alcohol in parks

Alcohol in parks in Toronto is now permanent but some neighbourhoods are not happy

Toronto's Alcohol in Parks Pilot program has officially been made permanent after years of debate about formally sanctioning something many residents already did without permission.

Following a rollout in select parks last summer to test the waters, city council made the initiative permanent at those same locations and more during a meeting Thursday.

Though the move was anticipated after the pilot's success, some are not happy about the decision and how it might affect their neighbourhoods, as each ward will eventually be asked to have at least one park where those over the legal drinking age can sip adult beverages freely.

Most notably opposed to the idea early on were Ward 24 Scarborough–Guildwood Councillor Paul Ainslie, Ward 8 Eglinton–Lawrence Councillor Mike Colle and Ward 2–Etobicoke Centre Councillor Stephen Holyday.

Ward 6–York Centre Councillor James Pasternack also vowed to "vigorously oppose" the policy, calling it "doomed" on social media in June.

In yesterday's council meeting, he requested that zero parks in his ward permit drinking when the permanent program goes into effect, stating "a little over half of people are opposed or neutral to this policy — that doesn't sound like overwhelming support for this kind of rollout."

(Based on the City's poll, 46 per cent of constituents support drinking in parks, 30 per cent do not and 23 per cent are neutral.)

He also expressed safety concerns despite the fact that the City found that last year's pilot created "few issues," led to no uptick in emergency room visits, and was met with a 92 per cent level of satisfaction among park visitors, with a report saying "respondents felt safe, and people who chose to drink at the park were considerate."

Holyday, Ward 5–York South-Weston Councillor Frances Nunziata, Ward 7–Humber River-Black Creek Councillor Anthony Perruzza and Ward 1–Etobicoke North Councillor Vince Crisanti also moved for there to be no parks allowing alcohol consumption in their wards.

Still, the rest of council overruled them in voting that the pilot become permanent and that there be at least one alcohol-permitting park per ward, even theirs. Some wards will have as many as seven, according to the motions approved yesterday. (Though there is no word yet on the future of those 'Alcohol in Parks' signs that everyone hated).

The following parks will transition to authorize alcohol consumption on a permanent basis with restrictions for health and safety, with some additions to come:

  • Ashtonbee Reservoir Park, 21 Ashtonbee Road
  • Bert Robinson Park, 400 Caledonia Road
  • Botany Hill Park, 277 Orton Park Road
  • Campbell Avenue Playground and Park, 225 Campbell Avenue
  • Cedarvale Park, 443 Arlington Avenue
  • Christie Pits Park, 750 Bloor Street West
  • Cloverdale Park, 85 Shaver Avenue South
  • Confederation Park, 250 Dolly Varden Boulevard
  • Corktown Common, 155 Bayview Avenue
  • Dieppe Park, 455 Cosburn Avenue
  • Dovercourt Park, 155 Bartlett Avenue
  • Dufferin Grove Park, 875 Dufferin Street
  • Earlscourt Park, 1200 Lansdowne Avenue
  • East Lynn Park, 1949 Danforth Avenue
  • East Toronto Athletic Field, 175 Main Street
  • Eglinton Park , 200 Eglinton Avenue West
  • Etobicoke Valley Park, 615 Horner Avenue
  • Fairfield Park, 90 Lothian Avenue
  • Grand Avenue Park, 1 Grand Avenue
  • Greenwood Park, 150 Greenwood Avenue
  • Hillcrest Park , 950 Davenport Road
  • Home Smith Park, 4101 Dundas Street West
  • June Rowlands Park, 220 Davisville Avenue
  • Lee Lifeson Art Park, 45 Princess Avenue
  • McCleary Park, 755 Lake Shore Boulevard East
  • McCormick Park, 66 Sheridan Avenue
  • Milliken Park, 4325 McCowan Road
  • Monarch Park, 115 Felstead Avenue
  • Morningside Park, 390 Morningside Avenue
  • Neilson Park - Scarborough, 1555 Neilson Road
  • North Bendale Park 40 Erinlea Crescent
  • Oriole Park - Toronto, 201 Oriole Parkway
  • Queen's Park, 110 Wellesley Street West
  • Riverdale Park East, 550 Broadview Avenue
  • Riverdale Park West, 375 Sumach Street
  • Roundhouse Park, 255 Bremmer Boulevard
  • Scarborough Village Park, 23 Gatesview Avenue
  • Sir Winston Churchill Park, 301 St. Clair Avenue West
  • Skymark Park, 3500 Don Mills Road
  • Stan Wadlow Park, 373 Cedarvale Avenue
  • Thomson Memorial Park, 1005 Brimley Road
  • Trinity Bellwoods Park, 790 Queen Street West
  • Underpass Park, 33 St. Lawrence Street
  • Wallace Emerson Park, 1260 Dufferin Street
  • Withrow Park, 725 Logan Avenue
Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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