Temporary Patio Program

Temporary Patio Permit Program

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has implemented the Temporary Patio Permit Program to assist restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments (e.g. wineries, breweries, and distilleries) with creative ways to provide outdoor dining experiences during the pandemic. All temporary patios must comply with guidelines provided by the Town, the Province, and the AGCO regarding size, occupancy, and health regulations. 

Please Note:

This Temporary Patio Permit Program is currently in effect for the 2020 patio season only, ending October 31, 2020.

There are no application fees, however, any necessary maintenance completed by the Town, or lost parking revenue will be charged to the applicant.

Application Process/ Requirements

  1. Review the Town's Temporary Patio Permit Application Form to determine the necessary requirements for additional documentation such as plans, drawings, insurance, and approval letters, etc.  
  2. Prepare plans and drawings of the proposed patio expansion area in accordance with the Town's design minimum standards, safety, and barrier-free design requirements below.
  3. Complete the online Temporary Patio Permit Application Form. You should receive a confirmation e-mail once the application has been submitted. 
  4. Upon submission of a completed Temporary Patio Permit Application Form, applicants for installation on PRIVATE PROPERTY may immediately commence the installation of a temporary patio in compliance with the minimum standards as outlined below, applications for installation on any part of PUBLIC PROPERTY MUST RECEIVE APPROVAL PRIOR TO ANY WORK. 
  5. Immediately upon completion the patio, and PRIOR TO OCCUPANCY OF THE PATIO, applicants must arrange for a site visit and inspection by Town Staff who will assess the patio layout for public safety and barrier-free compliance, and, will advise the applicant/owner on any adjustments to the patio design or location.
  6. Once all requirements have been met to the satisfaction of Town Staff, a Temporary Patio Permit will be provided to the applicant. 


Patio Design Minimum Standards

  • Temporary patios shall only be permitted for existing restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments (e.g. wineries, breweries, and distilleries).
  • Barrier-free access and egress must not be compromised.
  • The deck (floor structure) must have a flush transition at the sidewalk and curb to permit easy access and avoid tripping hazards.
  • The sub-structure must accommodate the crown of the road and provide a level surface for the deck (floor structure).
  • The deck must be constructed of a slip-resistant surface.
  • The patio must not interfere with proper drainage of the roadway (curbs/catch basins in the immediate area must be free of obstructions).
  • Any gates must swing into the patio space and not obstruct the sidewalk or street.
  • The patio should not interfere with the ability of first responders to access any buildings.
  • The design is to include fencing to define the space.
  • Decorative free-standing flower pots or planting boxes are encouraged to be included in any design.
  • Patios must have vertical elements that make them visible to traffic, such as flexible posts, bollards, or landscape planters, and include reflective elements so as to be visible by traffic at night.
  • Railings and vertical elements should be a minimum of 0.91 metres (36”) and no higher than 1.07 metres (42”) in height.
  • No umbrellas or other treatments can extend into the sidewalk or travelled portion of the roadway.
  • Cooking of food and drink preparation is not permitted on temporary patios.
  • A minimum of 1.5m (5ft) clearance from fire department connections and hydrants must be maintained on a temporary patio.
  • A fire extinguisher (minimum 2A-10BC) must be available within 15.2 m (50ft) of any part of the temporary patio.
  • The temporary installations must provide a minimum of 0.3 metres (12”) from the travelled portion of the roadway.
  • Lighting will be subject to review and will be designed and installed in such a way as to not create a visual or physical distraction to travelling public on the sidewalk or roadway.
  • Tables shall not exceed a height of 0.865 metres (34”) above the finished floor of a patio (deck).
  • The patio should maintain that a minimum width of 4.5 m from the edge of the patio / to the street centerline.
  • A minimum sidewalk width of 2.4 m should be maintained where possible.
  • Temporary patios must not extend in front of adjacent tenant spaces, exits, or beyond business frontage without written permission from affected adjacent property owners and tenants; this includes any overhanging elements.
  • Required on-site parking may be used for a temporary patio. The required number of designated Accessible Parking Spaces must remain available for parking use and designated fire routes and sight triangles must be avoided. A reasonable number of standard parking spaces should be maintained to serve patrons.
  • For non-licensed establishments, the capacity of the temporary patio shall not exceed the posted occupancy of the main building.
  • For licenced establishments that do not have an existing licenced patio, the capacity of the temporary patio shall not exceed the posted occupancy of the indoor area indicated on your liquor licence or 1.11 sq. m. (12.0 sq. ft.) per person, whichever is the lessor.
  • For licenced establishments that have an existing licenced patio, the capacity of the combined area of the existing and temporary patios shall not exceed the posted occupancy of the indoor area indicated on your liquor licence or 1.11 sq. m. (12.0 sq. ft.) per person, whichever is the lessor.
  • If the patio includes the use of a tent or temporary, portable structure consistent with the content of the Ontario Building Code outlined in Subsection 3.14.1, the applicant will require a building permit if the tent meets any of the following requirements:
    • The tent exceeds an area of 60m2 (645 sq. ft.).
    • A group of tents in aggregate area and are closer than 3m apart with a combined area of 60m2 .
    • The tent is within 3m of an existing structure and exceeds an area of 60m2 .
    •  The structure is attached to a building.
  • Any tent must meet the flame resistant rating requirements in CAN/ULC S-109-M and NFPA701-1977 -“Standard for Flame Tests of Flame-Resistant Fabrics and Films” and certification of this must be supplied to the Fire Department prior to occupancy.
  • Please be advised that the occupancy load for a tent will be determined by the Town’s Fire Department and is subject to change dependent on the service of alcohol.
  • A Heritage Permit is required for the installation or construction of any permanent buildings/structures/fixtures/signs/etc on any property designated under the Heritage Act, including all properties located within the Queen Picton Heritage Conservation District.
  • If there is any work taking place in the municipal right of way you must provide staff with a traffic safety plan which clearly outlines the area of work and measures taken to promote traffic safety. 
  • Owners shall provide their liquor licence, if requested by any Municipal Officer.
  • Any Officer of the Municipality is authorized to inspect all temporary patios and require adjustments to the patio in order to address compliance with these Guidelines.
  • Any work to be done on municipal property must receive approval prior to any work being done. 

Questions may be directed to: 

Peter Todd, Town Clerk 
905-468-3266 ext. 228 | peter.todd@notl.com