This has been a summer of cycling, playing tennis (poorly) on Toronto’s public courts, and eating and drinking on sidewalks — sometimes with, get this, no fencing. But winter will arrive in this part of the world at some point and that will mean having to rethink our patios. I’m certain that we’ll be doing everything we can to extend the season this year because we are already seeing that take place in other cities.
Last month, the City of Chicago launched, in partnership with IDEO, BMO Harris Bank, and the Illinois Restaurant Association, a competition called the Winter Dining Challenge. The goal is exactly what I just described. It’s to solicit creative ideas for how Chicago can make outdoor dining feasible all throughout the winter. (Chicago and Toronto have similar winters.)
Domes, pods, and heaters are likely to feature in the submissions, which makes me wonder at what point are you basically now considered to be “inside” as opposed to “outside.” Presumably fresh air needs to factor. But I should really reserve judgement until the top ideas are selected. If you’d like to submit an “idea, concept, or startup,” you have until September 7, 2020 at 11:30 PM PT. Here’s the link.