Toronto mayor asks city council to approve new café

CaféTO / Facebook The new café will be set in a grassy square in Toronto.

Toronto Mayor John Tory has asked Toronto city council to allow a new café in the historic lawn in front of city hall to be permanently approved.

CaféTO will be located in a grassy square and replaces the square’s traditional seating arrangement.

“Conceptual images of CafeTO have been viewed by thousands, and visitors have responded positively,” Tory said at city hall.

“Most importantly, CaféTO has been praised by the public and by our businesses for it’s sense of design and ideas around both food and barbecuing activities.”


Tory has asked council to approve the cafe’s design and operations following extensive consultations with city hall businesses, tourism boards, and city residents.

Construction of the cafe began in early 2016 and if approved by council, it will operate from mid-August.

Groups have been forming around the planned creation of a new café at city hall since the beginning of the year.

The café’s future was up in the air in February when John Ford, the former curator of the Toronto Public Library’s Canada Winter Garden, told the Canadian Press that the city was reconsidering its plans for the park.

Ford said that a bid to renovate and beautify the space with an outdoor restaurant would only be “adolescent prattle” and “perhaps alienate our public and possibly alienate people who may want to use this space as a park and art gallery.”

In a statement released Friday, Ford backed away from his earlier comments.

“CaféTO is a welcome development and, as such, the most recent Ontario Municipal Board ruling to protect the existing landmark status of the square was the wrong decision,” Ford said.

Ford’s comments were refuted by Brian Bird, director of communications for the city of Toronto, who said the city would respect the original OCFA ruling.

He added that the city has signed off on the design and will seek approval for the building’s operation when council returns on Monday.

Tory has not presented a proposal to create an outdoor restaurant at city hall in 25 years.

Leave a Comment