pride toronto 2018

Toronto upset Pride charging for drinks on the go

If you're planning to celebrate in Pride festivities this year – and partake in the new beer garden on Church Street – prepare to fork out some money, and submit to random bag and I.D. checks. 

Pride Toronto has introduced a new policy for their Drinks on the Go program that requires festival-goers to purchase wristbands if they plan on consuming alcoholic beverages within the festival limits, and it's not going over well with anyone. 

Wristbands will set you back $10 for the day, or $25 for the entire weekend on top of what you'll already be spending on boozy drinks.  

In the past, Toronto's lively celebration of the LGBTQ+ community has been lenient with the (illegal) transportation of liquor and beer on the festival grounds, which officially runs along Church between Isabella and Wood Streets, and on Wellesley between Yonge and Church.  

This is the first year it'll be completely legal to purchase booze at partnering businesses like O'Grady's and beverage gardens in the vicinity and take it along with you in a can or plastic cup. 

But unlike previous years, you'll now have to pre-buy your wristband on Universe if you plan on drinking, and pick it up from various kiosks and stages around the event. 

You'll also have to bring a receipt and government I.D. (driver's licenses and passports only), and – the most unsavoury part of all of this – be prepared to be asked for them at any point during the day. 

By purchasing a wristband, festival-goers are agreeing to Pride's terms and conditions which state that all wristband holders will have their bags searched upon entering the event, and that, "Security guards may search any persons and property on the Event site at any time." 

Anything that's confiscated (including forbidden items like large umbrellas, frisbees, or water guns) will never be returned. 

Comments on Pride's wristband announcement on Facebook have been largely negative, with people calling the new policy out as "ludicrous" and a "money grab". 

One user Stephen Smith commented, "Ka-Ching! It's all about da money. Congrats Pride Toronto for your continued mission to ruin what used to be a great event." 

Commenter Krista White cited security concerns, stating, "Some folks may not be comfortable having a wristband on when they leave the area-for safety reasons. Above all though, this is the worst idea yet. I won’t be buying one." 

Meanwhile others are blasting the idea as just being plain inconvenient, subtly offering ways to bypass the whole ordeal. 

User Steffany Grieco said: "Sounds like Tim Horton's coffee cups will be making appearances this pride." 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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