After coming to council several times, Toronto is finally embarking on a pilot. This is a great opportunity to measure the impact of legalizing alcohol consumption in a select number of our parks. Many councillors were surprised to find out that the provincial government already legalized alcohol in parks but left it up to municipalities if they would allow for it.
During our discussion on this matter it was clear that we have limited enforcement capacity which is why allowable hours for alcohol consumption are aligned to park operating hours (5:30am-12pm) rather than hours set out by other municipalities such as Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton (11am-9pm). I was told that if we are to move forward with expanding the program after the pilot, the hours could be adjusted based on data.
It remains strange to me that cannabis is legal in parks while alcohol is heavily regulated. It’s not that I agree with cannabis in public spaces, however, there should probably be some alignment in how these substances are regulated in public spaces.
Currently, smoking tobacco, cannabis or using electronic cigarettes are not permitted in certain areas of Toronto parks and within 9 metres of the perimeter, including: enclosed public spaces; washrooms, playgrounds, sporting areas such as soccer fields, volleyball courts, tennis courts, baseball diamonds and swimming beaches.
Learn more at EC5.1 - Alcohol in Parks Pilot Program.