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Should Toronto remove ban on public drinking?

Posted by Amy Grief / March 24, 2016

public drinking torontoEarlier this month, New York City decriminalized public drinking, along with public urination. While it's still illegal to do both on city streets, you won't get arrested if an officer finds you swilling a beer and taking a piss in Manhattan. Instead, you'll be issued a summons.

In Toronto, however, drinking in public is still very much against the law - if a Toronto Police officer catches you with an open alcoholic beverage, you can get an $125 ticket. That doesn't always deter revellers from sneaking beer into places such as Trinity Bellwoods Park, even as the police have cracked down on booze in the park.

It's perfectly legal to drink in public in plenty of other places around the world. Take Denmark, for instance. When I visited, I casually sipped on a Carlsberg one night as I took a train from the suburbs into Copenhagen.

Here in Canada, Vancouver is now considering whether or not to designate Granville Street as an entertainment district, which would enable west coasters to drink in a public area.

In Montreal, of course, it's already legal to drink in public, but it doesn't look like Toronto - and the province of Ontario - will be following suit any time soon.

We reached out to social media to see what other Torontonians though about our current drinking laws.

In our very scientific Twitter poll, 57 percent of respondents, out of 1,626, agreed that it's time for Toronto to legalize public drinking. Apparently, we're a city divided.

Here's what others had to say:

What do you think? Weigh in via the comments.

Photo by Ned Mansour on Flickr.

Other Cities: Montreal