Drinking Age in Toronto

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people standing on stage with lights turned on during nighttime

Did you know that the law in Toronto prohibits anyone below the legal drinking age from holding a bottle of alcohol? This is just one of the stringent rules aimed at preventing underage drinking in Toronto.

So, if you’re wondering whether you’ve reached the legal drinking age yourself, you’ll soon discover what the legal drinking age is in Toronto.

That said, be patient enough to sit back and read this article till the end.

Nightlife in Toronto

With a population of 2,755,481 people, Toronto the capital city of Ontario ranks as the largest city in Canada. Every year, it lures tourists and new residents to Ontario.

Over half of the immigrants who moved to Canada in 2021 settled in Ontario, and for most of the newcomers, Toronto became home. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since Toronto is glamorous, multicultural, and Canada’s economic powerhouse.

When it gets dark, the charm of this megacity becomes otherwordly. To get the most out of the night, you can enjoy a nice dinner in a restaurant while gazing at the stars. Or you can just shake off the stress from the day’s hustle and bustle as you dance to the sound of music that fills the night air

Whatever you choose to do, have these tips about nightlife in Toronto at your fingertips.

1.   The Fun Starts Early

Once the sun sets, the fun starts in Toronto. People troop to bars, restaurants, and clubs before 10:00 pm. Unlike some places where you’re allowed to party till dawn, in Toronto these establishments wrap things up by 2:00 am.

So, make sure you step out early enough to catch up with the fun stuff before it ends.

2.   Stick to the Dress Codes

Oh yes! Some bars, clubs, and even restaurants in Toronto have dress codes and you just have to stick to them to gain entrance. But the dress codes vary. While some of these establishments might not bat an eye at whatever you wear, some take it quite seriously.

But to avoid being shut off, you should find out the dress codes acceptable in that bar, club, or restaurant that you’re conjuring sending your night out at.

3.   Be Security Conscious

Toronto is generally known to be a safe city. In 2021, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Toronto as the second safest city in the world.

Although security in Toronto is outstanding, paying extra attention while walking in the city at night will keep you safer.

Since you now have an inkling about what nightlife in Toronto is, let’s discuss what the drinking age in Canada is.

What Is the Drinking Age in Toronto?

It is common for newcomers to tour the city of Toronto during the day while they club or enjoy drinks at a rooftop bar at night. If you intend this to be your routine when you arrive in Toronto, you must be at least 19 years old.

Places like bars, clubs, or liquor stores are off-limit zones for persons under the age of 19.

The Liquor License and Control act of 2019, which applies to every city in the Province of Ontario, prohibits anyone under 19 from entering into or remaining in a premise authorized to sell liquor.

The law equally makes it illegal to supply alcoholic drinks to any person who is or appears to be under the age of 19. So, even if you’re above 19, once a staff that works in a liquor store doubts your age, you’ll need to show proof of age to purchase alcoholic beverages.

To prove that you’re above 19, you’ll need to present a current government-issued identification card. The ID presented to show proof of age must display your photograph and date of birth.

Below are some of the acceptable documents you can use to show proof of age when you want to buy a drink in Toronto.

  • A driver’s license issued by the government of the province of Ontario.
  • A Canadian Citizenship Card.
  • A Permanent Resident Card issued by the Government of Canada.
  • A Canadian Armed Forces Identification Card.
  • A Secure Indian Status Card issued by the Government of Canada.
  • A photo card issued by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), entitled Bring Your ID (BYID).
  • A Canadian Passport.
  • A photo card issued under the Photo Card Act, 2008.

If you’re a tourist or a temporary resident, you may present an ID issued by your state government that bears your photo and date of birth.

While the minimum drinking age in Toronto is nineteen, the law allows 18-year-olds to work in liquor stores or any other establishment licensed to sell alcohol. An 18-year-old working in such an establishment can legally handle alcohol only during work hours.

It’s a Wrap!

Before sending your young ones to step into that liquor store down the street to grab a bottle of drink for you, ensure that they’ve reached the legal drinking age.

Again, as you cool off from the day’s stress while sipping a bottle of beer, remember to drink responsibly. You’ll not only set a great standard for the underage ones, but you’ll be doing your health a huge favor.

Frequently Asked Questions About Drinking in Toronto

When Did the drinking age in Ontario increase to 19?

The legal drinking age in Ontario was not always 19. At the inception of the province, 21 was the legal drinking age. But in 1971, the government of the Province of Ontario passed a series of laws lowering the majority age to 18.

Many deemed it logical to reduce the drinking age to 18 so, they made laws reducing the drinking age to 18 in 1971.

But following the report that many high schoolers were getting intoxicated and causing accidents due to drunk driving, the drinking age increased to 19 in 1979.

Can a 16-Year-Old drink at home?

A 16-year-old is generally prohibited from drinking alcohol. But the Liquor Licence and Control Act makes it legal for parents or guardians to supply their kids below the age of 19 with alcoholic drinks.

But a parent or guardian can only do so within their residence or in a private place.

Can you buy beer in grocery stores in Toronto?

Of course, you can. In Ontario, there are about 450 grocery stores with permits to sell beer and cider. Also, about 225 of these grocery stores have permits to sell wine.

Since Toronto is the capital city of Ontario you can rest assured that you’ll find such grocery stores in the city.

You can also purchase drinks from any of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) outlets in Ontario.

Can I drink in public parks in Toronto?

Drinking in Toronto parks is illegal, so you can’t drink in such places. Having an open bottle of alcoholic beverages in such areas can attract fines.

Although Torontonians had high hopes that the ban on drinking in public parks would be lifted this year, a bid to allow drinking in public parks and beaches was rejected in May 2022.

Can 18-year-olds go to clubs in Toronto?

Since the drinking age in Toronto is 19, the age limit for entering clubs and bars is nineteen. However, an 18-year-old may work as a staff member in a club.