BARRIO – Ayyyoooooo… Toronto will soon allow drinking alcohol in some city parks this summer.
Toronto city council approved a motion Friday that will pave the way for the launch of a pilot program that will permit responsible alcohol consumption in public parks. The vote was 19-5.
As a result, Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff will begin consulting with councillors interested in hosting the pilot in their wards.
Staff are expected to report back to the Economic and Community Development Committee in July on how to implement the pilot, including by-law amendments. The recommendations will then go before council later that month.
If approved, the program will run between Aug. 5 and Oct. 9.
“The past three years have given all of us a greater appreciation of our public spaces,” Carroll said in a statement.
“This sensible pilot approach recognizes the desire of many in the community to drink responsibly, while respecting that not all parks or neighbourhoods might be optimal locations for such uses.”
Staff have also been asked to provide a list of parks best suited to being part of the pilot in each ward as part of the consultation program.
“It’s a well-known fact that people already drink in parks. This pilot will provide the city with an opportunity to explore responsible implementation of public alcohol consumption, and evaluate any impacts on public health and public safety through a harm reduction approach,” said Moise in a statement.
A similar motion was tabled last year but was unsuccessful.
A number of Canadian cities are already hosting similar pilots. In Montreal, residents have long been allowed to consume alcoholic beverages in parks.
Currently, anyone found in a Toronto public park with an open liquor container can face a fine of up to $300. The city noted that no tickets were issued for drinking in parks last year.