A place where millions of people’s lives overlap needs to lay down a few ground rules. At the core, I think most of us implicitly understand that we should to behave in a way that is safe, courteous and respectful of others. Given how close others are in the city, we may need to reign in our wildest impulses now and then.
We all know that you have to stop at red lights, put the garbage out on the specified day, and turn the music down after 11 (unless you’ve struck a deal with the neighbours). But the letter of the law often remains hazy: most of us can’t begin to guess how city officials have drawn the line between harmless fun and public nuisance.
Inspired by Rules issue of Spacing Magazine, I thought I’d start putting together a rule book that would clarify a few questions that have nagged me over the years.
With spring-time here and semester’s-end celebration right around the corner, there are few things I am looking forward to more than laying down in a patch of juicy green grass and tilting back a long-awaited beer. The ultimate question becomes: can I do both at once?
I telephoned the city’s Réseau accès at 311 to clarify the drinking in the park question once and for all. The answer is that one is allowed to consume wine or beer as part of a picnic in public parks in all Montreal’s boroughs. The bad news is that the 311 operator told me that this rule and others were not available to check online.
Now what exactly constitutes a picnic is a bit of a grey area and I suppose it is left to the discretion of the law-enforcer. I am guessing that a bunch rowdy folks with a 2-4 and a bag of chips could merit a police warning. On the other hand, a baguette and cheese would be a welcome compliment to a bottle of wine or two in the afternoon sunlight.
Take home message: Montrealers shouldn’t be shy to enjoy a drink in the park but the city asks that we be make a day of it and bring along some food to help absorb the alcohol.