Sidewalk Cafes and Parklets
Sidewalk cafes and parklets 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.
Alternatively, an individual or organization may apply for a licence for a parklet. A parklet is on-street parking that has been converted to public space. The parklet cannot be used for commercial purposes, including the sale of goods or service of food or beverages and it cannot restrict the free use and enjoyment by the public. Typically, parklets provide a gathering space and a place where the public can pause to rest.
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 or Parklet
A site plan, front elevation, and side elevation must be submitted with the Sidewalk Café Application form. Please see the application form for more details.
Complete the appropriate application form:
Bring your completed application form, supporting documentation, and $50 application fee to the Public Service Centre on the main floor of City Hall.
Sidewalk Café application forms are also available at City Hall. Application forms must be completed in full and will not be accepted without supporting documents and the $50 application fee.
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.
Annual Licence Fee
Once an application has been approved, you will need to pay the licence fee and provide a valid certificate of insurance that confirms the required coverage is in place. The fee is based on the location of the sidewalk café or parklet in the City and its size. Unless you have paid your fee in person, you will receive an invoice at the mailing address you provided on your application form. Once your licence fee has been paid, you will receive a licence. A sidewalk café that occupies a parking stall(s) is subject to the applicable fees in the Streets and Traffic Bylaw.
Annual Sidewalk Café Licence Fee:
- Downtown (sidewalk): $6.20 per square foot
- Downtown (on-street parking stalls): $12.40 per square foot
- Outside downtown (sidewalk): $3.80 per square foot
- Outside downtown (on-street parking stalls): $7.60 per square foot
Annual Parklet Licence Fee:
- Downtown: $6.20 per square foot
- Outside downtown: $3.80 per square foot
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, Park 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 Licensing Branch.
If you operate a sidewalk café or parklet in Victoria, you are required to have a valid licence, which must be renewed annually. Each November, you will receive a licence renewal invoice in the mail which is payable by January 15 of the following year.
Operating a sidewalk café or parklet without a valid 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 [PDF - 192 KB] with the new changes.
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