In case you haven't heard, Toronto's favourite outdoor drinking spot is endangered. That's right, cops are finally planning to bust people for openly consuming alcoholic beverages in Trinity Bellwoods Park, which, to be kind of fair, is illegal. Other cities are a bit puritan about outdoor drinking, too, but there seemed to be this sense that Bellwoods was protected by good energy, somehow. Some might say a good thing can't last forever. Others say it's a load of BS and Toronto the Good needs to unbunch its prim, proper panties. Whatever the case, we're either going to have to start being insanely covert about drinking in our beloved belle woods, or find a new place to get debaucherous.
Here are five alternate outdoor havens in which to thwart the po-lice and continue to get your drink on outdoors in Toronto.
Stressful day at the office? Can't stand the overly-aggressive typing sounds emanating from the cubicle next door? If you work downtown near Yonge and Queen, simply slip out during your coffee break and guzzle a lil moonshine from a wrinkled paper bag in these magical cloud gardens. There's a lots of cover as you walk to the top of the waterfall works, and there will probably be other people indulging elsewhere in the gardens at the same time as you. You'll come back perked up, refreshed, and sassy, ready to tolerate the remainder of the day.
Marilyn Bell Park
Marilyn Bell Park is an idyllic spot for evening beverages. It's always a few degrees cooler near the lake, and Marilyn Bell is right on the water near the foot of Jameson Ave. It comes fully equipped with benches to camp out on, and if you feel like getting frisky, you can always sneak off to the side of its surrounding trails. It's in a relatively discreet area, too, and somewhat po-po free. I would still recommend keeping it on the D.L. by disguising your beverage in order to avoid trouble, though, just in case.
Obviously, there's got to be a beach on this list. Cherry Beach, at the foot of Cherry St. just south of Unwin in the east end, is a clear choice. You don't have to make a watery trek on the ferry to get there, but it's still right on the lake. It's got chill vibes, people of all stripes hang out there, and there's lots of opportunity for cute dog watching. Best of all, if you happen to make it your double watering hole on a Sunday afternoon, you can catch Promise at Cherry Beach, which is a full-on electro dance party.
Christie Pits pool
Pool hopping at Christie Pits is technically just as illegal as imbibing in Bellwoods...but I don't really care? Life is short; summer is hot. I see no other necessary extenuating facts. The park has lots of space to roam around and, technically, drink in, but the pool has a curly yellow waterslide, so. I'm going to be a mom for a sec, though, and suggest there's at least one person present who will be cognizant of the possibility of drowning and protect the others. A sexy lifeguard, if you will.
While it's a pain from an accessibility standpoint (at least via the TTC), the area surrounding the Polson Pier Entertainment Complex bears one of the best views of the Toronto skyline, which attracts droves of people on hot summer nights to the rickety boardwalk at the pier's edge. While it can get busy when there's a concert at the Sound Academy, sitting by the water with a few beers is unlikely to attract much of a heat score. And the view really is superb.
Ain't no love in the heart of the city. But there is a little forestation going on, and it provides great cover for getting boozy in secret. Crothers' Woods is located just northeast of the Bayview Extension and Pottery Road, just a quick jaunt from Broadview Stn. or bike ride from just about anywhere in the city. The one caution here is that there's no lighting at night, so you'll have to make use of this one for day drinking only.
Happy outdoor cocktail hour.
Photo by bending light on Flickr