Calgary expands alcohol consumption in city parks program

Council voted to expand the drinking in parks program in December 2021. Starting May 10, more than 80 neighbourhood picnic tables can be booked.

City pilot program last summer resulted in more than 1,500 bookings

After a pilot program in the summer of 2021, Calgary is moving forward with the expansion of park spaces designated for alcohol consumption. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Calgary's expanded program that allows drinking in some city parks kicks off today.

During a pilot held in 2021, there were more than 1,500 bookings, the city says.

More individual picnic tables have been added this year to high-density areas where residents may not have a private backyard to socialize.

Council voted to expand the program in December 2021. Starting May 10, more than 80 neighbourhood picnic tables can be booked.

Drinking is allowed between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. in selected parks, but only at neighbourhood picnic tables and large picnic sites.

This year, there will be six parks where alcohol can be consumed on a picnic blanket or while playing disc golf. Onsite signs at those green spaces will define where people can drink.

Those parks are:

  • Barb Scott Park.
  • Buckmaster Park.
  • Lindsay Park.
  • Southview Off-Leash Area.
  • Tomkins Park.
  • West Baker Park.

Laura Smith, a team lead with Calgary Parks, said the new rules allow for more flexibility.

"Right now, we're at Buckmaster Park, and this entire park will be available for consumption," Smith said.

"You can come up and put a picnic blanket down, have a nice picnic with a glass of wine or enjoy the view with a beer, that kind of thing. Play a game of bocce ball with your neighbours."

All alcohol-designated sites are distanced from playgrounds.

Bookings are available in two-hour increments.

The city of Edmonton also launched a pilot program last year, announcing in late April it would return and expand this year.

With files from The Canadian Press


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