If you're a regular at Trinity Bellwoods or any of the city's other more popular parks, you'll know that the chances of getting busted for consuming alcohol are usually pretty slim despite the fact that it's not technically allowed.
On the occasion that police are actually patrolling green spaces, these days it's moreso been to check for violations of emergency orders such as gathering in groups of more than 10 (lest another Bellwoodschella incident happen).
And, it's not uncommon for cops to be a little lenient if they do happen to catch some unlucky soul openly imbibing in public, often issuing a stern warning and simply requesting that the person simply dump their drink.
But, it seems that this weekend, officers are actually out and ticketing people for having some sips in the grass.
@cityoftoronto There’s been 12 police officers biking around Trinity Bellwoods all weekend, but no one to replenish the soap in the public washrooms during this sanitary pandemic. Where are your priorities?— David D. (@TOFilmReview) July 26, 2020
Residents took to social media to warn others that police were biking up and down the paths of Bellwoods on Saturday, issuing fines up to $300 for anyone with open alcohol.
Leave the beer, wine and spirits at home if you’re planning a trip to a beach or park this weekend. You can receive a $300 ticket for consuming alcohol in public spaces. More info: https://t.co/mC9qhhnl1n pic.twitter.com/eyky9CElEb— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) July 26, 2020
One Redditor said in a post dedicated to the subject that they witnessed firsthand some very "heavy" and "constant" police presence in the park, noting that cops were "aggressively ticketing every person who was drinking."
"Not groups, not drunk people (I really didn't see much of either)," they wrote. "Every person they could find. Couples with a single beer were getting tickets. There were probably 15 police on the one side of the park alone, in what was obviously a targeted blitz."
Reports that @TPSOperations were aggressively ticketing alcohol consumption in Trinity Bellwoods yesterday. City has confirmed such tickets are 100% at the officers’ discretion and this is their chosen priority. $3M per day for this waste. https://t.co/tzmOdoymZi— Michael J. Warren (@ear2ear) July 26, 2020
With bars and restaurants in the city having been closed to all but takeout and delivery up until mid-June, residents definitely learned to take advantage of their local parks and beaches to get out of the house, enjoy the sun and meet up with friends this summer (hopefully staying at least two metres apart and/or wearing a mask while doing so).
"Frankly the park, any park, is one of the few places me and my friends can meet and safely distance because we all live in little shitpot apartments," one user pointed out on the aforementioned Reddit thread.
"The whole thing we've all been sold in this city is that we shouldn't be upset that a gazillion dollars doesn't even buy you a yard — hey, don't worry, the city is your backyard, look at all of these parks! Accept the shitpot apartment life and just use the park like you would your backyard!" another added.
"Oh, wait. You can't actually do that, and now that we've made having a big get-together in your shitty apartment a quasi-no-no, we're going to also ticket you for moving that get-together into the park you were told was 'your backyard' too."
Just saw cops handing out $120 drinking tickets at Bellwoods... adjust to the situation and realize parks are the safest place to be this summer, this shouldn’t be happening... the province left it to the cities @gordperks @JoshMatlow @JohnTory @kristynwongtam— Justin Atkins (@jtatkins) July 25, 2020
Despite the fact that many are wary of crowded patios due to potential COVID-19 exposure and also that Major John Tory has always been a proponent of letting people enjoy some casual bevvies in a neighbourhood green space, actively boozing, selling drinks or having open alcohol in any park is still officially prohibited under the Toronto Municipal Code.
Whether you actually get fined for it normally seems like a matter of chance — and this weekend, perhaps in part because it's so close to the end of the month, unfortunately doesn't seem to be the one to test your luck.
by Becky Robertson via blogTO