Thursday, February 24, 2011

Modernizing Ontario's Liquor Laws

This was pointed out to me on the Ministry of the Attorney General's website:

The Ministry of the Attorney General wants to hear your suggestions about how liquor laws in Ontario can be modernized.

The Ministry is accepting submissions from organizations and the public until March 17, 2011, by email at:

Or by regular post at:
Ontario Consultations
720 Bay Street, 7th floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2S9

Just before Christmas I was walking down a street in the not-so-nice area of London I call home and was approached by a fat man in a Santa costume carrying a tray of paper cups. This is a working class neighbourhood, mostly council housing, he wasn't part of some Christmas market or anything, just an average guy on an average street. He asked me if I wanted some mulled wine. It certainly took me a couple seconds for my Ottawa brain to go over the situation in my head, but I eventually said yes, he said "Merry Christmas!" and I showed up at class 15 minutes later with a happy buzz.

There are some nasty parts to Britain's drinking culture. The streets are paved with vomit and I have yet to meet a British drunk you want to be around. But one thing they do right, and one thing the European continent does right, is allow social drinking in all sorts of public places. You can drink your pint on sidewalks outside pubs, I often walk around my local market with a glass of cider, wine, or beer on sunny afternoons.

I would be over the moon if I could visit Winterlude and have some mulled wine, or carry around a glass of whatever during festivals in the Byward Market. When it comes to alcohol in public places Ontario needs to lighten up. I'll be firing off a note to the AG, hope you'll do the same with your liquor related hopes and dreams.


  1. I'm in the "lighten up" crowd like you, but I do wonder how much of the streets paved with vomit and unlikable drunks are tied up with a looser public drinking attitude.

    But I'm willing to give it a shot.

  2. A very good point Catelli. I'm not against regulation in the area, I just think Ontario goes about it all wrong. Consider the widely held belief that The Beer Store and LCBO encourage responsible drinking. That's just silliness, especially in the case of The Beer Store. I don't think the government believes it for a second, but they know Ontarians fall for it every time. I also have a problem with things like closing times. I'm a firm believer that having a set closing time creates more problems than allowing bars to stay open all night. As far as events go, I think it unlikely that everyone would be throwing up at Winterlude if we allowed some nice warm adult beverages.

    All that said, there are some perfectly good alcohol regulations, one of the most effective being a price floor on booze.