last call ontario

Last call could soon be extended in Toronto past 2 a.m.

Free alcohol in gambling parlours? Beer and wine at corner stores? Legal drinking in public parks? Check, check, and ​[probably] check, depending on where in Ontario you live.

The Doug Ford government's first-ever provincial budget, tabled yesterday, holds plenty of promise for those who like to imbibe—but that's only one half of the boozy equation, according to budget documents.

"The rules around the retail sale and consumption of beverage alcohol in Ontario are outdated and unique in Canada, imposing unnecessary burden, restriction and complexity on Ontario businesses," reads the government's budget.

"As such, Ontario’s Government for the People is moving forward with the promise to improve consumer choice and convenience, and to create more opportunities for businesses."

Along with drastically boosting the number of retail outlets that can sell alcohol, the province intends to expand alcohol service hours for licensed establishments (read: bars, restaurants and golf courses).

Hours of service would start at 9 a.m., seven days a week, under the new budget, as opposed to the current legal start time of 11 a.m.

No specific time has been proposed for a new last call, but the province did hint during yesterday's budget announcement that drinking hours would be extended beyond the current 2 a.m.

"The government will continue consulting further on measures related to the additional extension of hours," reads the budget. "These changes will improve choice and convenience, and provide more opportunities for businesses."

This wouldn't be a huge change for the people of Toronto, where last call is regularly extended until 4 a.m. for up to weeks at a time during major city-wide events such as Pride, Fashion Week, Nuit Blanche, Canadian Music Week, Indie WeekToronto Music Passport and TIFF.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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