Drinking alcohol in Toronto parks won't be a priority for police this summer

May 7 2021, 10:48 am

Toronto park-goers will likely be able to enjoy a beer or glass of wine in peace this summer as the City announced on Friday that enforcement officers would not prioritize ticketing individuals drinking alcohol in parks.

According to a City news release, this spring and summer, bylaw enforcement officers will focus on “people bringing large amounts of alcohol into public places” and that “individuals consuming an alcoholic beverage in a park with their household are not a priority for enforcement.”

According to the release, last year just 69 tickets were issued for alcohol across the City’s 1,500 parks last year.

City Councillor Joe Cressy said he supports this harm reduction approach to focus on large gatherings rather than individuals drinking in the city’s parks.

City Councillor Josh Matlow, who presented a now effectively killed motion to a Council committee requesting the approval of a pilot project allowing alcohol under 15% at Toronto parks and beaches with bathroom facilities, welcomed the news.

In his tweets, Cressy, who opposed Matlow’s proposed pilot project, said that he favoured reviewing the City’s policy on alcohol consumption in parks, but that it requires a comprehensive, thoroughly reviewed approach.

The current provincial Stay-at-Home order, which is in place until May 19, limits outdoor gatherings to members of the same household. Park amenities such as sports fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, skate parks, and baseball diamonds are closed.

Laura HanrahanLaura Hanrahan

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