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Study of Ossington hip strip is bad news for new restaurant owners and patio lovers across Toronto

Study of Ossington hip strip is bad news for new restaurant owners and patio lovers across Toronto
A dim view of Ossington (Photo by Jessica Darmanin)

When Toronto’s most notorious fuddy-duddy, Joe Pantalone, championed last May’s ban on new licences along lower Ossington, the city agreed to examine the strip in order to better plan its future. The results of the study were released last week, and—surprise, surprise—they suggest slowing growth. Among the recommendations made in the report: an ongoing ban on backyard patios, a size limit for restaurants and a regulation that would require every restaurant to provide parking spaces.

These ideas will be incorporated into a new bylaw that will be voted on by the Toronto and East York community council on November 10. Pantalone, ever reminiscent of John Lithgow in Footloose, told BlogTO that he “would fully expect it to be approved.” If it is, the new bylaw could be applied across Toronto. (Although we should note that even Pantalone is against the ludicrous parking space idea.)

Bar owners along Ossington are not amused by the study’s findings. In the same BlogTO post, Pol Cristo-Williams, owner of Sweaty Betty’s, says that lawmakers are copying the College Street bylaws that killed the vibrancy of the neighbourhood. Cristo-Williams is convinced this move will “screw up Queen West and Ossington.”

Will any of these changes stop people from going to Ossington? Cristo-Williams thinks businesses already in existence will do fine, but he believes the changes will push new restaurants to open along Dundas and at Bloor and Lansdowne instead. As Kevin Bacon proved back in 1984, if the people want to dance, they’ll dance.

• Bar Bans, By-Laws and the End of Ossington [BlogTO]

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