Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Councillor wants Toronto bars to serve liquor at 6 a.m. for Olympics

Toronto bars and restaurants may be allowed to sell liquor as early as 6 a.m. next weekend for the Winter Olympics.

Councillor Mike Layton will move a motion at council next week asking to extend the sale of alcohol to begin at 6 a.m. from next Thursday through Sunday. These dates coincide with the final men's and women's ice hockey matches that because of the time difference, will air as early as 7 a.m. ET. The women's gold medal game is set for next Thursday, while the men's gold medal game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 23.

Currently, alcohol can only be sold in Ontario after 11 a.m. Mr. Layton's motion applies for most of the city, except for Wards 9 and 24 (York Centre and Willowdale), where local councillors have asked to be exempted.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Layton said he decided to move the motion after someone suggested it to him on Twitter, and emphasized that it's intended to encourage communities to gather and cheer on their country, rather than simply about consuming alcohol.

"There's this element of community and celebration that happens when you watch sports together as a group," he said.

Even if the motion is passed, he said he believes it will be more of a symbolic move than anything. "I don't think a lot of people will be taking us up on it at 6:00," he said. "I think it's more have your coffee, have your brunch or breakfast, and then maybe have your beer at 10:00 or 10:30."

He added that he thought about opening up the hours for other sports too, but decided to focus on the final hockey weekend specifically. "There's a distinct connection between being out a restaurant or bar and watching a hockey game. It's a strong association," he said. "There also happens to be a strong association between watching a hockey game and perhaps having a beer."

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who has for the past week had a "Go Canada Go" sign plastered outside his office, said he supports the motion. "I don't know how many people will take advantage of it, but for that short period of time and for that purpose, I'm all for it."

In May of 2010, Toronto city council passed a similar motion for the FIFA World Cup, which allowed bars and restaurants to serve alcohol as early as 10 a.m.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
National Food Reporter

Ann Hui is the national food reporter at The Globe and Mail. Previously, she worked as a national reporter and homepage editor for and an online editor in News. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨