Guelph’s Seasonal Patio Program

Applications for the 2024 season are now closed. If you are a new business, please reach out to [email protected].

About the 2024 program

The City of Guelph’s Seasonal Patio Program is an opportunity for businesses to activate public outdoor space, including public roadways, for commercial purposes from the months of May to September each year.

For commercial patios installed exclusively on the City sidewalk space, please refer to the City’s encroachment process and encroachment by-law.

For returning patio operators on public land who participated in the 2021-2023 pilot program, please be aware that a new application and encroachment agreement will be required to participate in the 2024 program. Changes to the 2024 program include:

  • Private property applications must go through the regular liquor licensing process and/or building permit process while the Seasonal Patio Program will be for those looking to operate temporary patios on public land only;
  • Updated patio season from the first weekend in May to the last weekend in September;
  • Updated fees that include:
    • Application Fee: $174 +HST, charged once during the application period
    • Agreement Fee: $233 +HST, charged once at the start of the 10 year encroachment period
    • Seasonal Patio Inspection Fee (if applicable): $260 +HST, charged annually
    • On-Street Rental Fee: $10 per square meter, per month + HST, charged annually for five months total
  • Inclusion of waste set-out drawings for operators in the Downtown;
  • Bi-annual accessibility inspections.


Guelph’s Seasonal Patio Program Guidelines 

Pre-approved Patio Designs: 2.75 metre set-up

Pre-approved Patio Designs: 4.3 metre set-up

Pre-approved Patio Designs: 5.0 metre set-up

Pre-approved Patio Designs: 5.5 metre set-upPlease ensure that you have read through and understand Guelph’s Seasonal Patio Program Guidelines in their entirety and ensure you have all required documentation and materials to make a successful application.

The pre-approved designs remain available for businesses to submit along with their application and must be built to the exact specifications of the drawings if approved. Any deviation from these designs may require a new drawing or building permit.

The guidelines are meant to be used as a resource for informational purposes only and it is the responsibility of businesses and patio operators to ensure compliance with any and all mandatory regulations, by-laws and third-party requirements (page 5) each and every year. These guidelines and any related Seasonal Patio Program requirements are subject to change without notice.

Key dates

  • February 1 – Applications open
  • April 1 – Applications close
  • April 15 – Applicable fees must be paid in full
  • First weekend of May – Patio installation
  • Last weekend of September – Patio teardown

Application documentation

  • One of the pre-approved patio drawings OR a detailed patio drawing that has met all requirements.
  • A copy of your current Business License.
  • A copy of your current liquor license (if applicable).
  • Waste Storage and set-out drawings.
  • A certificate of insurance for $2,000,000 in liability with the City listed as co-insured.


Patios on private property

Applications for private property, whether temporary or permanent, must go through the liquor licensing and/or building permit processes, effective January 1, 2024. Applications must comply with the City of Guelph’s Zoning By-law and the Ontario Building Code.

For questions related to building permits, please contact [email protected]. For questions related to the zoning by-law please contact [email protected].

Feedback and concerns

We are always working to improve visitor experiences to participants in the Seasonal Patio Program and value your feedback. Comments can be sent to [email protected]. We will respond within two business days.

For concerns related to installed patios, please use the Report a problem map for follow up.

For more information

City of Guelph Economic Development and Tourism
519-822-1260 extension 2533
[email protected]

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Which businesses qualify? Is it only restaurants?

Public property patio applications are open to all business types. Patio design and aesthetic must meet the program guidelines.

For private property patios, please use the liquor licensing and/or building permit processes. All patios on private property must comply with the City’s current Zoning By-law.

Can I install my patio as soon as I submit my plans?

No, patio operators must receive an approved application by the City indicating when your patio can be installed.

How long is the application process?

The application process has been streamlined to meet business needs and only one application will be required for a ten year encroachment agreement. There will be no annual application required unless patio boundaries change over time. Approval of seasonal patio applications are on a first-come, first-served basis and are dependent on the quality of submissions. City staff are available to help businesses throughout the process.

What is a pre-approved patio design?

Businesses planning to use public property for their patios have the option to use a pre-approved patio design to help speed up the application process. Below are the four pre-approved patio designs.

What level of accessibility does my patio need to meet?

Patios on public land must be compliant with the Ontario Building Code and the Facility Accessibility Design Manual. Further information is available through the Seasonal Patio Program Guidelines.

I don’t know where to start with my patio application. Who can I contact?

Please reach out to us at [email protected].

When can I begin operating my patio?

All patios must be approved through the application process with a fully executed encroachment agreement prior to beginning to operate. For patios on the public right of way, water barriers must be in place around the patio before it can be used.