Calgary expands alcohol in parks program, entire parks soon to be included

Three friends sit together at a park picnic table near a river. (Getty Images)

A Calgary program that lets adults drink in designated parks is returning this year and includes more spots to sip spirits than ever before.

The City of Calgary approved the pilot program last spring and launched it on June 1, 2021.

It allowed people to have a drink or two at select picnic tables throughout the city.

The program returns on May 10 with more than 80 tables available for use, and city officials say "later this spring" there will be six entire parks – or portions of parks – where you can lay down a picnic blanket, go for a walk or play a game while drinking alcohol.

"Alcohol consumption will be allowed within the area designated by onsite signage," said a Tuesday news release.

The parks where open areas will be designated for alcohol consumption include:

  • Barb Scott Park;
  • Buckmaster Park;
  • Lindsay Park;
  • Southview Off-Leash Area;
  • Tomkins Park; and
  • West Baker Park.

WHAT'S NEW FOR 2022?

New this year, there are picnic tables you can use within regional parks.

The city says you can also book multiple picnic tables.

Picnic tables have also been added to high-density neighbourhoods where Calgarians may not have a private backyard.

The city says the change was based off of feedback from participant surveys.

“Calgarians told us they appreciated being able to have a beer or glass of wine in our beautiful park spaces last year; especially those who do not have their own private backyard," said Kyle Ripley, director of Calgary Parks, in a news release.

"We hope this year’s expanded program will encourage more people to connect with family and friends in a natural setting."

DRINKING IN CALGARY PARKS: KNOW THE BASICS

When Calgary's alcohol in parks program returns, there are some rules you need to be aware of:

  • The picnic tables that are alcohol-friendly were chosen with care, according to the city, and are distanced from playgrounds.
  • Alcohol is only permitted at tables with the following signage: 

  • The picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-serve basis or can be reserved in advance.
  • Alcohol consumption is only allowed between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Most sites do not have washrooms nearby, so officials are asking people to plan ahead.
  • And as always, public intoxication is against the law.
  • The City of Calgary is also asking participants not to drive after consuming alcohol.
  • If you encounter an issue you can call 311. If issues at the same site persist, the city says they could be removed from the program.

To book a picnic table online or find more information about the program you can visit the City of Calgary's website.