Meeting to Discuss Alcohol Consumption in Trinity Bellwoods Park–Thursday July 4, 2013

This event will be hosted and mediated by Councillor Mike Layton.

Date: Thursday, July 4 at 6:00 pm
Location: Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre, Assembly Hall

In attendance:
-City of Toronto Representatives from Parks and Recreations
-Municipal Licensing and Standards
-Toronto Police Services, 14 Division

Everyone is welcome.

108 thoughts on “Meeting to Discuss Alcohol Consumption in Trinity Bellwoods Park–Thursday July 4, 2013

  1. The notion of punishing people for consuming–and enjoying–alcohol in a public place, particularly in a city where most of its residents do not have the luxury of having a private outdoor area to consume it, is ridiculous and absurd.

    When people gather in Trinity Bellwoods in the summer time to socialize and converse over a bottle of wine or case of beer, no more harm is created socially than at 2:30am outside of a bar. In fact, the consequences are probably less because people generally have more respect for a public park than they do the street.

    In Europe, it’s been proven that people are capable of making responsible and reasonable decisions regarding the consumption of alcohol in public, and it’s incredibly frustrating as a Canadian to see individuals in our own country treated like children or irresponsible when it come to this issue here.

    To me, this matter seems like more a testament to people who have too much time on their hands complaining about something not worth complaining about than it is a matter of debate over the problems created by the public consumption of alcohol. If you’re bothered by people drinking outdoors in the summer and enjoying their lives, I suggest you just stay home with the air conditioner on.

      • Neither could I. The anti-drinking restriction is just plain silly. I just returned from Cologne, Germany, where drinking in parks (or on sidewalks, etc.) is legal; how refreshing to be able to just pick up a beer or two and go sit in a lush place on a hot day!

        It’s also worth noting that cities in Europe contain numerous public squares containing cafes and bars where one can sit and enjoy a drink outdoors in an open, pleasant environment. Toronto has almost none of these. Rather than banning drinking in parks, we should make it legal and install a few outdoor cafes here and there while we’re at it.

    • There is already a law against drinking in public. Unfortunately, we can’t ban the tomfoolery* that accompanies it; something I’m witness to frequently when walking home through T-B after work.

      *This requires stronger language.

    • This isn’t Europe, and the actual neighbourhood residents have a problem with it.

      Instead of demanding your rights to drink in public (at the expense of the local residents concerns), just bag it, put it in a cup and stop whining. Problem solved.

          • There are lots of laws that the police don’t aggressively enforce. It’s legality isn’t really the point at issue. There has been a period of salutary neglect in Bellwoods over the last several years during which everything has basically worked out. There isn’t even a littering issue as the can collectors take care of it. The part of this that seems so frustrating is that the “local residents” aren’t articulating what the problems are other than their own vague sense that “that ain’t right.”
            It’s also probably worth noting that the number of people who could reasonably consider themselves “local residents” has to be a tiny tiny number by comparison to the number of people who enjoy consuming alcohol in the park on a daily basis.

      • As one of the local residents who frequents the park regularly I am much more concerned about how cracking down could alter the atmosphere in the park from one of communal celebration to one of suspicion and distrust.

      • Plenty of local residents enjoy the odd drink in the park while also having much greater concerns with public intoxication; I happen to be one of them and I’ll be at this meeting asking this two-part question: where should there be more focused policing in this community? Should it be on people in the park or on the people making it damn-near impossible to walk down Ossington Avenue after 11 PM on a Friday or Saturday night? I can certainly tell you which one affects me more…

      • One is a single day event that is licensed. The other is the frequent, unlicensed use of a park that has proven to be detrimental to the health of the non-alcoholic use of the park.

    • I live on the perimeter of TBP. I feel I have to “stand guard” against intoxicated people from urinating and defecating on my driveway, and then I get to wake up in the morning to find nasty toilet paper to clean up. It really really sucks!

      I’m sure you have your personal boundaries together enough to know that trespassing and property defacing is not cool, but it seems most don’t. Mix alcohol with that immaturity and there’s the problem.

  2. I see nothing wrong with adults enjoying their brief summer months sipping a drink of whatever their choice in the park. It’s called freedom. The last thing we need is more policing. Let people be.

  3. It breaks my heart that this would even be up for discussion. I’m in trinity consuming a beverage at least twice a week and I am there because of the safe positive environment that the park and the people who go there help create. Frankly, I don’t have any other area that is useful to me like the park. I go and watch baseball games of people I don’t know and meet people. It’s like one place in the city you can go and sit and not spend money and just relax and be around young adults with similar interests and income.

    I’ve often thanked the city and the police for sort of turning a blind eye to the drinking in the park because its just SO peaceful. Everyone is “green friendly” and generally would accost anyone seen littering and there is a great team of men and women who help collect the alcohol containers. Have you ever seen trinity bellwoods at 8am Sunday morning? its looks spotless.

    I would challenge the motion to “crack down” on drinking in the park with wanting to see all incident reports in the last year from the park by anyone who isnt homeless. It’s would undoubtedly consist of 3 fights, 5 public urination charges and 3 cases of not picking up after your dog.

  4. The stupidest thing I’ve ever seen is a motorcycle cop scooting his bike from picnic to picnic at Trinity Bellwoods, ticketing groups of responsible adults for enjoying a bottle of wine or a few beers.

    Seriously, stop enforcing this archaic, stupid, paternalistic law. We’re just trying to chill, we’ll recycle our bottles.

  5. The best outcome of this meeting would be to formally allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the park. If we are going to throw any public resources at this, then let’s increase garbage collection. Like most adults, I am concerned this meeting is an effort to force the people of Trinity Bellwoods to change their behavior. If that’s what the meeting is about, then do the right thing: formally end the polocy of ticketing adults in the park for open containers.

  6. I do not have a problem with adults choosing to drink in Trinity Bellwoods park. I go there at least once a week and wether I am drinking or not I have never felt unsafe when in the space. To be honest, I generally feel less safe walking along College Street on a Friday night than I do in the park. The people who are in the park drinking tend to be respectful, and with the people who come along to collect the cans and the bottles the park has never looked more clean. The same can’t be said for College Street late at night. Although, I can understand how some people may not like going to the park with lots of people consuming but I think we can come to a compromise that doesn’t see police involvement. Perhaps there can be a space (north and east of the bowl) for instance where drinking is permitted and the rest of the park is dry.

  7. This can only be about a crackdown. Sorry but bureaucracies do not turn a blind eye. They respond to complaints and apply the rules. Thinking that any other outcome is possible is naive. Mike Layton will say the rules must be enforced.

  8. I hope everyone who posts on here comes to the meeting on July 4 if they’re able to. We really need as many voices as possible to make the change.

  9. I couldn’t agree with Sam more. These are all valid posts, but mute if you don’t come to the meeting and contribute to understand what the concerns are. We all love the park and we all must make sincere efforts to co-habitate, non? So, gather all your friends and go to meeting, or else your voice will not be heard in a tangible way ;-)

    • Well said! This post is a good forum for discussion, but to have an impact on this issue, be sure to attend the meeting.

  10. Yes please!

    Let us drink in TrinBell, but crack down hard on littering (how to do this? I dunno, maybe just a consensus that public shaming is required) and disorderly conduct.

    (Littering is a problem even without drinking, but glass beer and wine bottles are more dangerous.)

  11. I am terribly upset to find out that the unwritten civic agreement on alcohol consumption in Trinity Bellwoods may be in jeopardy. I live in the Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood and what’s great about the park is how social and civil it is. I have often commented on how lovely it is that so many different people can get along and enjoy this beautiful, clean public space altogether. Whether you’re relaxing and having a few beers with friends, taking your toddler to the playground, or going for a stroll with grandparents, the park is a great place to be and on many occasions I have seen all these people and more enjoying the park at the same time. I am out of the country on vacation and will not be able to make it to this meeting to have my voice heard. I certainly hope there will be people there to speak for me.

  12. I’ve lived across the street from Trinity Bellwoods for 11 years and love how busy the park has become. It’s the heart of our community and all the activity makes it safe. It’s what pushed out the dangerous element (sketchy drug dealers and users, prostitution) that used to dominate the park a decade ago. A crackdown would only drive people away. It would be a move in the wrong direction.

    • Gillian, it’s sad to hear a resident of Trinity Bellwoods talk about how pushing prostitutes out of a park is a good thing. The same authorities who demonize and police prostitutes for their “degeneracy” are going to crack down on individuals drinking in the park because this also seen as “degenerate”. Prostitution doesn’t make areas more dangerous.

  13. I don’t understand how bellwoods is any different from any beach in toronto. It’s all responsible and people take care of their own. Aren’t we trying to be a progressive city?

  14. I have never seen anyone abuse alcohol in the park. Many times I have seen families and friends enjoying the park with a picnic and yes some wine, beer or coolers. Please don’t push the community out. It brings the park to life.

  15. As a City Staff who works in the recreation centre and lives in the area of the park the issues would be:

    -Users of the park dirtying up our washroom and not cleaning up after themselves. IE: There is no need for your feces folks to be all over our bathrooms sink. There is a thing called a toilet you know. – Oh wait, I forget you couldn’t use your judgement because you were intoxicated or just decided/felt the need to make our care-taking staff clean up after you a few weekends ago.

    -We have users of the park coming in with Red Cups, Bottles, and Coolers basically walking around roaming and drinking all over the place. When we ask you guys to leave the drinks outside and not bring them into the facility chances are we are met with some smart @$$ remark along the lines of “F Off” the most common one which doesn’t really solve anything in us simply just trying to do our jobs

    -The amount of litter in the park? You all are capable of drinking and having fun but yet when the party is over and even after the older adult Asian woman with her husband grab most of your empties there are still empty boxes just left there in the grass, Bottles, and LCBO bags just laying there too – CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES AT THE VERY LEAST!!

    I support having an area (preferably on the Dundas side) which is away from children and the recreation centre itself where people should be allowed to simply drink. Its basically one bad person ruining it for others (the ones who cant control their alcohol and act a fool) which sucks as it hasn’t been that much of a problem even last year until condo’s started being built all up around us now we have the younger generation “hipsters” thinking they own the place and not respecting their surroundings or people of the community.

    • if they ban alcohol in the park I will make it my mission to poop in every sink in the park that I find. then you will think twice about blaming it on casual beer drinkers.

    • People pooing in sinks is likely more related to homelessness or CAMH than a drunk hipster.

      Trash in the park will always exist, whether people are drinking or not.

      If the problem is just one or two individuals – call the cops on them and handle the situation on a case-by-case basis.

    • You can’t honestly believe that rudeness, litter, and poop are going to disappear if the police crack down on public drinking. You’re working at a community centre in a city of millions, and – this may surprise you – but there are lots of sober jerks who need to go number two.

  16. If you don’t want the cops in your face in Bellwoods, you might want to consider supporting ongoing struggles against excessive police presence that are happening in other communities in the city. For example:
    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/06/28/police_checks_young_people_ask_why_me.html

    So if you show up to this meeting, maybe just take a moment to remind the cops how wrong TAVIS and their street check practices are. Seriously, someone say something. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/08/07/toronto_police_tavis_stop_of_four_teens_ends_in_arrests_captured_on_video.html

    • The address is:

      Trinity Community Recreation Centre
      155 Crawford St, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3 ‎
      (416) 392-0743

      and the meeting will be held in the Assembly Hall.

  17. I don’t drink, have kids who go to trinity bell woods to play on a regular basis, love the park and see nothing wrong with responsible adults enjoying a bottle of wine or some beer.

  18. No good can come of this… Outdoor alcohol consumption is illegal, and regardless of how wonderful it is to be able to drink freely in the park, no matter how much it brings people together and encourages us to enjoy the beautiful park, if officials are turning their eye towards this issue it means a crackdown is coming.

    The only alternative would be to license the entire park, or a section of it, which would mean the complete commercialization of the park, and this would be even worse. The last thing we want is licensed vendors.

    • Or just keep going how it’s been going for the last 10 years. Have a beer in the park, don’t be a jerk.

  19. I’ve been living just down the road from Trinity Bellwoods Park (at Queen & Shaw, to be precise) for the majority of the last last 7 years. That said, I’ve been frequenting the park and general area with friends and family for more than a decade. Part of my reason for purchasing and moving into this area was the sense of community and culture based not only around the park, but also the plethora of art galleries and night life in the area.

    Ten years ago, the park was beautiful in the day time, but the evenings and nights were a different story. As others here have mentioned, drug abuse (and I’m not talking about a groups of middle-class youth smoking joints) as well was prostitution were wide spread problems. I’m sure the issues experienced by residents at the time weren’t limited to those two factors.

    Back in those days and during the summer the community would host weekly drum circles in the “bowl”. These nights provided a safe haven for an evening, and would push the “real” trouble makers out; allowing the community at large to enjoy themselves. It is my firm belief that the neighbourly cultural embrace of such activities are what first drew the new population into the area, before others hopped on the “flip my home” bandwagon. It wasn’t long ago that the local community at large “lost” the bowl to those who complained that they did not have an off-leash areas for their dogs to defecate. Day by day the increasing rents and need for more condos threaten the very fabric that once made this artistic and cultural oasis flourish.

    Although I can and do understand some of the local resident’s concerns on the matter, I do question just how many of these people are recent homeowners in the neighbourhood; people who never did see the progression of this fine community space over the years. To those of you who this description applies; I urge you to remind (and perhaps educate) yourselves on what drove out the (far worse) unwanted behaviour to begin with (hint: the answer is activity).

    It bothers me to read about Mike Layton’s comments in regards to wanting to avoid a situation where “…one group [gets] to enjoy it at the (expense) of another”. As somebody who has lived here for some time, I feel that I am a part of the group on the losing end of that stick.

    My home does not have a balcony or a back yard. In recent years, the controlling corporation has even limited the availability of public spaces in my building by reducing access times to said spaces and removing the option to consume any amount of alcohol. The park is my back yard, as I do not have my own. I would like to treat it as such. I am not a menace. I clean up after myself. I won’t leave as much as a piece of gum on the ground when I leave. Am I really that much of a problem?

    I am not a recent home owner who just had a ten month old child and now has a problem with the atmosphere of their neighbourhood of choice. I am not a recent home owner who moved into a new area and all of a sudden went NIMBY on all my neighbours. I am a person who has lived in this area for quite some time, fell in love with the place when it was a less than desirable neighbourhood, and don’t want to see the last little bit of charm and community squished out for the benefit of short term gain or over protective parents.

    A person who has a child and decides to raise it in this area should have as little impact on the community as the person who does not and just wants to enjoy a summer tipple without somebody bothering them or telling them how to act or where to act like it.

    There are larger issues at play here, the main one being that of the provincial stance on public alcohol consumption. I believe that most people in this city believe that these are horrendously outdated laws. To this I say: if we can’t have provincial reform, why can we not have municipal reform? Why does the province govern what the majority of a small community (albeit part of a much larger one) may not agree with? To further this point, why do we allow the local BIAs to enforce commerce restrictions in and around our local electoral districts, but not allow the people to enforce non-commerical activity in the same area and regard.

    Must I always be participating in commercial activity unless I shut up, accept it, and sit quiet in my own home (and maybe drink a beer or smoke a joint when I’m at it)?

    Live and let live. We will all be happier and better people for it.

    • As your next-door who has lived in the neighbourhood one year long than you, I can only add one more word: Amen!

    • ‘It bothers me to read about Mike Layton’s comments in regards to wanting to avoid a situation where “…one group [gets] to enjoy it at the (expense) of another”.’

      This really, really bothered me as well. It seems like he’s saying that people who live near the park should get more say in how it gets used. I certainly hope I’m wrong – because it’s a *public* park, and having enough money to own property nearby doesn’t give someone any more right to the park than anyone else.

  20. Pingback: Drinking a concern at Trinity Bellwoods park | CityNews

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  23. I look forward to an open, honest, and mature discussion about opening up this park and others in Toronto to responsible beverage consumption. The time for restrictions on responsible alcohol consumption is long past. Public intoxication laws deal properly with those who abuse the privilege; the vast majority of the remainder of us remain law-abiding and responsible citizens of a beautiful city full of parks such as Trinity Bellwoods.

  24. I’d like to not take the risk of a fine for wine in the park, but until the law changes, that’s what I do every time I twist the cork.

    Social laws, like no drinking alcohol in public, are not unique to Toronto. If the laws in Canada (except Quebec) are enforced, this doesn’t make Toronto less unsophisticated. More and more cities around the world are tightening rules on alcohol consumption in public, whether it’s “only with food,” “not after midnight” or “only in zones (like parks),” or just plain “prohibited.”

    I’ve lived in the hood for 15 years, and every summer it’s busier than the last. More people, sadly seems to mean more conflict no matter what your concern.

    Ultimately, it comes down to disruptive behavior of the few, which impacts the many. Some park goers are flouting the look-the-other-way courtesy previously extended by police. If no one peed or threw up in the bushes, fouled the public washrooms, littered, or was belligerent, then we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    When I grew up in BC, you couldn’t buy alcohol on the weekends. That’s changed with the times. Until the public consumption law changes, I’ll just continue to discretely embibe in the park.

    Wish I were in town for the meeting!

  25. If drinking in public is ok then I want to be able to have sex in public without getting a fine. It’s my right!

  26. TB has been fostering such an amazing culture in recent years, Most of which is very positive. It is a delight to observe and participate in this emerging park scene, unfortunately in this critical mass there are a small number of people who are abusing the park and disrespecting the neighborhood. This small subset has ruined it for the rest of the responsible people who know how to behave in public.

    I for one am looking forward to seeing a crackdown on this sub-group and hopefully an end to the imbibing negatives such as mass littering, public urination & defecation, late night partying, public intoxication, drunk driving, loud amplified music, etc.

  27. I have never seen drunk people or a mess in the park but I’m not there late at night or first thing in the morning. If there are some problem people who are drinking to excess and leaving a mess, as the post above from the community centre staff would suggest, then something needs to be done. It is illegal to drink in public, whether you agree with that or not, so if you want police to turn a blind eye than police yourselves. Maybe the problems occur with the late night crowd when there are no other park users to temper their behaviour?

    Sort of related story: I was at the park in Kensington with my then small child playing on the swings. A crazy guy came over from the park benches by the wading pool where the sketchy characters hang out and started ranting to us. One of the other sketchy guys came over right away, dragged the guy off, soundly berated him and apologised to us profusely. It was so sweet. I watched after that and there seemed to be an unwritten rule that that group stayed out of the playground.

    I can’t come to the meeting but I hope both sides come with open minds to work constructively towards a solution.

  28. Yaaay!

    Of course, there should be no problem with a family enjoying some wine with picnic, nor the occasional beer with friends — and that’s been happening for years with no real difficulties in Trinity-Bellwoods.

    The issue (as usual) comes down to a small minority of folks (and I have seen them) who get drunk, raucous, and leave their trash all over the place when they (finally) leave.

    Where to draw the line? At “public drunkenness”, perhaps? I, for one, am ** VERY HAPPY ** to see the police monitoring the situation before the park becomes an uncomfortable spot for families and other members of the non-drunken public.

    And, while we’re at it, I’d like to see tougher enforcement of off-leash dogs (outside the bowl) as well. It’s for the protection of the dogs themselves, as much as anything else: I’ve seen at least one off-leash dog suddenly bolt out of the park, dash across Queen Street and disappear (followed, futilely, by the owner – in flip-flops!).

  29. I support enforcement of laws against open alcohol in the park at this time. I have asked the police on more than one occasion in the last two years to conduct pass-throughs and enforce the law. This is because I have watched the park change from one I loved (hookers, homeless and all), to one where I feel like there is constantly a party going on and if you’re not participating, you’re not welcome. I no longer go to Trinity during the following times: Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday, Sunday and holiday days after 11 am, for reasons of which I am sure you are aware – one can barely navigate a walking path through the many many groups of “partyers”.

    Unfortunately, it appears that over the last few years Trinity Bellwoods has become a destination spot for those wishing to party outdoors. I’m sure we all recall various times in past years when people would gather there, for the most part we co-existed relatively peacefully and people generally kept their gatherings to themselves, but with such a mass of them now it has gotten totally out of control. Much of the time I want to remind people that they’re at a public park, not Coachella. I think that while police enforcement will never totally eliminate alcohol in the park, that is not what I would like to see achieved. I would simply like to have the park lose its apparent current status as the go-to place for outdoor boozing and getting high. Then perhaps there could be some balance again, and those who do imbibe at the park would do so with somewhat less impunity and arrogance towards other park users who are not there for the party. As of now, it’s become very unbalanced. That is why I support police enforcement.

    • You just seem anti-fun. I actually felt sorry for you reading this. Send me your email, and next time I or one of my teenage kids goes to the park, we’ll message you and you can join us in our ‘party’ (I promise, it’ll be fun and you’ll change your mind)

      • Wow. Thanks for judging me and making assumptions about my personality because I shared my opinion. Appreciate it. Disagreement with my opinion is ok, but making personal comments: not cool.

        • John has a point. It sounds like you’re more upset about being excluded than anything else. He was hoping to include you, and show how there is actually a community of nice people enjoying the park :) I was somewhat confused about how you liked it better with hookers and homeless? You can go check out some parks east of young and see how sketchy and unsafe it feels when that is your only company. Although you seem to have distaste for youth and other types hanging out, I believe the park is a much safer place than it used to be. Cheers

    • “Unfortunately, it appears that over the last few years Trinity Bellwoods has become a destination spot for those wishing to party outdoors.”

      Yep. And, I feel like you really need to understand something here: this isn’t going to change through a simple crackdown. Because drinking isn’t the reason Trinity’s become a destination. The neighbourhood has changed, the whole downtown west side has changed, and Trinity’s the place to go on the weekend, and a lot of the people who go there do like to drink a little, but people aren’t going there *to drink* – they’re going there to hang out with friends, find friends, and meet people, all of which *can include drinking.* The park isn’t going to become some sedate Victorian garden promenade just because the police start handing out vice tickets.

      It’s a social destination now. That’s how the area’s grown. People who live near public parks shouldn’t be so shocked when they actually encounter the public.

    • I agree. I have no problem with drinking or partying at Trinity. And have lived in the neighbourhood for 11 years. Trinity used to be our park of choice. It’s a great park. Lately however, it has become too much of a scene. It sucks. We never go there with our kids. We don’t feel welcome. We go instead to Osler Park by Santo Cristos PS.

      You cannot even kick a ball around at Trinity.

  30. Love the crackdown. Hope it is enforced. I walk through Trinity Bellwoods every day with my dog and during the day the park is full of garbage left behind by all these “carefree revellers” and at night there are people staggering around and peeing in the bushes. It’s becoming a seedy place – used to be such a lovely park. Fine everyone who is drinking and the problem will stop!

  31. I’ve started a petition to ask the city of Toronto to formally allow the consumption of alcohol in city parks. Hopefully with the support of people like those who have spoken out here, we can do away with the wasteful idea of increased police presence for people who want to responsibly enjoy a beer in the park. http://chn.ge/18w0Ri1

  32. I live across from the park. I don’t see any problems with people drinking there as long as they don’t get rowdy and exercise a modicum of discretion about what they are doing — you know, “for the sake of the kids” and all. At the very least people should be picking up their empty MacDonalds wrappers and Bellwoods Brewery cartons…

    Having said this, I do find the narrow demographic of young, hip folk represented in the park a bit strange. Maybe the park would in fact become more of a destination for families if it weren’t constantly full of groups of people sitting around drinking…

    • I think its the area (not just the park) that is a destination for the aforementioned young, hip folk. But I’ve witnessed more than just these “types” at the park. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the park peacefully and with respect of others, and this can occur with a can of PBR or other beverage.

  33. I remember Bellwood’s park before… Those new to the neighbourhood will not know. Seven + years ago it was a scary place at night! Crack heads, hookers, drug dealers, many lowlifes/users creeping in the dark. Not a safe place for a woman to be making a short cut through the park to get home at night.
    It’s too bad that the “tourist partiers” are ruining everything. They are the ones turning the park into “Club Trinity” & they area mostly from the outskirts of the GTA. Ask the rowdiest ones where they are from! The locals are usually low-key & respectful. You can find me in the park on many nights during the week watching the sunset drinking a tall can.. It’s where we go to decompress after work. We pick up our trash & cigarette butts & leave the cans for the can collectors.
    If the police keep handing out drinking tickets on a regular basis it should filter out the rowdies.
    What is the alternative… Getting a permit to sit in the park….

  34. I don’t understand how litter is attributed to drinking. I witness people litter all the time, all over Toronto, at early hours in the morning when I can only (very reasonably) assume their blood-alcohol content is at or near zero. Just because people who drink also litter doesn’t imply that if alcohol is removed from the equation the littering will stop. Those who litter are disrespectful and lack the social decency to clean-up after themselves. I blame a lack of good character, not alcohol. Plus, every time I’m in Trinity Bellwoods I’m blown away by the efficient, yet informal, can-clearing market that goes on there — Adam Smith would be proud.

    Yeah people are sometimes rambunctious. Personally, I find people obnoxiously rambunctious almost everywhere I go, including universities, work places, or anywhere else you can assume the majority have not consumed any alcohol. I do not deny that alcohol motivates unruly behaviour, but I have spent enough time in Trinity Bellwoods to say unruly and rambunctious behaviour is the exception and not the rule. I’m unconvinced by the critics that accuse those drinking as being seedy individuals and threatening the public’s safety. If lanky hipsters and wannabe singer-songwriters scare you, I suggest you do not leave your house. Given that Trinity Bellwoods is situated between Parkdale, Queen West, Ossington, etc. (you get the idea), you will not scare away the type who frequent the park with threats of ticketing.

    Reassigning available police officers to monitor a bunch of innocuous 20-somethings is misguided policy in my mind. Perhaps use a very small fraction of the resources that would pay these police officers salaries to install a few porta potties to decrease public urination. It’s atrocious that there isn’t an open public washroom in such a large public space after the sun goes down. Perhaps instead reassign police officers outside bars in popular club districts to break-up fights and to give more random breathalyzer tests. Drunk drivers cause a lot more harm than a group of friends sharing a case of beer in Trinity Bellwoods. And come on people, we all know drunk driving isn’t a problem here because how uncool would it be to show up to Bellwoods not on your single speed?

    • If you’re on a bicycle you can be fined if deemed intoxicated or found with an open can; it’s still drunk driving.

      • Actually a drunk cyclist could be charged with “careless driving” and/or “public intoxication. Not sure what you’re talking about in reference to an open can, that would just result in the aforementioned public drinking fine. Regardless, neither scenario would involve an “impaired driving” charge, as a bicycle is not a motor vehicle.

  35. i live 5 second walk from the park and its not as bad as they say 99.999% of the time
    its students relaxing or people just unwinding maybe once every few months i hear em and its not that bad its more concering seeing cops drive there cars down the hill of the dog park to harrass a homeless person sitting under a tree

  36. Milan’s Parco Sempione has the same cool vibe, people conversing and hanging out, very civilized. The one difference is they have vendors selling ice cold beers from carts for a measly 2 Euros. No one gets crazy, or unruly. Lighten up Toronto.

  37. An urban community social experiment is one of the great attractions in areas of Trinity Bellwoods park. Following the lead of Central Park, New York, dense social picnic areas are frequented by a large percent of the local population during the few warm summer months. This phenomenon of enjoying the sunshine with friends is clearly a fantastic benefit to a large percent of the local population. A self organizing ecosystem of cleaners in the form of bottle collectors and service industry sandwich salespeople have sprung up in nomadic fashion, patrolling dense patches every few minutes, keeping these areas clean and friendly.
    It appears the unfortunate reality is that a few people are being drunk and disorderly in inappropriate areas such as the community centre and playground area. There is a big difference between people enjoying a drink responsibly, as a large percent of those that use picnic areas do, and drunk, inappropriate behavior causing damage to public property, perpetrated by a few troublemakers. I am aware that drinking is against the law, however that law dates back to a time of having your own victorian gothic home with a backyard,now outdated by the majority of residents inhabiting tiny condos without access to a residential outdoor space. Handing out tickets to everyone in the park will only reinforce a police state where people are cooped up at home, a state that is likely to both raise the crime rate as well as overall disrespect for the police and the service they provide the community. If people peeing in the park has become an issue, then it may be appropriate to install more washrooms, or seasonal porta potties. If people are leaving garbage where they picnic, then some education in the form of graphic signage could be beneficial. If you enjoy the park, help make sure people behave appropriately to keep it fun and safe for everyone. Having zones moderated differently for specific needs will allow for a broad range of uses to ensure the park meets the needs of the majority of the people.

    • Hardly think tickets will keep people cooped up at home. You can enjoy the public park without alcohol.

  38. I live in beautiful Montreal where it is legal to have a bottle of wine with your picnic in the park. It makes for lovely, community oriented afternoons and evenings! In general, there is good cleanup and great respect for the space.

  39. I’m concerned about the consumption of alcohol in Trinity Bellwoods Park too. For instance, do I really have to walk ALL THE WAY to the liquor store first or will you folks just set up an open bar there instead?

  40. Others have already discussed how in Europe public drinking is no problem. I will add to that, that the Canadian attitude towards alcohol needs to be allowed to mature. In Canada, too many people have an attitude that you drink in order to get DRUNK; in Europe, public drunkenness is highly frowned upon even though drinking alcoholic beverages is so commonplace.
    I was in Florence last year and witnessed numerous people with a bottle of wine and glasses sitting on the Duomo steps enjoying their drinks. But I could pick out the North Americans because they were the ones tittering and giggling while they tried to down as many beer as possible. Lets grow up folks!

  41. Others have already discussed how in Europe public drinking is no problem. I will add to that, that the Canadian attitude towards alcohol needs to be allowed to mature. In Canada, too many people have an attitude that you drink in order to get DRUNK; in Europe, public drunkenness is highly frowned upon even though drinking alcoholic beverages is so commonplace.
    I was in Florence last year and witnessed numerous people with a bottle of wine and glasses sitting on the Duomo steps enjoying their drinks. But I could pick out the North Americans because they were the ones tittering and giggling while they tried to down as many beer as possible and THAT is the type that is ruining it for the others here in Trinity Bellwoods.
    Those idiots who litter should be charged for LITTERING. Has anyone ever been charged for Littering? I doubt it.

    • Good point re the littering! I told off a guy for throwing his coffee cup into the grass while he was walking. Of course, his reaction was to tell me to f*** off. He felt no shame in littering and there was no consequence.

  42. dude this is sick! i didn’t even know you can drink there. me and my buddies never have any place good to predrink. club nights are going to be off the hook!

      • Noooo! Unless you are being sarcastic, this is exactly what’s ruining the park for everyone! The fact that the park is getting publicity from this as an area where a blind eye is turned to drinking is going to attract more of YOU and THAT is when I will agree with a drinking crackdown.

  43. If you feel the scene in Bellwoods has become unbalanced and would like it to be more family oriented then take your family to the park and represent. I hosted a family picnic there a couple weeks ago and it was a blast. We blew bubbles with our kiddies and had fun reminiscing about how we were once hipsters, back in the day.

  44. I have lived right on the park for the last 20 years. In that time I have watched the park go through a great transformation. All along mutual respect has remained an issue. It is a big beautiful park which I am happy to see used by the public. It troubles me the defensive stance taken by those defending their right to drink in the park. A meeting like this one is about everybody actually listening to each other and hopefully coming up with a compromise that will work for everyone.

    I personally feel conflicted about the whole thing. I love seeing the park used, I agree that it feels safer than it used to. I love how vibrant it can feel.

    I’m also glad my daughter is grown now and I don’t have to navigate through tons of people drinking to get to the playground. I also resent not being able to sleep at night because there are drunk people yelling well into the wee hours of the morning outside my window.

    There are lots of people that treat the park respectfully. I myself have had a picnic with a bottle of wine. There are also many that are drinking too much & we unfortunately are constantly dealing with people urinating and defecating where we can see them from our front porches. These are not the people from CAMH as someone blamed for this behaviour,but young people who are out having picnics. We see it every day. Whenever we say anything about it and kindly point out that there are public washrooms only a couple of feet away, we have been met with terrible verbal abuse. It’s a really terrible position to be in. Back to the fact that there needs to be more of a cultural shift towards mutual respect. Please use the park. But please be respectful in the way that you do.

    Having a larger police presence will not ruin the park. I think it will actually help the people who are behaving redpectfully enjoy the park. Lets talk about a designated area for drinking. Lets talk about more public washrooms. Lets talk about a curfew. Lets talk about compromise.

    I chose to live on a public park. I don’t expect it to be empty and silent. My hope is that people will realise that they need take redponsibility to make it a place where everybody can use and enjoy it & make it an even better place to be.

    • I definitely respect your opinion, and apologize for people urinating or verbally abusing you. This does not reflect the mutual respect that I believe in general represents this park. I mostly frequent the park after work or on a beautiful weekend afternoon, and am not witness to the “parties” at night. It does not sound like having a can of beer on a sunny afternoon is a problem, but that public intoxication at night and lack of washroom facilities are the real issues. Why not have police focus on public intoxication (although I have not witnessed this once during the day), and continue to pass-over the open alcohol if responsibly enjoyed. I believe fining all who have open alcohol and not just those who are intoxicated is akin to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. And just like babies, the current community of people enjoying the park responsibly is a beautiful thing.

  45. Honestly in terms of the sink poopers. They are CAMH patients and the homeless. They have this same problem at the Starbucks at Ossington and Queen. I don’t know how many times I’ve needed to use the washroom there on my way to work and it is literally smeared with shit. It isn’t the harmless hipsters doing this! Granted those patients and homeless have mental health issues that are either being treated or are not. Please recreation centre works do not blame those enjoying a simple picnic with wine and food (like I love to do with my family) or even the kids drinking and enjoying the nature/outside space. Getting rid of these people is not going to solve the problem. Address those who are causing it and leave the rest alone.

  46. I can’t help but wonder if the people complaining about adults drinking in a park are the same very people complaining about “too much barking and panting” coming from a dog park.

    • What’s interesting about your comment is that you’ve drawn a comparison between this park and a dog park, as if the primary purpose of this park is to facilitate adults looking to drink.

  47. If the problem is ‘violence and drug trafficking,’ then the problem is violence and drug trafficking.

    If the problem is ‘rowdiness or noise,’ then the problem is rowdiness or noise.

    These things should be obvious, but by some trick of rhetorical magic every grievance has been conflated beneath the umbrella of ‘hipsters drinking on the grass.’

    At no point have I heard or read that ‘raising a container of liquid into contact with lips for the purpose of consumption’ is a problem. But this is the activity police intend to crack down on.

    Rather than swinging a single, blunt hammer in the hope of smashing away people’s concerns, why don’t we ask our capable and competent police force to do a little parsing, and instead to root out the people who are truly problematic? There’s absolutely no need, and no justification, for forcing hundreds of people to change their harmless behaviors in order to stop the unpleasant few. Loudness and rowdiness tend to stand out, and I am sure that if residents notice it the police will too.

    • So, you’re suggesting police monitor the park until they’ve rooted out every single problematic person? That may be the most inefficient solution I’ve seen on this board. You’ve also conveniently ignored the causal relationship between intoxication and rowdiness. It’s not just that people sit in the park and drink ANY fluid. If a lot of people are drinking in excess in a public park, chances are some of them will become quite rowdy.

  48. I’m so sorry that I can’t make it tonight as I am ill but I wished to offer a few comments for consideration.

    I’m thinking that banning something has never been an effective way to stop it (see Prohibition, abortion bans, drug laws etc) so perhaps the better way of handling this issue is not to ban drinking in parks (or rather, enforce the current laws) but to increase penalties for gross public intoxication. Higher fines perhaps? Most of us are reasonable adults who do not behave like jerks even when we do drink (For me personally, my naturally happy and friendly personality is magnified) so I wish we could be less uptight WASPy Canadians and be more European on this front…

    When we make something a societal taboo there’s way more titillation in doing it. For me, I grew up in a house where I was offered a little bit of beer/wine if my parents were consuming it, so when I turned 19 it was no big deal and I didn’t get fall-down-drunk nor did I want to.

  49. you can get drunk and walk to a park? non? so why worry if someone has a beer in a park? i was in Berlin and close to 50% of the people on the subway had a drink in their hand on a friday night…

  50. Pingback: Trinity Bellwoods Booze Meeting Produces Plenty of Ideas, Few Firm Answers | cityscape | Torontoist

  51. I’m amazed by the number of people who are all worked up over this issue while other issues receive no attention at all. Most local residents have referred to this park as their own backyard. if you want a backyard, I would suggest you move to a home that has your own private backyard. Treating a public space like it’s your own private property will lead to inappropriate behaviour. Making reference to the way this park once was doesn’t make the argument anymore compelling. Unless you can prove the root cause of this shift was public consumption of alcohol, you have nothing more than two events you’ve decided to link in your head.

    To everyone else, I am very confused by your outrage. Why must you drink in a park to have fun? The beauty of the outdoors is the potential to get active, relax and read a book or even just go for a walk. Drinking to the point of intoxication does not create a safe environment for the families that hope to use this public space for legitimate reasons. While you may view your activity as harmless, it is important to consider the impact littering and disorderly conduct can have on the atmosphere in a park. You may not consciously leave empty bottles and cans lying around, but many people simply forget to clean up after themselves (especially when intoxicated).

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