Drinking/Buying alcohol, Ottawa
It happens for three days, once a year. The Ottawa Wine and Food Show is an excellent place to try different wines, food and other spirits prepared and presented by local businesses among others.
The thing is ALWAYS packed, you may have to wait in line for an hour even if you have a ticket. Regardless, it's always a good time. There's lots of wonderful things to eat and drink but the best part may be the people watching!
Friday and Sunday are the best days to go. Saturdays are busy!
In Canada, Alcohol can only be sold in goverment licenced stores. The regulations on alcohol are provincially controlled, and vary slightly from province to province. In Ontario the legal drinking age is 19. Alcohol tax is high, and it will seem expensive to many foreingers.
The stores where alcohol is sold are:
The Beer Store - Beer only
Vintages - Wine (Ontario wines only), and sometimes liquers that are under 20% ABV
The LCBO (Liquor Contol Board of Ontario) - They sell beer, wine and spirits. They have an amazing selection of all types of alcoholic beverages. The beer selection is not as good as The Beer Store, but they usually have some beers that The Beer Store does not carry (mainly imports)
Beer, wine and Liquor stores generally close between 8-11PM (9 is average) Mon-Sat and 5:30-6:00 PM on Sunday.
Expect to be asked for ID if you look under 25. For some reason The Beer Store is much more strict with ID. The LCBO and Vintages rarely ask unless you look really young.
Expect to be ID'd at nightclubs and bars Bars close at 2AM in Ottawa. Alcohol can be served from 11AM to 2AM in licenced facilities. Alcohol may not be consumed outside of a residence or licenced establishment.
Across the river in Hull the rules are a little more lax. Beer and wine can be bought at conveinience stores, known as Deppaneurs over there. Liquor can only be bought at an SAQ, Quebec's equivelant of the LCBO. The drinking age is 18 in quebec, and alcohol can be served until 3AM.
Beer and wine can be sold in stores up to 11PM 7 days a week. This is convienent if you need a botttle of wine or some beer to go with dinner on a sunday evening and you forgot to get to the Ontario stores.
The Legal Drinking Age for the Province of Ontario is 19.
It is against the law to have open containers in public places (i.e. drinking a beer while standing in the middle of a mall will probably get you into trouble). As mentioned in the section above, it is also illegal to have an open container in a motor vehicle.
Liquor service is for consumption on the premises only, and is permitted between 11am and 2am Monday to Saturday, and from noon to 2am on Sunday.
Liquor is sold retail in Ontario only at government-licensed liquor, beer and wine stores, to persons aged nineteen and above. It cannot be bought from grocery, corner or general stores. It cannot be purchased from bars, restaurants or hotel lounges.
You can buy beer at The Beer Store, or for harder liquors, the LCBO.
As you approach the maritimes in Canada, you'll start to notice many weird drinking activities.. One of these activities is calling out "sociable!" at the top of your lungs..if you're in a bar, and someone calls out "sociable", then you have to raise your glass, repeat the chant, and have a big drink!
Be thankful you're not in Newfoundland: you may have to kiss a carp there!
The legal drinking age in the province of Ontario is 19 years. It is illegal to drink alcohol anywhere that is outside of either a licensed premise, a private residence or wherever you are staying (hostel, hotel, camping spot).
Buying alcool is weird and kinda annoying in Ontario. Contrarily to Quebec, where you can buy beer at every corner store, here, you can only buy them in beer stores! You go in (people 25 and under be prepared to show i.d.) and you look at the wall where all the choice of beers are exposed. THEN, you go in line and tell this person what you want. Then the person calls the backstore and your case comes rolling on some rolling slide thing...anyways.