La Carnita is Pissing a lot of People Off

la carnita

La Carnita’s recently taken down patio (Image: Instagram/@La_carnita)

With the recent heat wave, you might think that all patios would be a welcome addition to any Toronto neighbourhood, but it seems like La Carnita’s new patio is pissing a lot of people off.

Just recently, La Carnita opened a beautiful fenced-in terrace, complete with greenery and an assortment of tables, just south of Adelaide along John. They have since been asked by the city to remove it. 

What’s the problem you might ask? Well, apparently the new patio was unknowingly built on a privately owned publicly accessible space or POPS. Funnily enough, the building permit was obviously issued by the city in the first place, which seems a little counter productive if you ask us.

Owner of La Carnita, Andrew Richmond, is claiming no one told him he was not allowed to put up an enclosed terrace in the plaza. He told The Star that, “I feel like we’ve been thrown under the bus and demonized… all we do is try to bring culture to the city, through art, music, and food.”

Apparently, restaurant culture is not the highest priority for some, but we kinda get what local residents are saying too. The city, especially the downtown core, is already lacking in public spaces, as neighbouring condo dwellers have begun to point out.

Of course, other local activists have chimed in since, but the initial whistleblower was Jake Tobin Garrett, manager of policy and research for the advocacy group, Park People. After noticing the newly erected patio, Garrett didn’t waste anytime sounding the alarm on his personal blog stating, “We need all the slivers of public space we can carve out in this city, especially in the downtown, and especially especially [sic] in King-Spadina.”

It all sounds a little over dramatic, but there is an ideology behind his statement – one unwanted patio could be a slippery slope leading to many unwanted patios. Case in point, La Carnita was not the first business to encroach on public space. The city also received complaints about Aroma Cafe, on the northwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton, who had set up a new patio on POPS too.

Why then are building permits being issued endorsing patios on private property in the first place? City planning spokesperson Bruce Hawkins attempted to answer this question explaining that despite a license being approved, business owners still must obey zoning regulations and other conditions.  

Whatever the issue really is, we don’t blame Andrew Richmond or other business owners as they’re only building with good intentions. Who would have predicted a fence, some chairs and umbrellas would be so upsetting?

But we also don’t really blame the local residents who are used to enjoying their POPS and obviously have a right to. Perhaps Toronto’s public spaces and the zoning regulations need to be a bit more clearly defined. As of now, owner of La Carnita, Andrew Richmond says they will be taking the patio down.

RELATED LINK: The Guys Behind La Carnita Launch their First Clothing Line 

Do you think La Carnita should be able to leave their patio up? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.