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The all-around fabrication company is molding streetscapes with its customizable temporary patios

Summertime in Toronto means patio season is in full swing. In 2020, the city introduced CaféTO, a program designed as a COVID-19 relief measure to help restaurant and bar owners access additional opportunities for revenue generation.

In 2023, Alex Wilson, founder of Anex Works, says the company saw a chance to take these temporary patios in a more customizable direction.\

CafeTO

Almond Butterfly and Patio CafeTO patios bustling in summer 2023.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work with BIAs over the years as well as participating in Winter Stations. When we were given the opportunity to throw our hat in the ring to become a contractor for CaféTO, we saw this as a chance to serve our city,” says Wilson.

When Anex Works first expressed interest in working with CaféTO, they were asked what they could offer that was different than the other contractors on the program.

“The CaféTO program is about more than providing patios. We’re telling a visual story from the street of what these businesses represent,” says Wilson.

George Street Diner

An inside look at the capacity of the George Street Dinner CafeTO patio.

The all-around fabrication shop works closely with its partnering establishments to create custom designs that tell a story.

Businesses can choose their distinct colours, customizable layouts, modular furniture and add cut logos into the structure itself.

Neighbouring restaurants Patois and Almond Butterfly have their own distinct Anex Works CafeTO patios.

Last summer, restaurants like Patois and The George Street Diner added Anex Works patio extensions to their restaurants, opting for these curated spaces. Rather than making the patio fit the space, Anex Works reverse engineers each design to fit each establishment’s requests.

“What the cities allow in terms of patio space is limited in terms of size, so we need to make sure we are utilizing it all to the best of our ability,” says Wilson.

When it comes to summer in the city, CaféTO has become an integral part of its landscape, says Wilson.

“You see it happen in European cities and it’s nice that we’re catching up. With such a walkable and cyclable downtown cityscape, expanding on the opportunity to enjoy a bite or drink at a local establishment just makes sense,” says Wilson. “The patios we create at Anex Works add a brightness to these streetscapes too, enticing people to come out and support their local restaurants and bars.”

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