public drinking toronto

It will soon be legal to drink in Toronto parks

Bottoms up, Toronto! That's because starting on July 1, you'll be able to drink alcohol in public parks without worrying about getting a ticket.

This week's city council meeting might've been dominated by news about the Scarborough subway, bad landlords and rent control. But another exciting little motion got pushed through late yesterday.

To coincide with Canada Day, the City of Toronto will initiate a pilot project that will allow consumption of alcoholic beverages in Toronto parks.

The move will bring our city's stance on public drinking more in line with European countries like Austria and Denmark where alcohol is openly consumed in parks, public squares and other areas.

Some North American cities like New York had previously taken steps to decriminalize drinking in public. Others like New Orleans have a history of allowing drinking in public as long as it's done from plastic cups.

Toronto, however, seems to be taking this a step further.

Along with liberating beer, wine and spirit from brown paper bags and reusable coffee mugs, the city will open up kiosks to serve locally brewed craft beer in five city parks as part of a pilot project that could be expanded to other parks and public spaces next summer.

The first parks scheduled to get the kiosks are Trinity Bellwoods, High Park, Christie Pits, Dufferin Grove and Withrow Park. The kiosks will be open from noon until 7 p.m. on weekends and holiday Mondays although the city says times may be adjusted later in the summer.

"We already know some parks are filled with young people drinking on weekends," says Amanda Rosen, a spokesperson for the city's parks, forestry and recreation department.

"With these new kiosks, the city of Toronto will be able to generate funds to help us maintain and improve our local parks," she continues.

Many may appreciate this "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em attitude," but not everyone seems pleased with this development.

Even during the debate yesterday feelings were mixed. "My kids and I enjoy the parks and I don't want to see them overrun with drunken hooligans," pleaded Councillor Heather McDavid.

It might already be too late.

Update: What day is it again? We couldn't resist playing along for April Fools again this year. We're still waiting for the Rogers Centre to change its name back to SkyDome. Perhaps the city is listening and will take the overwhelming enthusiasm for this idea to heart.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at Trinity Bellwoods


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