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City councillor pushes to make drinking legal at parks, beaches

Last Updated Apr 12, 2021 at 2:15 pm EDT

The City of Toronto is going to experiement with social distancing circles at Trinity Bellwoods park, similar to ones utilized by park goers at Dolores Park in San Francisco.

Cracking open a cold one while enjoying one of the city’s many parks could soon become a legal reality if one Toronto city councillor gets his way.

Josh Matlow, representative for Ward 12 Toronto-St. Paul’s, will present a motion at this month’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting, calling on the City to launch a pilot project to allow for the consumption of alcohol in public parks and beaches with washroom facilities.

If successful, the pilot would run from the Victoria Day long weekend until Halloween. The alcohol content of the drinks cannot be more than 15 per cent — making beer and wine an option but not hard alcohol. As well, drinking hours would be limited from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.

“As we approach the second summer of the pandemic, public health officials recognize the reality that, especially after a year in isolation, people need to socialize,” his motion reads.

“It is up to us as policy makers to create environments where those connections with friends and family can be made in the safest way possible.”

He said many residents don’t have outdoor spaces and should not be left with unsafe options such as gathering indoors or, like many over the past year, choosing to drink illegally in parks.

To read his complete motion and recommendations, click here.

The committee meeting is scheduled for April 28.