Toronto City Council endorses city-wide expansion of Alcohol in parks program

Torongo. Image credit: X/@cityoftoronto

Toronto/CMEDIA: Following reportedly the success of the pilot project, the expansion of the Alcohol in Parks program has been endorsed by the Toronto City Council to permit residents and visitors 19 years of age and older to consume personal alcohol at the 27 pilot park locations and additional parks across the city.

“Toronto is the first municipality to introduce a program of this kind since the Province of Ontario authorized municipalities to designate public spaces for personal alcohol consumption in 2019. We are taking a strategic and measured approach to implementing this program throughout the city and are drawing from the experiences of other Canadian municipalities,” Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said.

Expanding this program later this summer would ensure that a minimum of one park in each ward is designated to allow for personal alcohol consumption. 

Selection of additional parks will be based on health and safety considerations and other factors.

Having been successfully operating since August 2, 2023, the Alcohol in Parks pilot program was extended by City Council to run in pilot parks until April 19, 2024.

The impact of the pilot on park users and neighbouring communities was evaluated by the city through public opinion surveys and 311 reporting high level of satisfaction among residents and park visitors, with few issues arising and minimal operational impacts.

Responding to the City’s online park experience survey, more than 90 percent of visitors in a pilot park said that they were satisfied with their visit. 

The alcohol in park locations would be continuously monitored by the City with its commitment to addressing arising issues and prioritizing investigations into matters posing risks to public use. 

City parks are regularly visited by the bylaw enforcement officers and will continue to do so, as part of their assigned duties to educate people about park rules and City bylaws  . 

Providing information to users by the City about access to support services and resources for alcohol would further support this program.

Pilot programs to allow the consumption of alcohol in some city parks in British Columbia and Alberta have been launched since 2020. 

Most cities including Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton extended their pilot or transitioned to permanent programs based on the positive results of the pilot programs. 

More information about Toronto’s program, including park locations, regulations and restrictions is available on the City’s Alcohol in Parks webpage.