Toronto needs to consider allowing bars to stay open until 4 a.m.

Legendary venues like The Hoxton, Hughs Room, and the Silver Dollar Club are being choked by strict nightlife laws in Toronto, even though they are situated in one the biggest music and nightlife scenes in Canada.  Toronto has over 500 live music venues and over 9,000 restaurants that are all limited by a 2 a.m. closing time.

Toronto needs to follow New York’s lead: leave bars open until 4 a.m.

But the issue of bars changing their last-call is much more complicated than Toronto City Council just pushing the by-law through.

Transit and noise issues both roadblock the decision of changing the noise by-law past 11 p.m. and last call laws to allow bars to stay open to 4 a.m. If Toronto wants to keep its spot as one of the best nightlife cities in the world, these by-laws have got to go,

For Torontonians, the TTC would need to push their service past the current 1:30 a.m. cut-off point. While taxis and Ubers do offer an alternate way to travel the city, the cost might not be worth it after spending up to $10 dollars for a beer or up to $20 dollars for a mixed drink, the cost might not be worth it.

The travel issue doesn’t exclusively affect those living near a subway or TTC bus stop, residents of the GTA are also affected by an early last ride time for GO Transit.

The 40-minute walk (or $15-dollar taxi) from The Opera House to Union Station for the last train (12:13 a.m.) or the last Lakeshore East bus (2:20 a.m.) might not be the most appealing thing after a night of drinking. If somehow you manage to make it back to your hometown’s GO station, the public buses will have stopped running and it’s back to hailing a cab – if you can find one that is.

The current noise by-law of 11 p.m. has got to go.

It is completely understandable if someone doesn’t want to hear a neighbour blasting Darude – Sandstorm until the early hours of the morning. But many of these venues are located away from housing; Sneaky Dee’s at College and Bathurst is surrounded by an RBC and a Scotiabank, for example.

Bars can apply for extensions to the noise by-law for special events, such as IndieWeek and Canadian Music Week. Obviously, bars situated near residential areas should have to abide by the 11 p.m. by-law.

This late night extension is being pushed by Toronto’s Music Industry Advisory council, and according to CBC, they feel like the by-laws prevent the success of music venues.

This is an issue that has many different angles. Some industry members, like photographers and bartenders feel this law change would help them make more money. While some musicians feel the late night extension will result in playing later not longer, but not making any more money.

With the legendary El Mocambo announcing it will be making a comeback, Toronto needs to reconsider the noise and last call by-laws. These clubs and venues are an important part of Toronto’s history, and we need to adapt to make sure they are still around for years to come.

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Alex Debets is a second-year journalism student at Durham College. He enjoys writing about music, sports, and politics. His work can be seen on Riot Radio, and The Chronicle. Alex is a music lover, who spends his time collecting vinyl. He hopes to work at CBC Radio one day.

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