing new and/or expanded patios for their patrons.”

Restaurants that are looking to expand into the public realm (streets or sidewalks) will still be required to enter into a patio lease agreement with the City of Orillia, as there are unique space challenges and regulatory considerations in the downtown core. Applicants can apply through a new streamlined process. While staff are cognizant of the time sensitivity of these requests, the timeline for approvals will be highly dependent on the quality and completeness of applications received. On average, patio lease applications in the Business Improvement Area take approximately four weeks from submission of a complete application. A Patio Task Force has been established and a new webpage is available to help guide restaurants through this process at

In order to assist with fees related to patios, the City has streamlined the DTCIP process for patios within the DTCIP project area. Business owners can apply for grants to offset the costs of patio construction and sidewalk patio application fees within one easy application form.

Phase 2 of the Patio and Public Realm Initiative contemplates a potential road closure and animation of the downtown core. The ERTF is still finalizing the proposal for this phase of the initiative to ensure safety considerations are in place and the proposal supports all businesses in the area.

“This project was a direct result of feedback from our businesses who asked for less red tape and fewer fees.  Not only is it an important pilot in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s a great trial as we navigate how the public realm can be used in this new reality,” said Laura Thompson, Senior Manager of Business Development and member of the ERTF.

We encourage the community to shop and dine local while following local public health guidelines. A number of existing restaurant patios are already open in Orillia, and residents are encouraged to support these businesses as they continue to reopen on a broader scale.  Many retailers are also open and offering curbside pick-up and in-store shopping. Stay Safe. Shop Local. It matters now, more than ever.

For more information on the ERTF and current initiatives, visit the ERTF webpage at

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Orillia & Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at



Coun. Ted Emond     
Chair, Economic Recovery Task Force

Laura Thompson
Senior Manager of Business  Development

Jennifer Ruff
Director of Business Development and Communications
705-238-9209 (cell)