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The Legal Drinking Age in Toronto

Learn About the Minimum Ages to Buy and Serve Alcohol in Ontario


As with all of Ontario, the legal drinking age in Toronto is 19.

Proving You're Legal Drinking Age

When you are at least 19 years old you need to be prepared to show photo ID to prove you're old enough to drink. This could be an Ontario driver's licence, a Canadian passport, a Canadian citizenship card or a Canadian armed forces card.

You can also apply for a BYID (Bring Your Identification) card through the LCBO. The BYID card is only available to people between the ages of 19 and 35 and it will cost you $30 to apply. Pick up an application at any LCBO store or print the form online at http://www.lcbo.com/socialresponsibility/byidcard.shtml.

Ontario Health Cards as ID for Drinking

Newer Ontario Health Cards have a photo and include your age, but the problem is that because the card is considered part of private health information, staff at bars and other licensed establishments aren't allowed to ask to see it. Because they aren't allowed to ask to see them, Ontario Health Cards aren't on the list of approved ID provided by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. This means you can offer your health card and the staff can decide if they're willing to accept it or not. It's a good idea to call ahead and ask if the place you're planning on going accepts Ontario Health Cards as ID.

"I thought the drinking age in Canada was 18?"

In some provinces of Canada the legal drinking age is lower than in Ontario. In Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba the legal drinking age is 18. The drinking age in Ontario was also 18 up through 1978, but on January 1st 1979 it was raised to 19.

The Legal Age to Serve Alcohol is Lower

If you want to work in a bar, at an LCBO store, or anywhere else that sells alcohol, you're actually allowed to start doing that at 18 years of age. Any younger than 18 and you won't be allowed to do any job that involves bartending, taking drink orders or money for drinks, serving drinks or stocking alcohol.


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