Alcohol in the Parks

Photo by Kutan Ural on Unsplash

Toronto proposes pilot program allowing personal alcohol consumption in 20 parks

On Thursday, July 6, the City of Toronto’s Economic and Community Development Committee will consider a pilot program to allow residents and visitors to drink alcohol in 20 parks. Starting Wednesday, August 2 and running until Monday, October 9, people ages 19 and older would be allowed to responsibly consume alcohol in 20 City parks that have been confirmed in consultation with local Councillors.

In May, Toronto City Council voted in support of a motion directing staff to develop a pilot program allowing personal alcohol consumption in some City parks this summer and fall. City staff were asked to consult interested Councillors on hosting a pilot park in their ward, provide Councillors with a list of parks most suited for the pilot and report back in July with a recommended approach, including required bylaw amendments.

The staff report on the Alcohol in Parks Pilot Program, including the list of 20 proposed parks, is available on the City’s website. Following review by the Economic Development and Community Committee on July 6, recommendations will go before Council at its meeting from July 19 to 21.

The proposed pilot is based on public health guidance, public safety and operational considerations and the experiences of other Canadian cities. For both pilot and non-pilot parks, park users would be expected to follow all applicable legislation, including:

  • A permit and licence are still required to sell or serve liquor in any park.
  • Park users must comply with the provincial Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019 which prohibits public intoxication and supplying/serving alcohol to people under 19 years old.
  • Alcohol consumption is not permitted in non-pilot parks.

If approved the pilot will run from August 2, 2023 to October 9, 2023.

Among the 20 parks that will be part of the pilot are:

  • Eglinton Park 
  • Queen’s Park (shall we plan a protest party!)

Read the June 28, 2023 news release.