2.4 Outdoor Public Use Eating Areas

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The Requirements in this Section apply to:
Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly, and Designated Public Sector Organizations Private / Not-for-Profit Sector Organizations
Large Small
Yes Yes N/A

Outdoor public use eating areas typically include tables intended for public use. They are often found in places such as public parks, and on hospital grounds and university campuses.

Accessible outdoor public use eating areas can be achieved by providing accessible routes to eating areas and appropriate tables, as well as firm and stable ground surfaces around the tables for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids.


The requirements in this Section apply to newly constructed and redeveloped public use eating areas that are outdoors and will be maintained. These requirements do not apply to small organizations.

Requirements for the Design of Outdoor Public Use Eating Areas

Accessible tables
  • A minimum of 20% but never less than one accessible table.
  • Must have knee and toe clearance underneath the table to accommodate people who use wheelchairs and other types of mobility aids.
Level, firm and stable ground surface leading to, and under the accessible tables.
Ground area
Provide clear ground space around accessible tables to allow a forward approach to the tables by people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids.

Better Practice Considerations

Choice of locations
Consider dispersing the locations of accessible tables so that people with disabilities have a choice of where they would like to sit.
Selection of tables
Consider accessibility when selecting all furnishings for outdoor public use eating areas. Choosing tables that already offer appropriate heights and knee space underneath will avoid the need for specially designated ‘accessible’ tables.
Permanence of tables
Plan for the possibility of accessible tables being moved. A well-designed accessible picnic table has little value if it is moved to an inaccessible location. To prevent this, consider fixing Definition:accessible seating in place so that they cannot be moved.
Knee and toe clearance
Consider providing at least 750 mm wide x 680 mm high x 250 mm deep clear knee space below the table, with an additional toe space beyond of 750 mm wide x 230 mm high x 230 mm deep. This will allow most wheelchair users to sit close to the table.
Space around accessible tables
Consider providing at least 2,000 mm of clear ground space on all sides of accessible picnic tables, to allow unimpeded access for everyone, including persons who use wheelchairs, scooters, or other types of mobility aids.
Consider choosing slipresistant surfaces such as asphalt or well-compacted, crushed limestone screenings. For slip resistance values, refer to Appendix G.


Illustrated Technical Guide to the Design of Public Spaces