Originally Posted by MonkeyRonin
Here are the major differences in alcohol laws between Quebec and Ontario:
a. bars can serve until 3 am in Quebec; in Ontario its 2 am, or 4 am during special events.
b. corner stores in Quebec can sell beer & wine; in Ontario they cannot.
c. stores have to stop the sale of alcohol at 11 pm in Quebec; 10 pm in Ontario.
d. drinking age in Quebec is 18; drinking age in Ontario is 19
e. in some situations you can sorta-legally drink in public in Quebec (such as in a public park with a meal); there are no such situations in Ontario.
(wow! Its practically like comparing Berlin to Saudi Arabia, isn't it!)
The laws look similar on paper but there are some real differences in every day life.
First of all, the selected private vendors that have beer and wine in Ontario are very small in number when you compare to the fact that every single corner and grocery store in Quebec sells beer and wine.
If you just look at opposite sides of the Ottawa River, with the Ottawa suburb of Orleans and the former (pre-merger) city of Gatineau. Both have populations of about 110,000. There are probably 60 places in Gatineau where you can buy beer and wine, and probably less than 10 (maybe even 5) in Orleans.
As for the wine vendors (selling Ontario wines) in grocery stores, in theory I guess they can stay open later until 11 but for that the grocery store has to be open until that time as well.
Also, the drinking age in my experience is applied much more softly in Quebec, and basically if you look like you are about 16 you can get into bars fairly easily without any problems. I know that people do "slip through" in Ontario - I did as a young person growing up there - but things tend to be stricter there for sure.
I realize that people are defensive about Ontario being labelled at tightwad province by Gibbroni, but seriously having a more relaxed attitude to alcohol is not necessarily a good or a bad thing. It's just different.