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Custom-built walkways pop up just in time for patio season

New infrastructure designed to elevate the experience, help patrons navigate Burlington's downtown dining district, says BDBA
(Left to right) Burlington Downtown Business Association Executive Director Brian Dean, BDBA Chair Liza Bouchard-Bain and Saverio Valerio of Pop Up Street Patios are ready for patio season in the dining district.

The Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) has kicked off patio season with the installation of new walkways/pedestrian bypasses throughout the downtown small business community. Over 125 meters of new public infrastructure have been built in five strategic locations throughout the BIA (Business Improvement Area).

The bypasses will accent areas with a significant concentration of eateries, including Pine Street, John Street, Elgin Street and along the north dining corridor of Lakeshore Road. These custom-built new walkways are designed to elevate the dining experience throughout the core as they safely navigate patrons and visitors throughout our heralded dining district.

Each walkway system will feature a pair of stand-alone planter boxes with seasonal plantings to beautify the experience. There are 10 planter boxes in total stationed at the entrance and exit points to the wooden walkways. Each walkway will work to attract thousands of diners, visitors, and residents throughout the City of Burlington’s confirmed patio season in May-October 2023.

”These “pop-up” features have actually taken months to design and finance though they are being installed over the course of one day. Downtown dining is intimately linked to our brand, tourists and locals have come to view our small business waterfront community as a Mecca for dining in Halton Region. As they should, we have well over fifty exciting restaurants and eateries to explore. These installations fulfil two important parts of the BDBA’s mandate- beautification and enhancing public infrastructure, and we’re doing it all in a stylish way”, said Brian Dean, executive director of the BDBA.

Liza Bouchard-Bain, chair of the BDBA board of directors, agrees. “We could not wait one more season to showcase a centrally-managed, world-class walkway system. For too many seasons, our patio experience has been tainted by orange barriers demarking the public/private rights of way. We received significant feedback that this made for a poor aesthetic when enjoying a meal outdoors on a warm summer evening. The board listened and responded with an elevated look and feel on nearly every street corner.”

The new walkways have also caught the attention of sponsors. Good corporate citizens The Kuchma Team, Paradiso Restaurant, and Stoner & Company Family Law have signed up to add their names to the flower boxes bookending each walkway.

"This major investment by the BDBA Board comes at an important time for the hospitality industry," Dean continues. "Two thousand twenty-three is a year of transition into what we hope will be the beginnings of a permanent outdoor patio program next year. The recovery period for the hospitality sector is projected to be five to seven years before a return to pre-pandemic sales. We have found a partner in the City of Burlington to help carve a path for our restaurants’ recovery; we hope to continue this goodwill through the establishment of cost-sharing and grant opportunities in 2024."


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