Sidewalk Cafe

What is a Sidewalk Café?

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

Types of Sidewalk Cafés

There are three types of sidewalk cafés offered through the City of Windsor:

  1. Standard Sidewalk Café (two choices for the operating duration)
    • 3-Season Café – Operates from March 1 to November 30.
    • Year-Round Café – Operates from January 1 to December 31. 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. See the Patio Heater Guidelines for further information.
  2. Parklet Café – A patio which is constructed within the limits of a parking stall, fronting the applicant's business. Operates from April 1 to November 15.
  3. Curbside Café (Detoured Walkway) - Allows business owners to extend their sidewalk café to the curb line, while providing pedestrians with a clear path of travel through the entire width of the adjacent parking stall. Operates from April 1 to November 15.

How do I obtain permission to install a Café?

The following items are required in order to apply for a standard sidewalk, parklet or curbside café permit:

    • Indicate whether the applicant will be serving liquor or using heaters on the café.
  1. Provide a Commercial General Liability Certificate of Insurance in the amount of two million dollars ($2,000,000) per occurrence, with a property damage deductible not to exceed $5,000, and the applicant shall name The Corporation of the City of Windsor as an additional insured. View all of the insurance requirements for a sidewalk café.
  2. Provide a drawing conforming to the requirements set out in the Sidewalk, Parklet and Curbside Cafe Guidelines.
    • If an approval was previously granted for a sidewalk café, and there are no changes, simply indicate this on the application and a drawing will not be required.
  3. Parklet and curbside cafés only: Complete the Parklet and Curbside Café Checklist and provide any documents required within.

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

2024 Update: All fees associated with the sidewalk café season have been waived.

The following fees will apply to future years:

  • Permit fee: $275.00
  • Indemnity fee (refundable upon final inspection): $1,000.00
  • Annual café fee: $3.00 per square foot

(See Council Decision CR110/2016, March 7, 2016, for council approval)

Sidewalk Café Railing Options

Standard Sidewalk Cafés: While the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has lifted the requirement to provide railings or barriers for sidewalk cafés, the area must be clearly defined. If the applicant elects to install railings, the following two options are available:

  1. City of Windsor pre-approved standard railing (view the pre-approved railing option available for City of Windsor standard enclosures)available for City of Windsor standard enclosures)
  2. A custom-designed railing (requires approval by the City of Windsor)

Parklet and Curbside Cafés: Railings are required for the entire area of the café or detoured walkway within the parking stall. They shall be constructed of either galvanized hollow structural sections (HSS) steel or wood at a height of 42 inches. Refer to the Parklet and Curbside Café Guidelines for more details regarding the installation and operation of a parklet or curbside café.

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

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