Large sidewalk patio (with railings) permit
A large sidewalk patio permit allows restaurants and cafés to have outdoor patio seating on the City sidewalk, surrounded by a railing or other boundary. This permit is required to apply for a liquor license extension for the sidewalk patio.
The permit is valid from April 1 to October 31 (summer term) each year, and may be renewed annually. It may also be extended through the winter term, November 1 to March 31. Separate fees apply for each term.
If you don't want a railing or other boundary around the patio, apply for a small sidewalk patio permit.
Before applying for the sidewalk patio permit, you need to have a current business license allowing you to operate as a restaurant or limited service food establishment.
If you wish to serve liquor on the patio, you need to have a current liquor license for the restaurant or café, and then apply for a liquor license extension.
You also need to ensure that the space around your restaurant or café is suitable for a patio. The patio must:
- Be located immediately next to the building which the restaurant or café is located in, along either the front or the side of the building
- Leave enough space on the sidewalk for pedestrians to move around it and any other obstacles, such as street lights, parking meters, or trees. The minimum distance is 2.43 metres or 8 feet to the nearest sidewalk obstruction (a tree, parking meter post, bike rack, bench, bus shelter, and so on)
- Not block exits from the businesses next to it
- Not block access to Fire Department connections, sewer connections, or any other type of utility
Your total number of guests including the patio can't be greater than what is approved by your occupancy permit.
- If your restaurant or café is located in Yaletown, Gastown, or Chinatown, you will need to get approval from staff in the Planning department.
- If your patio straddles private property and City property, you will need both a development permit and a sidewalk patio permit.
- If your patio will have a canopy or awning, you will also need a development permit and a building permit from Development Services.
Other criteria may apply. See the full list of requirements on the application form, below.
How to apply for a large sidewalk patio permit
Before you apply, have the following ready:
- Copy of your current business license
- Drawings in 11” x 17” format of the proposed patio, front and side elevations, and the complete interior drawings (preferred measurements in metric)
- $220.82 application fee (non-refundable)
Register for an account and submit your application online:
After you apply, multiple departments will look at the application to make sure it meets City requirements (such as washroom facilities, accessibility, sidewalk clearance for pedestrians, and so on). Engineering Services will coordinate these approvals. The approvals take several weeks to complete.
If you need any of the permits or approvals listed under "Additional requirements," you will need to arrange that yourself.
For more information on requirements and regulations, please consult the design guide for large patios with sample drawings PDF file (356 KB)
Once these approvals are received, you will receive preliminary approval, and must complete the following:
- Pay the patio permit fees through your online account
- Provide a certificate of liability insurance
- Sign two copies of the Sidewalk Patio Licensing Agreement
Once the above is completed and both signed copies of the Licence Agreement are returned, you will receive authorization to construct your patio as approved.
Liability insurance coverage must meet the following minimum requirements for each location that has a large sidewalk patio permit:
- Inclusive limit of $5,000,000 P.L. and P.D. (public liability and property damage)
- Cross liability insurance
- City of Vancouver named as insured
Download our Liability Insurance Certificate PDF file (175 KB), forward it to your insurance company to complete, and upload it during your application.
After the railing is installed, contact the large sidewalk patio coordinator in Engineering Services to arrange an inspection. If the patio has been installed according to the approved design, you will be issued a large sidewalk patio permit.
To serve liquor on the patio, you also need a:
- Current liquor license for the restaurant or café
- Liquor license extension for the patio
To extend your liquor license to include your patio:
- Apply for an occupant load permit
- Once issued, send your permit to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch along with:
- Your completed LCLB application to extend your liquor license
- A copy of your patio permit