Friday, November 19, 2004

Bar hours till 3am

It probably means little to you or me, even though I live downtown, whether the bar hours are 2, 3, or 4 am. It seems like city council in it's decision to extend them, is only catering to the drunks and troublemakers who frequent the street at those hours. The police say they only have to use more officers to break up fights and catch drunk drivers. Sky train service ends at 2 am.
The bars are thrilled, they can load up the drunks for another hour or two who have no idea how many drinks they have had or how much money they're spending. Voda is near me and many nights, after midnight, I hear the arguments of the men and the shrill voices of girly teenagers screaming. The young men who should never have been served that much booze ... and teeny-boppers who are obviously underaged and hard to tell apart from the street hookers.
However what really bugs me about these 'extended' hours, are the talking heads who get on TV and tell us about making our city 'fun' again, and drum the idea that the 'tourists' want it.
My question is; What kind of tourists? Are we looking for the visitor who wants to get smashed until 3 am? A tourist who likes watching drunken fights in the streets? A tourist from wherever who fumbles with his keys and can't even see the road as he drives off into the sunrise? Who are these 'fun seeking' tourists benefitting? Only the liquor companies and bar owners.
I don't know about you, but my idea of a great tourist would be the one who brings a family with him, marvels at our city's fabulous setting, dines at our varied restaurants, checks out the legitimate attractions and brings home a memento of our great city.
Is the tourist no longer the guy with a camera and a street map? Is he now the one with a beer in hand and brass knuckles in his pocket?
Telling city council and the public over and over again that tourists want these hours is really saying we are seeking drunks and street fighters to visit our city. It only makes the message more ridiculous.
Be honest.

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