Read main content

Sidewalk Cafe

What is a sidewalk café and how do I obtain permission to install an outdoor patio for my business?

A sidewalk café is an outdoor seating area located within a public right-of-way which functions as a seasonal extension of the restaurant. In order to operate a sidewalk café, one must obtain an annual permit. 

You can download the Sidewalk Café Application, or pick one up from the 2nd floor at 350 City Hall Square West and follow the Sidewalk Café process to obtain permit approval.

A Commercial General Liability Certificate of Insurance is required in the amount of five million dollars ($5,000,000.00) per occurrence with a property damage deductible not to exceed $1,000 or as agreed by Licensor, and the applicant shall name The Corporation of the City of Windsor as an additional insured. View all the Insurance Requirements for a sidewalk café.

What are the fees associated with a sidewalk café encroachment on the public right-of-way?

Permit fee - $212.00

Indemnity fee (refundable upon final inspection) - $1,000.00

Annual fee:

  • 2016 season - $0.50/square foot
  • 2017 season - $1.00/square foot
  • 2018 season - $1.50/square foot
  • 2019 season - $2.00/square foot
  • 2020 season - $2.50/square foot
  • 2021 season - $3.00/square foot

(See CR110/2016 March 7, 2016 for Council Approval)

View the General Conditions of a sidewalk café permit.

For more information, please see the Sidewalk Café handbook.

Types of Sidewalk Cafés

There are three types of Sidewalk Cafés offered through the City of Windsor:

  • 3-Season Café – Operates from March 1st to November 30th. 
  • Year-Round Café – Operates from January 1st to December 31st.  A year-round café requires one (1) heater (propane or electric) for every ten (10) people that will occupy the patio, and heaters must be included on the Certificate of Insurance.
  • Mini Cafés – A non-licensed sidewalk café with a maximum of 2 small tables and 8 chairs. The mini café can be a maximum of 55 square feet and cannot extend more than 6 feet into the right-of-way.  Railings are not required for a mini cafe.

Pre-Approved Railing Options

To expedite the review process, the City recommends use of one of the City of Windsor Standard railing options. The applicant may choose a custom-designed railing upon approval by the City of Windsor based on conformance with the Sidewalk Café Handbook.

To view the options available for City of Windsor Standard Enclosures, please see Pre-Approved Railing Options.

Engineering Department
Development, Projects and Right-of-Way
350 City Hall Square West, 2nd Floor
Windsor, Ontario
N9A 6S1

Phone:  For general information, call 311.  For detailed inquires, call (519) 255-6257.