Toronto expands legal drinking in parks with more to come this summer

TORONTO — The consumption of alcohol will be allowed in at least one park in every Toronto ward this summer despite the objections of some city councillors.

City council backed the expansion of the program that has been operating at 27 pilot park locations since August.

Almost 20 more parks were added to the list during a city council meeting Thursday and every ward will get at least one park where legal drinking is allowed later this summer.

Five city councillors tried and failed in a tight vote to block the program's expansion into their wards.

In a statement, Mayor Olivia Chow says Toronto is taking a "strategic and measured" approach to the program's implementation, while drawing from experiences of other permanent programs such as those in Vancouver and Edmonton.

The city says feedback during the pilot program showed a high level of satisfaction among residents and visitors with few issues raised or impacts to park operations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2024.

The Canadian Press