Sidewalk cafes add vibrancy to our community and provide a welcoming place for people to meet, relax and dine.
In the City of Victoria, Sidewalk Café Licences allow businesses to expand their restaurant or café to provide outdoor seating into some public spaces including sidewalks, and in some cases, the adjacent parking stall. A Sidewalk Cafe Licence is required for a business to operate a Sidewalk Cafe in the City of Victoria. A Business Licence is required to obtain a Sidewalk Café Licence.
Review the Sidewalk Café Guidelines [PDF - 118 KB]
The Sidewalk Café Guidelines are intended to clarify and provide standards for sidewalk cafes in order to enhance the quality and safety of the pedestrian experience and to encourage economic vitality and street activity.
A print copy of the Sidewalk Cafe Bylaw may be obtained free of charge from the Public Service Centre located at Victoria City Hall at 1 Centennial Square. Hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Prepare Design Drawings of the Proposed Sidewalk Cafe
A site plan, front elevation, and side elevation must be submitted with the Sidewalk Café Application form. Please see the application form for more detail.
Send your completed application form and supporting documentation:
- In Person: Development Centre, 2nd Floor City Hall
- By Mail: City Hall, Attn: Business Licence Clerk, 1 Centennial Square, Victoria BC, V8W 1P6
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sidewalk Café Application forms are also available at City Hall, or download the form below:
Once your application has been reviewed, we will contact you to discuss if the application will be approved, declined, or if additional information or revisions are required. Staff target approximately 15 working days to contact you, however, processing times vary depending on the application.
Once a Sidewalk Cafe Licence application has been approved, you will need to pay the licence fee. The fee is based on the location of the Sidewalk Café in the City and the size of the sidewalk café. Unless you have paid your fee in person, ou will receive an invoice at the mailing address you provided on your application form. Once your Sidewalk Cafe Licence fee has been paid, you will receive a Sidewalk Cafe Licence. A sidewalk café that occupies a parking stall(s) is subject to the applicable fees in the Streets and Traffic Bylaw.
Sidewalk Café Licence Terms
- Licences are effective from January 16 to January 15 of the following year.
- They are non-transferable
- Licence fees are non-refundable.
Other City permits and/or applications may be required for the Sidewalk Café such as:
- Building Permits, Electrical Permits, Development Permits, Heritage Alteration Permits, Sign Permits.
- The Provincial government may also have additional requirements that must be met before a Sidewalk Cafe can legally operate. For example, if the business wishes to serve liquor, please contact the BC Liquor Control and Licencing Branch.
Sidewalk Cafe Licence Renewal
If you operate a Sidewalk Cafe in Victoria, you are required to have a valid Sidewalk Cafe Licence, which must be renewed annually. Each November, you will receive a Sidewalk Cafe Licence Renewal invoice in the mail which is payable by January 15 of the following year.
Operating a sidewalk café without a valid Sidewalk Café Licence is a ticketable offence
Changes to Your Sidewalk Cafe Licence
If you have a change of address, change of name, change of ownership, or wish to make changes to the Sidewalk Café design, please fill out the Sidewalk Cafe Licence application form with the new changes.
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