Crack a cold one: Drinking allowed at more Edmonton picnic sites, starting Sunday

The City of Edmonton announced Tuesday that an expanded pilot program will allow adults to drink alcohol at 124 designated picnic sites in 18 parks this year.

As of May 1, alcohol will be OK at 124 designated picnic sites in 18 parks

five beer cans in a row on a picnic table
The City of Edmonton will allow alcohol consumption at 124 designated picnic sites in 18 parks as of May 1. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Edmontonians will be able to drink alcohol in more city parks this summer.

The city announced Tuesday its popular pilot program is returning and expanding. This year's version will include some parks outside the river valley.

As of May 1, adults will be able to enjoy beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages at 124 designated picnic sites across 18 parks. 

The pilot proved popular last summer, allowing drinking at 47 designated picnic sites in seven parks in the river valley. 

This year, drinking will be allowed at more sites in more parks, including Whitemud Park, William Hawrelak Park, Victoria Park and Rundle Park.

New for this year are sites in Capilano Park, Emily Murphy Park, Jackie Parker Park, Castle Downs Park, Paul Kane Park, Queen Elizabeth Park Hill, Hermitage Park, Coronation Park, Callingwood Park, Mill Woods Park and Constable Ezio Faraone Park.

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"Those consuming alcohol will not be allowed to walk around the park with their alcoholic drinks," the city said in its release.

Signs will indicate which sites are designated for alcohol consumption.

Some are "first-come, first-served," while others need to be booked through the city. On the city's website, the bookable sites cost a minimum of around $120 to reserve for four hours. 

Drinking will be permitted between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily.

The program ends Oct. 10.

Alcohol consumption is not permitted at sites that are not part of the pilot program, with the exception of activities with a festival and event licence, or licensed restaurants.


Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi is a CBC reporter based in Edmonton. She worked in newsrooms in Toronto, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Yellowknife before joining CBC North in 2017.