This city councillor is hopeful it will soon be legal to drink beer at Toronto parks
Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon says it’s about time Toronto catches up with other cities
Toronto city councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon is hopeful that mobile craft-beer trucks at skating rinks and in Toronto parks could become a reality as early as this coming winter.
The councillor for Ward 32, Beaches-East York, has been the driving force behind recommendations to study the feasibility of allowing mobile craft beer trucks into city parks.
"It's been a little slower than I would have liked because I was hoping that we would have something in place for this summer," McMahon told CBC Toronto.
"City staff are still working on ideas, they have a couple. They're working on some pilots to be done in parks with events going on and hopefully, maybe this winter or next spring [or] summer."
At present, anyone drinking or selling alcohol in Toronto parks can only do so by permit.
But McMahon said it's time Toronto catches up with other cities and countries.
"Many people are doing it illegally now with their little thermoses," McMahon.
"Europe does it, other municipalities do it, why can't Toronto do it? I don't know what we are afraid of. Why not give it a chance? If there are problems we'll deal with them but I doubt you will have problems."
She cited Toronto Pride, noting that "it was very successful to have loosened up our restrictions as much as we could."
"We had bars at the events all along the street and the sky did not fall. So I think that's something we should be looking at, not just in parks, I think at the Beaches Jazz Fest why are you not able to have a pint walking down Queen Street."
On Friday, Premier Doug Ford was asked about a proposal from Mayor John Tory, who suggested a day earlier that if people can smoke pot in parks then they should be able to enjoy a glass of wine or beer as well.
"I hear John Tory's all for drinking in the parks now," Ford said, before saying he is willing to sit down and consult with the city on this matter.
McMahon was happy with the premier's response.
"I think that's fantastic and it should be opened up to every group . . . The residents of Toronto would be thrilled," she said.
Residents support plan
With cannabis set to become legal on Oct.17, some Torontonians feel there is a double standard since people would be able to smoke pot in parks but not have a beer.
"I think it would be nice to be able to have beer, a glass of wine in the park. I think a lot of people are probably doing it if you look around and probably doing in fairly responsibly so I think it would be great," Kelly Kanoop told CBC Toronto.
"I do think it's a double standard and I would totally support being able to have a few drinks in the park. I think it's a great idea."
Gordon Mc Cready said people have been drinking in parks for years so making it legal would be a step in the right direction.
"I'd be all for that," he told CBC Toronto. "Public drinking is OK as long as you kind of, like, keep it cool so I'm definitely OK with that."
With files from Natalie Nanowski