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Laws in Ontario
The laws concerning alcohol consumption in Toronto follow mostly Ontario laws. The government regulates all sales of beer, wine and liquor, so you can expect prices to be expensive here.
Even local wines and beers will cost you more than one might think. Expect to pay 10-15 CAD dollars for a bottle of wine (even ones made in Ontario) in LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) and 25+ for a bottle in restaurants. Some restaurants let you bring your own wine, but will charge a dispensing fee and per cup. I haven't actually seen any restaurants that do this, but they are out there.
Beer is sold in LCBO and places called the 'The Beer Store'. Again, no alcohol is sold in grocery stores, convenience stores or private enterprises (with the exeption of wine where you can buy at some 'Vincor' outlets known as Wine Rack or some wineries. Also, some northern Ontario towns do sell booze in convenience stores. Check which province you are in, because it varies in Quebec and western provinces. Cases of beer are also exorbitant. A 6 pack of Heinekin is likely to cost 12-13 dollars. In a bar, you can expect to pay 5-6 dollars.
Note in restaurants, you are charged for not only GST/PST (VAT) taxes, but also 10% provincial alcohol tax.
Liquor is the same. Expect to pay 30 dollars for the more common liquors, like rum, vodka and whiskey for 40oz or 750mL bottles. In a bar, 6-7 dollars is the norm. Note, this does not include gratituties, should you tip (usually a dollar a drink).
Hours of beer stores/LCBO/Wine rack stores range, but are open 7 days a week. Usually 9:00pm or 10:00pm are closing hours. Legal consumption of alcohol in restaurants and bars are not allowed before 11:00AM. Open alcohol in public areas is illegal. To avoid fines, you need to drink in LCBO licensed areas only. The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19.
Torontonians do like to drink, but as our government likes to remind us, it's a privilege we have to pay for.
Drinking in Canada/Ontario
a tip no drinking is permitted legally on the street in Canada or having open liqour in a car
or beer case and bottles have to be sealed and can only bet transported between point of purchase and home or hotel. 19 is the age to drink in Ontario 18 in quebec. have fun!
We, in Canada, are a little different than our neighbour to the south, the US. If you've done a lot of travelling around the States, you'll notice that you can get liquor and beer at local grocery stores and even corner shops. In Canada we are licensed under the Liquor Control Board. Every province has one and here, in Toronto, its called the LCBO. This is the place you'll need to go if you want to buy liquor or any type of alcohol. We also have a store designated solely for Beer. Its name is obvious and easy to spot: The Beer Store. You will not be able to buy any type of alcohol in a supermarket here and you will be asked for ID always if purchasing from one of the above mentioned.
In Germany, in 1794, it was discovered that if grapes were picked when the temperature was about -13 degrees (Celsius) and then squeezed, they would produce a very concentrated juice that is very flavoured but contains almost no water.
After the fermentation process, you get what is called "ice wine".
Apparently, and according to the LCBO expert, only Germany and Canada produce it.
It is a sweet dessert wine that seems to please most.
If you want a typical Canadian beverage, this is a good option and makes for a nice gift.
- Wine Tasting
Drinking and Driving
This is not tolerated at all. Mostly during the Christmas season, but also at anytime of the year when bars close at 2 am there are "ride" spot checks. Drivers get stopped by police for 'spot checks'. Drivers may be asked to provide a breath test to check alcohol levels. If it is high one may be ticketed, license suspended, car impounded, and/or taken into custody. It is against the law to refuse the test. Groups of people partying will select a person to be "the designated driver" who will be the person to abstain from drinking thus one is able to drive everyone home safely. Otherwise people pile into a taxi to get home safe.
It is VERY important to allow Old Bag Ladies to rest frequently on long trips around Toronto....they need sit downs at bus stops and MUST NOT be disturbed as they are liable to retaliate by taking unflattering photos of you....
- Beer Tasting
Make your own wine & beer
Sim1's LCBO tip made me remeber this...
With the alcohol prices in Canada so high due to total government control of liquor sales, thrifty Canadians have started making their own wine and beer.
All over town you'll see wine-making shops:
Essentially you go in, pick your choice of grape juice/extract, choose the quantity (30l's or so), and get a call after two months to come in and help bottle it. The deal with the bottling is that if you have a hand in the 'production' of the wine, they tax you less (sounds like a good small business to me). The bottling process is pretty easy, you wash the bottles (new, or from your previous batch), choose plastic or cork for a stopper, and then put all into this fancy pneumatic thingey which seals it right up.
Options are custom labels and foil wrapping for the corks.
At around $3.50/bottle for 'Australian Shiraz' I couldn't have made a better weekday drinking/cooking wine.
I'm keeping a bottle to see if it matures well(haha).
Watchout: For some reason whenever I spill it (it's potent), it stains my kitchen counter like hell.
Oh yes, the beer... I've made a case of 500ml Mexican beer, not too bad, and with a refrigerated shelf-life of 3 months, makes for some quick consumption.
The Beer Store
In Ontario, you have to buy your beer in a Beer Store, you cant find it in Corner Store. it's a little bit weird but you have a lot of choice. Be carefull because a lot of these stores close at 9PM from monday to saturday and at 5 PM sunday.
Drinking age is 19, bars close...
Drinking age is 19, bars close at 2am (BOooooo!!!!) you need to buy your beer out of a beer store where you need to select your beer on a wall, tell the clerck wich one you want, then you wait...stupid concept..
It seems to be almost...
It seems to be almost impossible to find a liquor store in Toronto. I guess they don't want people to drink. Seems you can find liquor only in the clubs and restaurants, appropriately priced.
Prices just like in US, except the exchange rate is about $1.40 canadian for $1 US so its like getting a 40% discount all the time...COOL
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