From the party in Confederation Park to the standing crowds in Pil Country, it’s safe to say Rider Nation knows how to celebrate on game days. But new legislation in Ontario could change pre-game rituals for sports fans.
Ontario is expected to announce more details on the proposal to legalize tailgate parties – normally held in the parking lot of a sporting venue before a game – in the provincial budget unveiled Thursday.
The amendments would allow parking lots and venues near major sports arenas to apply for special occasion liquor permits.
Saskatchewan has similar special occasion permits, but those don’t allow people to drink their own booze in public. The government isn’t looking into changing its consumption laws.
“To this point, I haven’t had any proposals come forward from any of the stakeholders or anyone who could possibly be interested. But I’d be willing to listen to them if they did come forward in the future,” said Gene Makowsky, the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming.
“It will be interesting to see what Ontario does announce,” Makowsky said. “Will it be the U.S.-style, where it’s bring your own alcohol to a public place?”
While the government isn’t actively seeking to legalize tailgate parties, Rider fans were quick to throw in their support.
“The Riders’ fan base is already a tight-knit community, which kind of seems to be the main point of a tailgate. But it can only grow, right?” said one fan, adding since Ontario and the United States allow tailgating, Saskatchewan should too.
Right now, Saskatchewan fans caught tailgating could be slapped with a $250 ticket for drinking in public. The fine goes up to $360 if there’s open alcohol in the vehicle.
However, Regina police say it’s rare to give out tickets to fans drinking liquor in the parking lot of sports venues. Instead, officers often dump the person’s drink and use it as a teaching opportunity.
The Roughriders own the game-day experience at Evraz Place. Global News reached out to the team to see if they’d be in favour of tailgate legislation, but they did not comment.