With City Council support, the Downtown Orillia Management Board (DOMB) is set to participate in the popular See You on the Patio program (SYOTP) in Orillia with weekly road closures in the downtown every Friday night to accommodate additional open-air dining and shopping opportunities.
At the Orillia Council Committee meeting on May 30, 2022, the DOMB recommended that downtown road closures be approved for Friday evenings from July 1 to Sept. 2, 2022 for SYOTP. Orillia Council unanimously supported the road closure request as well as providing funding of $10,000 towards road closure operating costs and up to $5,000 towards animation and entertainment for the DOMB to manage the downtown SYOTP evenings. The funding was allocated from the Municipal Accommodation Tax operating budget. The decision was ratified at a Special Council meeting on May 30.
“We are happy to see that with support from Orillia Council, the Downtown Orillia Management Board will move ahead with weekly closures to participate in the popular city-wide See You on the Patio program. The program is critical for the continued economic recovery of the downtown as well as the community as a whole. Residents and visitors enjoy the opportunity to socialize by dining on restaurant patios, shopping our merchants, visiting our art galleries, and enjoying street animation,” said Ward 1 Coun. Ted Emond. “The program has established itself as a desirable and much enjoyed seasonal attraction in Orillia, especially in the downtown. It has provided businesses across the city with a great opportunity to be creative and expand their retail and business operations while contributing to the overall atmosphere and ambience for both the local community and visitors.”
As part of the resolution passed by Council, the DOMB will manage the road closures and animation/entertainment in the downtown and will encourage merchant members to adjust their hours to remain open longer on Friday evenings to participate in the program.
Starting on Friday, July 1, 2022, and continuing until Sept. 2, several streets in Downtown Orillia will be closed to traffic on Friday evenings from 5 to 11 p.m. to allow restaurants and retailers to expand into the street as part of the See You on the Patio program. The street closures include:
- Mississaga Street East between Front Street and Albert Street; and
- Peter Street South between Mississaga Street and Peter Street entrance to the Steenhof Building Services Group’s parking lot.
Council had previously unanimously supported the SYOTP program as a seasonal City of Orillia community-wide initiative during its April 25, 2022 meeting. Patio dining experiences are being promoted in City of Orillia tourism marketing campaigns highlighting city-wide opportunities seven days a week. The City has committed to over $20,000 in funding to promote Orillia and the program throughout the city.
“The See You on the Patio program creates an excitement and energy within the city, especially as more residents and visitors celebrate summer and as many events or festivals return. Whether you choose to dine at a patio anywhere in the city seven days a week or during the downtown street closure on Friday nights, there are many delicious options for everyone,” said Michael Ladouceur, Interim Director of Business Development, Culture and Tourism. “Make a day or night of it by checking out the wide range of retailers, services, and entertainment available. Shopping local is one of the ways we can best support our community to recover from the pandemic and beyond. We hope to See You on the Patio this summer in Orillia!”
The SYOTP program was the innovative strategic initiative developed by the Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) to assist businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic closures in 2020 and 2021. The city-wide initiative amended zoning to coincide with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission’s (AGCO) temporary outdoor extensions of licensed premises to provide restaurants and bars with the ability to expand existing patios to increase their capacity, and also featured road closures in the downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) to give merchants without patios an opportunity to expand utilizing the public realm.
For more information on the See You on the Patio program, visitvisitorillia.ca.