On Wednesday of this week, I was asked by the community – my former community of 8 years, actually - to investigate the disappearances of the patio on the north side of the Starbucks at 1740 Avenue Road (at St.Germain) and right across from the fantastic Safari restaurant (the best Chipotle Corn Chowder in the city and amazing lamb burgers!)
This patio means a lot to the community. There is a Facebook page devoted to making this patio and the locals who frequent it into a reality show. I could totally see that. Students, local residents, real estate agents, all kinds of people flocked to that patio to sit, chat and consume Starbucks products. This patio is one of a kind in that upper-middle class area of Toronto and It was the place to be seen… And heard.
Our urban family, often spent time hanging out there with our real estate agent, Mr. Real Estate himself, Marshall Cohen or with my in-laws where the kids would watch the world go by eating oatmeal, yogurt or mint frappuccino chip (oops, that last one was me). More common was myself with a grande Americano while the kids covered themselves in yogurt or ate the pre-packaged egg, apple, cheese snack.
Ask anyone who has sat there or walked by and they will tell you about the characters who hang out there. Some seem to be there ALL the time. One common memory was of the guy with the full-length fur coat (but not a real fur coat, that’s cruel) smoking his cigars, of the elderly couple who meet there every day to chat with the neighbour and their family before everyone heads out to the office or for a stroll.
I checked online to see if the City of Toronto had posted some patio guidelines or amended the official plan to prohibit patios from the West side of Avenue Road and found only one possible link to a draft City-wide zoning bylaw amendment to the official plan relating to Patio’s, drafted by Toronto City Planning department.
Proposed rules under the draft City-wide zoning by-law
Area 2 (part of the Former City of Toronto): -rear yard patios are not permitted in CR zones -side yard patios are permitted up to a maximum 50% of the building depth
-maximum size restriction (the greater of 30m2 or 30% of GFA)
-separation from Residential zones (40m if elevated & 10m if not elevated)
-entertainment uses not permitted
Since it is not clear to me whether or not these proposals were made permanent, or even if there was a public consultation, or if the slightly raised patio was within 10 meters of the residential property to the West of the location so I reached out to my friend, Ward 16 City Councillor Karen Stintz to ask for an update as to why the city asked Starbucks to remove the patio and why one cannot be added back to that spot. I explained the value of this patio to our community and the fact that Tim Horton’s which had just opened up further north on Avenue Road asked for and was granted a permit for a kick-ass patio, yet this Starbucks location was not.
I was curious to hear what she has to say on this matter. She is very alert to issues within her ward.
As of Friday morning I had not heard back from Karen or her office, which is fine – she’s busy with some other things too, like the TTC and aggravating the Ford brothers, but I did receive word early this morning that last night the City of Toronto swept in and re-installed the patio!
Could it have been related? I’d like to think it was an oversight on the City’s side and one phone call from Karen got the ball rolling.
Now off to enjoy the sun and try something off the Starbucks hidden menu that I posted about last week! Wonder if someone from the community will buy. ;)
Above is the St. Germain location and the patio was on the right. Below is the Roe location – on the other side of the street which also lost it’s patio.
- Are you hungrier than a 5-year-old? (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)
- http://urbandaddy.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/the-not-so-secret-secret-menu-at-starbucks-revealed/ The Not so Secret Starbucks Menu Revealed.