As approved by Guelph City Council last month, the City of Guelph will open the proverbial door for the first downtown dining district this weekend. The intersection at Wyndham and Macdonell Streets will be closed to allow restaurants to extend their patios into the streets for the weekend in what the City is calling a “pilot” to assess the viability of these districts before more of them are approved.
“We’re excited to be working with the City on our path towards economic recovery here in downtown Guelph,” said Marty Williams, executive director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association in a statement. “Expanding patios helps restaurants make room for people who want to come support our downtown businesses and enjoy our vibrant downtown culture, while supporting these businesses and keeping everyone safe.”
Wyndham Street will be closed between Cork and Carden Streets, and Macdonell Street will be closed between the parking lot by Breezy Corners to the entrance to the West Parkade. The streets will be closed from 8 am on Saturday July 4 to 7 am on July 6. The map of the dining district area is below:
The Macdonell, Baker and Wyndham Street lots will be available for two-hour free parking during the dining district pilot, while Guelph Transit buses 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, 99, Community North and Community South will be re-routed around the district for Saturday and Sunday. All sidewalks will remain open, and all shops and stores in the district will remain accessible and open for business.
“We’re working with the Downtown Guelph Business Association to create more outdoor dining space this patio season to support businesses recovering from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Christine Chapman, acting manager of Economic Development. “Public safety remains our priority, and outdoor patios still need to comply with public health requirements and provincial orders.”
At the COVID-19 response meeting on June 17, city council approved a series of measures to suspend select bylaws to allow for the creation of temporary seasonal patios in streets and parking spaces, and to give City staff the authority to approve and administer the pilot program for 2020. The concept came out of one of the working tables at the City, and the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Recovery.
Future temporary dining districts will be approved as plans are finalized, and after staff assesses the needs and accomplishments of this initial test closure.