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Toronto mayor backs early booze sales at bars, restaurants during World Cup

Toronto Mayor John Tory is backing a plan to allow local restaurants and bars to serve alcohol earlier than usual during the FIFA World Cup. 

The mayor says he will ask city councillors next week to approve a plan permitting alcohol sales to start at 8 a.m., an hour ahead of the provincial standard, for the duration of the international soccer tournament.

The World Cup runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18, but the earliest the Toronto proposal would get the greenlight is at the first meeting of the city’s newly elected council on Nov. 24.

The change would align liquor sales with the 8 a.m. start for some earlier games given the eight-hour time difference between Toronto and Qatar, the tournament’s host country.

Tory is pitching the move as a way to help the pandemic-stricken restaurant industry, giving them another way to benefit from World Cup celebrations across Toronto. 

Canada has qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. 

Toronto was recently selected as one of the 16 cities to host 2026 World Cup matches. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2022. 

The Canadian Press