Thanks to the Attorney General of Ontario, the summer of 2011 will go down in provincial history as the first season where people can attend their favorite festivals and drink to their heart’s content without being crammed like cattle into beer tents. Scenes like the above from last year’s Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival are now a thing of the past.
While the Distillery District is quite pleasant to look at, the experience left a lot to be desired. Once a drink was purchased, it had to be consumed before one could move on to the next tent, which lead to traffic jams, overcrowding and rushed consumption.
While over 8,000 people attended (and I think most of us had an outstanding time), Scott Rondeau, the president of Power Juncture (the event company behind the festival) thought they could do better.
“[We saw] Polson Pier as one big open area with 215 feet of untapped waterfront and we liked it. You’re right on the water, watching the sun set and there are no more pavilions. You don’t have to finish your food or drink before moving on to the next vendor.
If you’re in a group and each one of you wants to try something different, you can do that and move along. No one’s stuck.”
When asked about the changes to the liquor laws, Scott is enthusiastic.
“While the onus will always be on the organizers to provide responsible service, it’s nice to see the public be treated in a more adult fashion.”
With 45 vendors bringing over 200 products for guests to sample, the new set-up should make it that much easier to get around and give everything a taste. According to Scott, most beer samples will cost $1; with wine costing up to $3 more and rarer spirits fetching no more than $8. The cigar lounge from last year will return although this time, the smokes will be paired with scotch instead of rum.
Tickets are available in advance for $25 or you can purchase them at the door for $30. As usual, your entrance fee starts you off with 5 tickets.
The Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival is open from 6pm until 11pm on both Thursday and Friday, June 16th and 17th, respectively. On Saturday, June 18th, the festival opens at 12pm and, except for a brief period from 5pm until 6pm, will remain open until 11pm that night.
(Photo taken from the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival blog.)