toronto booze brunch

Toronto just voted to allow restaurants to start serving booze at 9 a.m.

Congratulations, neighbours! You all just got one step closer to ordering alcohol with breakfast at your favourite bar or restaurant. 

No, not brunch, breakfast—as in a 9 a.m., hair of the dog, coffee with Baileys, eggs on the side, boozy schmoozy breakfast. But only on weekends, and it's only a maybe.

Toronto City Council voted 18 to 8 on Tuesday in favour of asking Ontario's government to permit alcohol sales in licensed establishments beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays (as opposed to the 11 a.m. start time we're bound to now.)

"Weekend brunch is an important event in many restaurants in Toronto. It brings neighbours together and helps local businesses prosper," reads a member motion put forth by City Councillor Paula Fletcher.

"Many restaurateurs have requested extending the hours during which they could serve alcohol starting at 9:00 a.m., particularly on the weekend," the motion continues. "This would make their hours consistent with alcohol retailers and similarly provide greater flexibility for businesses and additional convenience for consumers."

Indeed it would. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario already changed the rules for LCBOs, Beer Stores, off-site wine boutiques and licensed supermarkets in December to allow 9 a.m. sales on Sundays. Why not restaurants and bars as well?

"This would make [bar and restaurant] hours consistent with alcohol retailers and similarly provide greater flexibility for businesses and additional convenience for consumers," explains Fletcher's motion.

"[Business owners] believe that being allowed to serve mimosas and other alcoholic beverages would significantly enhance the brunch experience for many Torontonians."

It just might, though I don't know many Torontonians who consider a 9 a.m. meal "brunch." 

Toronto Mayor John Tory, who was initially a bit ticked to be considering the motion at all this week, according to The Star, said at City Hall on Tuesday that it all comes down to fairness.

"If I can go at 9:30 on a Sunday morning and buy a bottle of champagne and buy a carton of orange juice at the convenience store next door and mix myself up a mimosa... then it really is putting at a disadvantage people who work terribly hard and who are open on Sunday morning at 9 o'clock ," said Tory. 

Now, it's up to the province to either satisfy Toronto's request or ignore it. Given the PC government's general stance on all things booze, I'd say we can be optimistic.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at White Lilly Diner


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