With the province officially under Stage 1 of its reopening plan, restaurant patios have finally reopened with a maximum of four patrons per table, and non-essential retailers can welcome customers back in their stores at 15% capacity.
Yet, even with Toronto's CaféTO program in place, which provides space for expanded outdoor dining areas, locating prime patio space -- particularly in the downtown core -- is in hot commodity.
However, two downtown restaurants have teamed up to create a temporary, sprawling patio located on a former private parking lot site, offering residents some much-needed space to enjoy the sunshine.
Located at 229 Richmond Street, the open seating area -- aptly called RendezViews -- is a joint initiative between The Fifth Social Club and The Ballroom.
Recognized as being the largest outdoor patio in the city, RendezViews is a family and dog-friendly open space that plays live sporting events and features scores of umbrellas and picnic benches set on top of the colourfully painted asphalt.
But not only will residents and visitors alike be able to enjoy the patio this summer, but the parking lot was also recently acquired by the City of Toronto to be converted into the largest public park in the King-Spadina area in 20 years.
Last month, the City announced its plans for a significant redevelopment in the downtown core and substantial investment in the livability and vibrancy of Toronto.
The development includes creating affordable housing, a new fire hall, a new EMS post, a community agency space, and the aforementioned new public park.
“This is an exciting project on many fronts and an extremely complex transaction involving multiple partners,” said Mayor John Tory.
“It will address program needs for numerous City divisions and it will create a range of City-building opportunities, including the potential for affordable housing in the downtown core, addressing the state of good repair of City infrastructure, and the potential to create a new park, and an EMS facility – or other investments to be determined by City Council.”
Rendering of the future park courtesy of the City of Toronto
The acquisition of the parking lot at 229 Richmond Street West will enable the City to create a much-needed 24,000-sq.ft public park — funded by Parks, Forestry and Recreation — in the rapidly growing area of the downtown core.
Councillor Joe Cressy, Spadina-Fort York, says the public park has been a project five years in the making, and it will be comparable in size to Berczy Park.
“This will be the first new large park in our downtown King-Spadina community in over 20 years. In that time, the population of the area has grown from just 230 residents to an estimated 44,000 people – when all the proposed development and construction is completed. We clearly need more greenspace and outdoor areas for people to exercise, enjoy, and explore,” said Cressy.
Lead photo via emmathefifth416