The patio season battleground is outside Future Bakery’s front door
Being knee-deep in winter, we are just starting to fantasize about Toronto’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it patio season. The time for debating patio season, however, is already upon us. Last Monday marked its start, with an Annex community meeting to discuss the patios at Future Bakery and The Labyrinth. The agenda of the meeting was not as ominous as predicted. Instead of angling to shut the patios down, the meeting focused on filling some licensing gaps as the patio licences are transferred to the establishments’ new owner, Sumit Kapur (including conditions on hours and noise levels).
By all accounts, Kapur is earnestly working to find a middle ground with the Harbord Village Residents’ Association (HVRA) and Councillor Adam Vaughan. According to an e-mail from the politician, Vaughan was “clear with the applicant that [he] will not support his application until the neighbours are satisfied.” The groups will be spending the next few weeks finding a compromise.
This all comes back to that old Toronto question: When’s bedtime? Late night is prime profit time for licensed locations, and closing their patios can significantly ding the profit margin and their competitive edge. Patio owners may post “please respect our neighbours and keep noise to a minimum” signs, but no one really expects to hear crickets on a Saturday night along an established nightlife strip. We hope the powers that be find a balance between time, place and space for Future’s patios—it has repercussions for the whole city. As a member of the Save Future Patio Facebook group (who lives a block from Future Bakery) said, the worst-case scenario is that Toronto becomes a place “where fun happens behind closed doors and public space is just a means of transportation.”
We’ll follow what happens at Future, but patio ruckus stories are always welcome.