See You On The Patio Information for Businesses

The See You on the Patio program is a promotional campaign to encourage residents and tourists alike to visit the many unique and vibrant businesses Orillia has to offer. We'll See You on the Patio when you Visit Orillia!

Interested in having a seasonal patio at your business? Read below for information on how your business can take advantage of the warmer months in the Sunshine City.

Seasonal Patios

 Frequently Asked Questions for Businesses (FAQs)
 What is a Seasonal Patio?
 A Seasonal Patio means a Patio that is temporary and moveable and used on a seasonal basis between April 15 and November 15 only.
What are the different types of patios and who do I contact for each?
There are four (4) different types of seasonal patios:
 1. Bistro style patios (i.e. tables and chairs) that are situated on the sidewalk within the Downtown Area
 To obtain approval for this type of patio, contact the Downtown Orillia Management Board.
2. Built structures (such as a deck) that are situated on the municipal sidewalk and/or parking space within the Downtown Area

To obtain approval for this type of patio, the applicant must enter into a lease agreement with the City’s Corporate Services Department.  

Detailed drawings will be required which must show the number of proposed seats on the patio, dimensions of proposed patio area, width of pedestrian walkway, gap width between deck boards for the walkway, existing sidewalk, curb, parking spaces, street and any applicable items/encumbrances such as signs, stairs, trees, catch basin, and gas meter. Reflective decals are required on each post of the pedestrian walkway and therefore, please also identify the decal locations on the drawing. A detailed drawing enables City staff and others to evaluate the potential impacts, and the functionality of the proposed patio design.

If approval is received from the above agencies/departments, the applicant must then enter into a Lease Agreement with the City. The terms of the lease agreement include:

  • Insurance requirements (applicant must provide proof and maintain public liability (personal injury and property damage) insurance in the amount of at least $5,000,000.00 naming “The Corporation of the City of Orillia” as an additional insured and containing a cross-liability endorsement and fifteen days notice of cancellation or material change in circumstances);
  • Drawing must provide for accessibility for persons with a disability, the convenience and safety of patrons and general pedestrians, and for safety for vehicular traffic in the vicinity;
  • Construction work undertaken shall be in accordance with the Ontario Building Code and a building permit obtained where applicable;
  • Term is May to October;
  • Fees will be required as follows;
    • $3.12 per square foot of patio space (plus HST)
    • Approximately $1,455.39 per on-street parking space
  • Daily maintenance requirements; and
  • The applicant must also submit Liquor Licence and Health Unit approvals to the City (these items are not required to be submitted initially with the application).

3. Bistro style patios that are NOT located within the Downtown Area

No municipal approval is required, however the patio must adhere to section 5.40.5 of the City's Zoning By-law administered by the City's Planning Division

4. Built structures that are NOT located within the Downtown Area

If a patio is proposed to be constructed on a structure (e.g. decking), a building permit may be required.

If a tent over 10 ft. x 10 ft. is proposed as part of the patio, consultation with the building division would be required.

For further information visit or call 705-329-7258. 

What is considered a Permanent Patio?
Existing permanent patios that have received formal municipal approval (such as through a Site Plan Agreement process).  Permanent Patios do not require further approval unless a patio expansion is proposed. Please contact that Planning Division for any questions.
Are there additional requirements for seasonal patios if alcohol is being served?
The Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), has approved a temporary physical extension of the premises, for the period beginning no earlier than November 29, 2021, until 3:00 a.m. on January 1, 2023, for those liquor sales licensees including premises that are boats and manufacturers with a by-the-glass endorsement that meet the specific criteria.  For more information, visit the AGCO's website.
 What if my seasonal patio takes up a barrier-free parking space?
A Seasonal Patio shall not occupy any Barrier-Free Parking Space unless an alternative Barrier-Free Parking Space is provided and signed in accordance with Ontario Regulation 581 of the Highway Traffic Act.
What if my seasonal patio blocks a fire route?
A seasonal patio shall not compromise Fire or Emergency Access or Designated Fire Routes or block access to any Fire Department connections.
I’m in the Downtown Area and would like to set up some tables in front of my restaurant when the road is closed to traffic. What is the process for this?
Seasonal patios which are placed during road closures in the downtown Business Improvement Area are managed by the Downtown Orillia Management Board. You will be required to comply with a number of provisions, including ensuring that a fire lane is maintained down the length of the street. This may impact the size/width of your patio. Please contact the Downtown Orillia Management Board for more details on their patio approval process.
Where exactly is the Downtown Area?

Downtown Area refers to the City of Orillia Downtown Tomorrow Community Improvement Plan (CIP) area.  The image below provides a map of the area.  For a detailed view and information on how the CIP relates to the Seasonal Patio Program, please visit the Downtown Tomorrow CIP webpage.

I’m located on or close to an intersection or corner, can I still put out a patio?

The City, at a minimum, follows the same setbacks required for parking near an intersection. This means there should be no patios that impact the roadway or pedestrian traffic within 9 metres of an intersection controlled by a stop sign and within 15 metres of a signalized intersections.

Downtown Tomorrow CIP Grant Program

New patios and/or sidewalk "bump-out" structures in the City's Downtown Tomorrow CIP Project Area may be eligible for a Building Improvement Grant to offset costs related to patio construction (up to 50% of costs up to $15,000).

DTCIP applications for patios constructed in 2022 must be submitted in accordance with the DTCIP intake deadlines, and applicants must have either attended a pre-consultation pre-2022 or attend the community workshop in 2022 in order to be eligible to apply. The application process and execution of agreement may take several weeks to complete (depending on the quality and completeness of the submission) and therefore applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. The 2022 DTCIP grant program is set to launch April 20, 2022.

It is important to note that DTCIP Applications for Patios for Building Improvement Grants must be submitted prior to the commencement of any work and prior to application for building permit in order to be eligible for this program. 

For more information, visit the Downtown Tomorrow CIP Grant Program webpageemail Shannon Bennett in the Business Development Division or call 705-325-4900.

Outdoor Dining Domes

  • The use of “dining domes” (outdoor dining tents) as an ancillary use to a restaurant must comply with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Food Premises.
  • The size of the dining domes may result in the requirement for a building permit from the City of Orillia Building Division (705-329-7258).
  • If a heating element is being contemplated (electric, propane, etc.) the City of Orillia Fire Department must also be consulted (705-325-5201).
  • If your establishment is licensed to serve alcohol, you should confirm with the AGCO if your license would apply to the dining dome structure(s).
  • Please note that the above noted recommendations are subject to change and business owners are encouraged to contact the SMDHU and the City of Orillia prior to erecting structures of this nature.

History of the See You on the Patio Program and Reports

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in an effort to support businesses, the City of Orillia Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) was created which set out to support the Orillia and Area COVID-19 economic recession by increasing business and non-profit organizations’ capacity to survive the short-term economic impact, recover as restrictions are phased out, and return to prosperity. The ERTF implemented the See You on the Patio Program in 2020, and it has since been dissolved. Read below for the history of the program:

During the Stage 2 COVID-19 Re-opening measures announced by the Province of Ontario on June 8, 2020, Phase 1 of the Patio and Public Realm Program was implemented.

Two focus groups were held and a survey was circulated to downtown business owners. The resulting project is therefore built by Orillia businesses for Orillia businesses. 

This program was designed to achieve four objectives:

1. Facilitate and expedite the expansion of retail/restaurant capacities through the use of patio and use of the public realm across the City; and
2. Reduce and/or offset the financial costs of expanding private operations into the public realm for the 2020 season; and
3. Support Orillia businesses by promoting local retail and dining establishments as a safe place to shop and dine; and
4. Enable downtown retail/restaurant operators to expand their operations into the public realm while protecting space required to maintain the physical separation and safety of pedestrians.

The ERTF reported back to Council on the second phase of this initiative, which contemplated a potential road closure in the downtown core, as well as the use of artists, musicians and entertainers to activate the street.  

Report ERTF-20-02 - Patio and Public Realm Project - Phase 1 (Special Council June 18, 2020)

The final report on the 2020 See You on the Patio Program includes project successes, lessons learned, testimonials and recommendations for the 2021 program.

Other Resources

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit - COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Food Premises - Step 3

Technical Standards and Safety Authority - Patio Heater Safety

AGCO - Information Bulletin: Liquor Licence & Control Act, 2019 Framework Now in Effect - Updated Nov. 29, 2021