News Release
July 21, 2023

This week, Toronto City Council approved a pilot program to allow residents and visitors 19 years of age and older to consume alcohol in 27 parks across Toronto responsibly. The City’s Alcohol in Parks webpage is now live.

The pilot will run from Wednesday, August 2, to Monday, October 9, 2023. These City parks have been selected and confirmed in consultation with local Councillors.

Residents and visitors can learn more about the pilot program’s locations, requirements and restrictions on the City’s Alcohol in Parks webpage. The Council decision is available online.

In May 2023, City Council voted to support a motion directing staff to develop a pilot program allowing personal alcohol consumption in some City parks this summer and fall.

The pilot is based on public health guidance, public safety and operational considerations, and other Canadian cities’ experiences with similar programs. For both pilot and non-pilot parks, park users will be expected to follow all applicable legislation, including:
• 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.
• A permit and licence are still required to sell or serve liquor in any park.

To enhance public awareness and achieve compliance, bylaw enforcement officers regularly visit the City’s parks to educate people about park rules and City bylaws. Bylaw enforcement officers will continue to visit parks as part of their regular duties throughout the pilot. As always, the City will address park complaints and prioritize investigations into matters that pose risks to public use and nuisance control.

The City is the first Ontario municipality to introduce a pilot program of this kind since the Province of Ontario authorized municipalities to designate public spaces for personal alcohol consumption.

In 2020 and 2021, cities in British Columbia and Alberta launched pilot programs to allow the consumption of alcohol in some city parks. All of those pilot programs involved a small number of parks; no city conducted a pilot involving all the parks in the municipality. Based on the positive results of the pilot programs, most cities have extended pilots or transitioned to permanent programs, including Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

The City will be evaluating the impact of the pilot on park users and neighbouring communities through 311 reporting, staff observations from the field and results of an online public survey. Findings will be reported to Council in early 2024.

The City will continue to work with Toronto Public Health to share information about safe alcohol consumption. Information on health risks associated with alcohol and safer drinking tips are available on the City’s Alcohol & Other Drugs webpage.

Toronto is home to more than three million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation and climate action, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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