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Toronto city councillor wants restaurants to be able to sell alcohol earlier

CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Summary

A Toronto city councillor is putting forward a motion to allow alcohol to be served in restaurants before 11 a.m.

Retail alcohol sales hours were recently pushed earlier, to 9 a.m.

TORONTO (CITYNEWS) – Torontonians who enjoy a mimosa or caeser during weekend brunch may not have to wait until 11 a.m. anymore to drink, if a Toronto city councillor gets her way.

Toronto-Danforth councillor Paula Fletcher is putting forward a motion this week to request the Ontario government extend the hours in which restaurants can serve alcohol on the weekends.

Currently, restaurants have to wait until 11 a.m. to serve liquor, but Fletcher would like to see that change to 9 a.m.

In December, the Ontario government extended the hours for LCBO stores, The Beer Store, authorized grocery stores and off-site winery retail stores could sell alcohol. Residents can now buy liquor between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Fletcher said restaurants should also be able to take advantage of extended hours as well.

“You can come (to a restaurant) at 10 o’clock and you can’t have a glass of wine. But, you can go to Loblaws two blocks away and buy a whole bottle of wine,” she said. “Something is broken.”

The motion that will be presented to city council on Tuesday says many restaurateurs have requested the extended hours saying it would provide greater flexibility for businesses and additional convenience for consumers.

It states, “being allowed to serve mimosas and other alcoholic beverages would significantly enhance the brunch experience for many Torontonians.”

Cindy Wilkes, the owner of the Brooklyn Tavern in Leslieville, tells CityNews people ask for drinks all the time before 11.

“People are sometimes getting off shift work at 9 a.m. or they are getting together to watch cricket. All they want to do is make that decision on their own to order a drink.”

She adds, as a restaurateur, “I just want to have the same opportunity that the LCBO has and give the people what they want.”

Fletcher also cites previous instances where city council allowed restaurants serve liquor early due to sporting events, including the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.