Local Customs in Toronto: Liquor / Beer / Wine
Social drinking of liquor, beer, and wine is popular in Toronto, Canada. However, even though the drinking age is lower in Canada than in the United States, other laws and customs, as well as prices and taxes help ensure that alcohol is enjoyed responsibly and safely.
Ontario’s Provincial Liquor Laws
Provincial law provincial laws strictly prohibit drunk driving as well as open consumption of alcohol on the streets. Laws also limit the sale of wine, beer, and liquor to government run stores, with few exceptions. Local and provincial law also limits the hours that alcohol may be sold and served.
Sale and Taxation of Liquor
Unlike in the United States, where most wine, beer, and liquor is sold through private businesses, most alcoholic beverages in Canada are sold exclusively through government run-stores. In Toronto, you may purchase wine and liquor through the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), and beer at The Beer Store. Limited distribution, plus taxes make the price of alcoholic beverages noticeably higher than in the United States, whether purchased at these stores or in restaurants and bars. At some restaurants you can bring your own wine.
Local Specialties and Making Your Own
A local specialty that is great to purchase is ice wine, which originated in Germany, and has become distinctively Canadian. Another local phenomenon is make-you-own wine and beer shops, which are popular in Toronto; and their products cost less when you have a hand in “producing” it. However, these are best suited for long-term visits, because the process, from choosing ingredients to labeling, takes a couple of months.
Editor’s note: The information containained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about liquor, beer, and wine customs in Toronto