Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. If council moves forward with bylaw changes, eating and drinking establishments could set up pop-up patios in on-street parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. If council moves forward with bylaw changes, eating and drinking establishments could set up pop-up patios in on-street parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Patios may be popping up in Whitehorse this summer

City considers program for downtown restaurants and bars

There could be more patio options at local bars and restaurants this summer as Whitehorse city council considers a pop-up patio program.

At Whitehorse city council’s May 3 meeting, Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, brought forward the proposed bylaw and policy changes that would allow for pop-up patios downtown.

Currently, the city has a bylaw in place for adjacent eating and drinking establishments, which requires approved city sidewalk spaces for patios. It does not allow patios on street parking spots.

The proposal comes less than a year after council opted not to allow for on-street pop-up patios in city parking spots during the 2020 season. As a number of council members noted then, it it was too late in the season at that point. It takes four weeks for bylaws to pass, so the earliest approval for pop-up patios would have been mid-August.

The city had looked into the possibility after a couple of bar and restaurant owners made the request in light of COVID-19 and reduced capacity permitted indoors.

While the changes were seen as too late for 2020 at the time, some council members indicated they wanted to see the matter considered for future summer seasons.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a deep impact on our city’s businesses, creating an environment of unprecedented economic and financial uncertainty,” Ross said during his May 3 presentation.

“Eating and drinking establishments have had to reduce indoor seating capacity to meet physical distancing requirements, resulting in a significant loss of revenue.”

It’s not known when restaurants will be able to resume their pre-COVID dine-in capacity limits again.

The pop-up patio option would allow restaurant owners to offset indoor seating restrictions with more capacity outdoors while also “creating a more vibrant and enjoyable experience for people visiting and walking the downtown,” it’s stated in the report.

Under the changes, eating and drinking establishments looking to add a pop-up patio would be required to get a development permit as well as pass an inspection and have $5 million liability insurance.

The sites would allow eating and drinking establishments to place tables and chairs in three angled parking stalls or two parallel stalls with a six metre separation from the outer edge of the patio to the inside limit of the traffic lane.

Partitions would also be required to separate the area from traffic and those using the sidewalk.

It’s expected the change could result in a loss of city revenue up to $1,539 each month for each patio that’s set up in metered parking spots.

Ross noted many of the proposed regulations come from those in place for sidewalk cafes.

During council discussion on the proposed program, council members recalled the interest in such a program in 2020, adding they were pleased that staff have worked on it over the fall and winter so something could be in place this year.

“We know how important it is,” Coun. Samson Hartland said, noting the impacts COVID-19 has had on the food industry.

Questioned by Coun. Steve Roddick, Ross said the program will not apply to mobile food vendors.

Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, told council if the program is approved staff will be monitoring how it goes over the 2021 season and reporting back to council. At that time, any amendments to improve the program in future years could be made.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at


Just Posted

John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file
Catherine Elliott, Yukon acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, has announced two new COVID-19 cases in the Yukon.
Two new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Porter Creek Secondary prom cancelled

Graduating students are encouraged to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms

Jim Elliot/Yukon News
Ross and Cindy Smith are finding more reason to smile as the floodwaters that almost reached their farm house were beginning to recede on June 8.
Farms on South Klondike Highway experience severe flooding

The nearest body of water is a lake almost three kilometres away


Wyatt’s World for June 11, 2021.… Continue reading

Whitehorse courthouse interior on April 6, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
CYFN launches pilot program for community impact statements

First Nations will receive support developing statements after major crimes

Israr Ahmed speaks at a vigil at the Whitehorse Mosque to honour the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on June 10. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Yukoners gather to honour Muslim family killed in London

Like many communities across the country, Yukoners came together to honour the Muslim family murdered in London Ontario

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Runners leave the start line of the 2014 Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay Skagway. The 2021 race will start at checkpoint six and remain in the Yukon only. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News)
Klondike Road Relay returns to in-person after a virtual year

A modified, in-person Klondike Road Relay will be open to Yukoners

John Tonin/Yukon News Rang Pillai speaks at the Great Yukon Summer press conference on May 27.
‘The sooner the better’: Operators react to Great Yukon Summer campaign

The Great Yukon Summer campaign was announced May 27 and begins June 4

Mayor Dan Curtis stands in front of Minister Richard Mostyn and MP Larry Bagnell during an infastructure announcement made outside Jack Hulland Elementary School in Whitehorse on June 2. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Safety improvements planned for Whitehorse school zones

Enhanced pedestrian crosses are planned to make walking to school safer

2020 Haines Junction graduates line up for a photo on May 27, 2020 as part of a celebration parade through the village. While the St. Elias Community School is able to host an outdoor grad ceremony for 2021 grads this year, it will also host a parade and group photo as it did last year. (Marty Samis/Submitted)
Ceremonies and parades all part of 2021 grad

2021 sees old traditions return with some 2020 events adopted

A rendering of the proposed new city hall/services building and transit hub. (City of Whitehorse/submitted)
New city hall could cost $24.7 million

Council will be presented with latest plans June 7

Most Read