Businesses and customers soak up Ottawa’s very long patio season

With record temperatures in Ottawa and COVID-19 trends still high, it’s no surprise Ottawa patios were buzzing this weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, temperatures reached 23°C, making it the hottest November 5 on record in the nation’s capital.

Dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, Derek Lucas, decided to enjoy the warm weather with a pint on the terrace of the Deacon Brodies Pub on Elgin Street.

“There’s nothing better than being on a terrace, having a beer and hanging out with friends in, you know, shorts and a t-shirt in November,” he told CBC.

“Right now, we’re really enjoying this positive energy.”

The weekly average level of coronavirus in Ottawa’s sewage is high but stable, and Ottawa’s medical officer of health is urging people to wear masks in indoor and crowded areas.

So for those who wear masks indoors, an extended patio season could be good news, Lucas said.

“It’s great to be outside, where you don’t necessarily need a mask if you don’t want to.”

Simon Arbuthnot enjoys a pint of beer with his pup on Saturday afternoon at Beyond the Pale Brewing Company. (Rachelle Elsiufi/CBC News)

Perfect weather for “just hanging out”

Lucas wasn’t the only one thinking about going to a terrace on Saturday afternoon. Simon Arbuthnot has also decided to postpone his “winter chores” until next week and enjoy a beer in the sun.

“I don’t remember November weather like this,” he said.

“We thought time [is] really nice. Why not just go out and go for a walk, sit on the patio, have a drink and a bite to eat and just hang out?”

While freezing temperatures could still be weeks away, Arbuthnot is already hoping winter terraces will make a comeback this year.

They started arise more frequently when Ottawa entered the COVID-19 lockdown last winter, allowing businesses to stay open and also comply with now-lifted pandemic restrictions.

“Thanks to COVID, we enjoyed coming here and packing and putting on our ski gear and sitting on the patio,” Arbuthnot said.

“So maybe we’ll do the same thing again this year, I don’t know!”

Ken Goodhue, one of the owners of Deacon Brodies, said he couldn’t remember the last time November had been this hot – and it’s been great for the results at his Elgin Street pub. (Rachelle Elsiufi/CBC News)

Good for business too

The warm weather has also caused the City of Ottawa to extend permits for temporary patios on sidewalks and other rights-of-way until November 13. They were to end on October 31.

“We have Mayor Jim Watson to thank for his efforts on our behalf,” said Deacon Brodies co-owner Ken Goodhue.

“Not only did he waive the cost of the patio on city property, but this rebuilding of Elgin Street made a huge difference.”

There were a lot of people inside the pub and on the terrace on Friday night, Goodhue said. He said he couldn’t remember the last time a November had started with such pleasant weather.

“And I’m 76, so I go way back,” he said. “It’s so unexpected [so] you have to enjoy it while it lasts.”

Rob McIsaac of Beyond the Pale Brewing Company also says the weather has been great for business, with their patio helping them through recent ceiling repairs. (Rachelle Elsiufi/CBC News)

At Beyond the Pale Brewing Company, co-owner Rob McIsaac said October and November are usually tougher months – and the unusual weather has proven to be good for business.

It has also helped the brewery continue during recent renovations, he added.

“We were doing ceiling soundproofing last week, so we were only open outside. And the weather cooperated,” McIsaac said.

“So we ended up saving a decent amount of money.”

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