Toronto bars to open early for Olympic hockey

Feb. 21, 2014 at 2:48 PM

TORONTO, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Olympic hockey fans will be welcome to drink early Saturday and Sunday morning in Toronto bars, thanks to an easing of licensing rules.

Because Team Canada will play Sweden in the gold medal round of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, early Sunday, nine time zones away, Toronto bars and restaurants will be permitted to serve alcohol at 6 a.m., the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.

"We just want to make sure that everyone can have a good, safe time watching the game," said Councillor Mike Layton, who led the motion in the Toronto City council Thursday.

The motion was passed before it was clear Team Canada would play Sunday. Finland and the United States will play for the bronze medal early Saturday.

Mayor Rob Ford voted against the temporary extension, noting the city's nightclubs were excluded, the Toronto Star noted.

"What makes a nightclub any different from a cafe?" he asked.

Layton said the city was "quite lucky" to have the power to extend alcohol service hours, noting the City Of Toronto Act gives the council power to bend the rules "during events of municipal, provincial, national or international significance."

"We did it for the World Cup, years ago, and we do it quite frequently at night to extend to later hours for things like TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)," Layton said.

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