Corp Comm Connects

Toronto council extends alcohol in parks pilot program until March 2024
Oct. 16, 2023
Breanna Marcelo

Here’s some good news for Torontonians who enjoyed drinking alcohol in public parks over the summer, you’ll still be able to do so until next March.

On Thursday, city council approved a motion to extend the Alcohol in Parks pilot program until Mar. 31, 2024, following a 17-3 final vote.

The pilot program’s deadline was originally set for Oct. 9. It allowed Toronto residents over the age of 19 to temporarily drink alcoholic beverages in 27 parks in the city. This included downtown parks such as Riverdale, Trinity Bellwoods, as well as ones in North York and Scarborough.

In the motion by Toronto-Danforth Coun. Paula Fletcher, she says the reason she vouched for an extension is because of the positive response she received from her community.

“With five of these parks in my ward, I have closely monitored the feedback that residents

have shared with my office. Residents have expressed their appreciation for the pilot program

as they have enjoyed the ability to have a drink with their family and friends,” she said.

According to city staff, they only received two alcohol-related complaints regarding the pilot program during its two-month run and no bylaw charges were laid.

“There were zero bylaw charges laid in pilot parks...I’m talking about bylaw infractions, right, in non-pilot parks for alcohol-related bylaw infractions. There were two charges laid against people in the non-pilot pilot parks. So, overall, when you look at those numbers, very low complaints or concerns from residents in the pilot park locations,” City of Toronto’s Manager of Strategic Communications Eric Holmes told Now Toronto on Wednesday.

Coun. Fletcher says city councillors who are part of the current pilot can opt out of the extension if they choose to do so through the fall and winter seasons until a final policy is approved.

For now, city staff will work on further amendments required for the extended period and will report back to city council with its updates in November.

Final results regarding the pilot’s success is expected to be reported to council in the first quarter of 2024.