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Sidewalk Cafes & Parking Patios

A valid City of Saskatoon Commercial Business License is required in order to receive a Sidewalk Cafe or Parking Patio license, which is non-transferable and valid only for the location specified on the license. The purpose of the license is to ensure Sidewalk Cafes and Parking Patios are established in a safe and orderly manner and to promote pedestrian uses and increase street-level activity.

Parking Patio Program Changes for 2020-2021

City Council has adopted temporary changes to the parking patio program.

  • Parking fees for parking patios are waived
  • Parking patios may be installed all year, provided they are at least periodically utilized

Asphalt Parking Patios

From April 27th until October 15, 2021, business improvement districts can work with the City to permit all types of businesses, including retail stores and offices, to operate patios directly on the surface of an on-street parking stall in front of their business. A wooden deck or boardwalk does not need to be constructed. The pedestrian pathway can be provided using ramps and protected by jersey barriers. 

Each business participating business is required to obtain a license. Application forms are available here.

Standards to consider before starting a Sidewalk Cafe or Parking Patio 

  • Sidewalk Cafes and Parking Patios shall be located adjacent to an existing restaurant as an accessory use and must maintain the same operating hours of the principle restaurant.
  • The operator of a Sidewalk Cafe or Parking Patio must carry a minimum of $2,000,000 liability insurance.
  • A minimum clear passage way of not less than 2.0 metres for pedestrians shall be maintained between the curb (sidewalk cafes only) or any physical obstruction such as utility poles, fire hydrants, bus shelters, parking meters, trees, benches or garbage receptacles.  
  • Perimeter fences/benches shall not exceed 1 metre in height and cannot obstruct vehicular view angles.
  • Parking Patios require placement of concrete barriers and traffic glow posts at the discretion of the Transportation and Utilities Department.

*Please visit the Sidewalk Cafe and Parking Patio Guidelines for the full list of standards. 

Approving Agencies 

Once your application is received, it will be referred to the following agencies for approval:

  • Saskatchewan Health Authority
  • Saskatoon Police Service
  • Saskatoon Fire Department
  • Internal City Departments – Transportation and Utilities Department and Neighbourhood Planning
  • If applicable, the application will also be forwarded to Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, Saskatoon Light & Power, and the local Business Improvement District.

Sidewalk Cafes are permitted year-round, consider Opening Your Sidewalk Cafe now!

Did you know that sidewalk cafe licenses are valid throughout the year?

Here are some design suggestions to make your sidewalk cafe accessible and easy to manage, even while there is still snow on the ground:  

Soak up the sun

  • If possible, locate your patio where there is sun exposure.

Stay warm

  • Consider installing temporary outdoor heating to provide additional warmth (contact the Saskatoon Fire Department for safe operation info 306-975-2520).
  • Offer blankets and other heat sources to help keep your patrons warm on cooler days. Try brightly coloured blankets that attract the eye and help draw in customers.

Plan for snow

  • Ensure you have a plan for storing snow and snow removal.
  • Consider using snow as a decorative element for your sidewalk cafe.

Cover up

  • Consider protection from the wind. Options might include using windscreens or vegetation to help keep your patrons warmer while they enjoy your sidewalk cafe.
  • Get a seasonal building permit to construct a covered area. Please contact the Building Standards Division for more information at 306-975-2645