07/22/2013 07:52 EDT | Updated 09/21/2013 05:12 EDT

Church Street 'parklets' expand public space

Torontonians eager to relax on a patio will soon have more options in the downtown core.

Starting today a series of temporary patios, called “parklets,” are being set up in parking spaces on the east side of Church Street in the gay village.

The parklets will resemble a wooden patio you might see at a cottage, complete with wooden decking, wrap-around railings, planters, seating and shade umbrellas. They will remain in place until October, when they will revert to parking spaces.

A handful of the Church Street parklets will serve as additional seating for a local restaurants, the others will be public space where anyone can sit and relax.

Nancy Chater works with Planning Partnership, a company that is working with the area’s business association on the parklet project. She said the concept aims to enhance public space along the busy street.

“This provides an easy way to expand the public realm without a major rebuild of the street and sidewalk,” she said Monday during an interview on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.

She said a similar project last year on Yonge Street was a catalyst for the project on Church.

David Wootton of the Church and Wellesley Business Improvement Area said the parklets will draw more pedestrian traffic into the neighbourhood and its businesses.

While some are concerned the parklets will take away parking space and only benefit businesses on the east side of Church, Chater said she believes the overall effect will be positive.

“The village has great bones, some people would kill to have the problems that the village has," she said.

She said the project will help the neighbourhood "put their best foot forward" as they prepare to host World Pride next summer.