Extending last call could do more bad than good

Sarah Stinchcombe

Sarah Stinchcombe

Sarah Stinchcombe
Life Editor

Partying at the bar until 2:00 a.m. on a Friday night never really feels long enough.

At first, the idea of extending last call until 4 a.m. instead of Toronto’s current 2 a.m. time was very appealing to me.  That is two more hours to enjoy myself, two more hours to buy more drinks and dance to my favourite music, what could be better?

LastCallTO.com is behind the petition to move last call from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.  The website states: “To be a world class city, Toronto needs world class nightlife. “ Since its launch in late February, the petition has gotten lots of attention and traffic.

On a typical Friday night I don’t get to the bar until 11:30 p.m which only leaves me a couple of hours to enjoy my night. If I had two extra hours to spend at the bar, I and other patrons, would likely buy more drinks,  meaning the bar would make more money.

But here’s where the advantages aren’t entirely what they seem.

To begin with, the bar would have to pay employees for those two extra hours with a good chance of the owners having to pay a shift premium in order to keep the bartenders staffed. And with two extra hours patrons may instead opt to leave for the bar later. In this scenario the bars would still be open at their regular time, and paying staff, with possibly much slower business until the later hours.

LastCallTO.com, however, makes this a matter not of business but of principle, stating: “Adults should be treated as adults. Torontonians of or above the legal drinking age should be free to enjoy their libation later into the night.”

This could be a case of too much of a good thing.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been nights when I wasn’t ready to go home once the house lights came on. However, just because I wasn’t ready to go home those times, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have.

A 2010 study by pubmed.com found that two thirds of young people surveyed drank before going to the bar. When roughly 66 per cent of young bar-goers arrive already intoxicated, giving them two extra hours to drink may not be the wisest course of action.

In my three years since turning the legal drinking age I’ve learned how difficult reasoning with a severely intoxicated person is. Adding in other intoxicated people is just a recipe for disaster. .Fights, alcohol poisoning, destruction,theft and becoming a hazard on the roads are just a few things that can happen a person indulges in too much alcohol.

Staying out until 4 a.m. drinking with my friends sounds amazing in theory, but perhaps that’s what an extended last call for Toronto should remain –  a theory.