Sept. 8, 2017
The Parks and Environment Committee has asked city staff to consider having beer gardens parks at events like movie nights.
Currently, it is illegal to drink or sell alcohol in parks, although Councillor Mike Layton says people don’t follow the rules, calling himself a “representative of one of the parks that has a de facto open beer garden,” and joked that “the difference between drinking in Trinity Bellwoods [Park] and Christie Pitts [Park] is how loud you allow your tall cans to pop, because of the proximity to children… there is some discretion in the north end of the ward that isn’t shared in the south end of the ward and that’s realistically the difference.”
However one residents who came to committee, armed with a petition against a commercial venture on the the beaches, doesn’t think beer gardens in parks are a good idea. “What’s the point of going to a park if you’re going to smell porta-potties?” Indra Seja said after the meeting. “You know it totally defeats the original concept of blending humans with nature.”
Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said the point is to try and animate the parks. “We’re trying to get people outside, off their computers and TVs and outside and into nature and enjoying all of our activities, our arts, our festivals in parks… we’re trying to be craft-brewery capital of North America, and why not?”
Seja still had concerns. “I have nothing against beer gardens. It’s the implications of who lives there and what they have to put up with.”
Mayor John Tory told reporters Friday morning (before the committee meeting) he would like to see the city experiment with craft-beer trucks that support local breweries, calling the current laws “somewhat antiquated,” and adding, “The paramount consideration being the safety and the peacefulness and stability of our neighbourhoods.”
Staff will come back to the Parks and Environment Committee with a report in January 2018.