Skip to main content

This site uses cookies to provide you with a better user experience. By using, you accept our use of cookies.Learn More


The City of Toronto retained IBI Group to provide critical support for Toronto restaurants and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) in the reopening of its main streets, following the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing requirements.

City of Toronto
Toronto, ON
500 Restaurants supported
9,000 m New patio space
Ongoing Status

The CaféTO project exemplifies the resilience and innovation that IBI Group brings to the forefront, using strategic placemaking to re-enliven Toronto’s main streets in the face of COVID-19, and providing local restaurants with a crucial lifeline to remain in business given the challenges resulting from the pandemic.

With the provincial lockdown resulting in the closure of a third of restaurants in the city, it was essential to rapidly deploy a strategy to expand local restaurants’ customer capacity considering physical distancing requirements upon reopening. The City approved the strategy of curb lane roadway closures as a means of providing restaurants with additional patio space to safely serve their customers.

IBI worked to quickly deploy a team of international placemaking, urban design, landscape architecture, engineering and transportation experts to support the delineation and design of curb lane patio spaces. This team worked directly with over 60 BIAs, which had consulted with local restaurants to understand their interest in expanding their patio space into the curb lane. Our experts were deployed to each BIA to determine which restaurants were feasible candidates for curb lane patios. Upon these site visits, the team initiated a collaborative design process to map and produce technical drawings outlining the specifications of curb lane closures.

The swift and strategic placemaking efforts of the IBI team supported over 500 local restaurants and helped bring life back to formerly desolate streets during the lockdown. The CaféTO project showcases IBI’s unique ability to adapt and respond to societal change, leveraging placemaking to provide local restaurants with the critical infrastructure to remain open despite the provincial restrictions, and to bring Toronto’s streets back to life throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Sidewalk filled with seating for restaurants
Contact UsContact Us