Campaign seeks 4 a.m. last call

LastcallTO is an online lobbying effort to extend Toronto bar hours to match other major cities like New York | Photo by Janie Ginsberg LastcallTO is an online lobbying effort to extend Toronto bar hours to match other major cities like New York | Photo by Janie Ginsberg

Janie Ginsberg
Life Reporter 

London, Paris, and Tokyo serve alcohol 24 hours a day, and last call in Miami is 5 a.m., New York 4 a.m.

In Toronto, final drink service is 2 a.m. While the other world-class cities are partying, people in Canada’s largest city are sent home early.

One Toronto group is campaigning to change that – LastcallTO. It is campaigning to extend the last call liquor laws from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. with a website saying that adults should be treated like adults, and the new rules would be good for crowd control.

But is extending the party worth the potential consequences?

Carolyn Swinson from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) doesn’t think so.

“If you look at the number of people who are charged with impaired driving, 70 per cent of them will have come from a licensed establishment,” she said.

Swinson also said that if the city goes ahead with it, they should do the proper research first.

“They just had the one weekend) where they extended hours and they had no problems, but that’s not good enough to say that by doing that long term that there won’t be issues,” she said.

Joining the ranks of other tourist destination cities is something that Toronto deserves, according to the LastcallTO website, which maintains our nightlife is holding us back.

“Well, that’s just one persons point of view,” said Swanson. “It’s not something that should be taken lightly, and it certainly isn’t something that should be done just because somebody thinks it’s a good idea.”

The campaign said the extension would allow for the reduction of illegal after-hours venues.

Daniela Trozzolo, manager of Humber’s LinX Lounge said the impact would not be significant to the campus bar .

“We have our own alcohol policy…one

of the rules is that you stop service at 1:30 a.m., so I don’t think that’s likely to change regardless of what wider provincial or municipal laws get enacted.”

Trozzolo said her primary concern is providing a safe place for students to enjoy themselves on campus.

Dr. Jeff Habert, a family doctor and Toronto coroner is unsure of how extending drinking hours will pan out. As a coroner, he sees tragic results of drunk driving first hand.

“Once you get to a certain level, your ability to drive safely becomes impaired, hence we have stringent drinking and driving laws, and hence we have the RIDE program, which has been very helpful.”

Toronto is a diverse city not just full of nine to five workers, but also people who want to go for drinks after a late shift.

“As somebody who works quite a bit of overnights I would like to see it happen, but I can understand from a safety standpoint why the city would want to keep the time in check,” said Julia Alexander, Humber graduate and national online editor for the Toronto Sun.

LastcallTO said that extending selling hours would lead to new jobs, greater investments, and attract more tourists.

“Toronto is an expensive city to have a business, so just the more options you have to make money are very, very important,” said Dean Odorico, the general manger of Woody’s, a bar in the Church and Wellesley streets village.

“Toronto is a world class city, and being so we should have hours that are comparable to other cities in the world.”