March 2012 – Gurpreet Ghag
Now all that Paris Bakery needs is an accordion player.
After being turned down for a patio, the bakery at 645 Lansdowne Ave. at Wallace Ave. was granted a permit for an outdoor patio by Toronto council.
In a November poll of the immediate area around the bakery, 73 tenants, residents and businesses were asked to vote on whether the bakery should be allowed to have a patio. Of the 73 ballots sent out, only 32 were returned with 9 people in favor and 23 against.
Despite the low poll responsel, Councillor Ana Bailão took into account a petition put together by the owner with 300 signatures in favour of the patio.
Then, on Feb. 8, about 10 people, including the owners of the bakery, showed up for a consultation meeting at St. Sebastian Catholic School’s music room at 717 Brock Ave., and heard both sides of the fence.
On one side, the owners and a few supporters argued the patio would be beneficial to the business and the community.
On the other side, neighbours spoke of fears of being awakened in the middle of the night by drunks, less street parking and the possibility of more garbage being whipped around by the wind.
The councillor’s constituency assistant, Michael Vieira, who hosted the meeting, said the hope was to reach a compromise between the bakery’s owners and the skeptical neighbours.
Compromises proposed included early closure of the patio and alcohol restrictions. However, neither side was willing to budge enough to reach an agreement.
At the end of the meeting, Vieira thought it would be highly unlikely the patio would go through.
The owner of the Bakery, Jacqueline Beites, was furious at the low turnout and said she would continue trying to get a patio.
“What am I supposed to tell my customers? They keep on asking me about the patio,” she said.
Luckily, for her and her customers, Bailão said a few days later that the low turnout at the meeting, paired with the low turnout from the poll was put up against the original petition and the situation had to be reconsidered.
“We guessed that the people who didn’t respond (to the poll) might not have because they didn’t see a problem with it,” she said.
The proposal was then presented and passed in a Toronto East-York Council meeting on Feb. 14 with the following conditions:
– The patio is to be closed by 9 p.m. with all food, drinks, tables and chairs cleared.
– The maximum capacity for the patio will be 36 patrons, with a maximum of three patrons per table.
– Customers ordering alcohol must order food.
– No music will be permitted on the patio.
– The doors must be closed when music is being played from inside the bakery.
– Failure to meet these conditions will see the license withdrawn.
Paris Bakery will be allowed to set up the patio as soon as they receive their license and are expected to have it set up by mid-spring.