Toronto to launch DineTOgether program in September


Toronto is launching the prix fixe program DineTOgether as a way to support local restaurants as the city emerges from lockdown restrictions.

Similar to Summerlicious and Winterlicious, the two-week program will run from September 17 to October 3 and see participating eateries offer at least one two-course feature menu – a main dish plus appetizer or dessert.

“Think of it as an updated and reinvented Winterlicious or Summerlicious type of program, but the bottom line is the same, which is to show support to our restaurant and hospitality business after a period in which they have been very hard hit,” Mayor John Tory said during a press briefing at city hall on Wednesday.

Prices will range from $15 to $50 per person, not including drinks, taxes and tips. To encourage as many restaurants to participate, the city is making registration free and limiting eligibility criteria to being a full-service or table-service restaurant that meets public health, licensing and reopening guidelines.

The DineTOgether feature items will be available for indoor and patio dining, takeout and delivery. The special can be offered at lunch, dinner or both.

Applications for the program open on August 4 and close on August 31. The list of participating restaurants and their featured menu items will be posted at in September.

Toronto cancelled Summerlicious and Winterlicious this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indoor dining resumed in the city after Ontario entered step 3 of the reopening plan on July 16. Patio dining returned a month earlier, on June 11, after months of lockdown measures that restricted restaurants and bars to offering takeout and delivery only.

While the city has also helped restaurants with the curbside patio program CafeTO, the food service sector has been pushing for greater financial relief. A coalition representing restaurants recently demanded the federal government extend pandemic support programs subsidizing rent and wages for businesses.

On Friday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Ottawa would extend the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to October 23 “in recognition that uneven economic reopening across regions and sectors.”

The rate of support available to employers and organizations is also being increased from August 29 to September 25.




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