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Case Study: Toronto Life and Canada’s New Alcohol Guidelines

How realistic are Canada’s new alcohol guidelines?

The Challenge

Toronto Life teamed up with the Angus Reid Group to ask Torontonians how much they imbibe, why they do it and whether they have any plans to cut back.


The results are illuminating. They reveal the city’s favourite libations (wine, beer and caesars), surefire hangover cures (water ranks high, hair of the dog surprisingly low) and go-to places (home, mostly).

How much are Torontonians drinking?

Canada updated its alcohol guidelines in early 2023. The new recommendations are significantly more stringent… Since 2011, the suggested weekly maximum was 15 drinks a week for men and 10 for women.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction spent two and a half years building out new guidelines. The headline is sobering: no amount of alcohol is good for you. The new suggestion is to keep consumption below two drinks a week. At seven drinks weekly, concerns about strokes and heart disease rise.

With such a stark adjustment to these guidelines, Toronto Life partnered with Angus Reid Group to ask Torontonians just how much they are drinking. We also asked about drink of choice, favorite haunts, and past experiences with drinking.

The Toronto Booze Poll

Sample Frame & Methodology

Revealing our favorite libations

From February 2 to 7, 2023, the Angus Reid Group conducted an online survey among a representative sample of 1,005 alcohol consumers in the GTA, ages 19+, balanced and weighted on age and gender.

All respondents were members of the online Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.


Want to learn more about our panel, the Angus Reid Forum?

The Angus Reid Forum


The results were illuminating:

Key findings from the Toronto Booze Poll

  • Five Drinks a Week: Torontonians are averaging five drinks a week. 15% of Torontonians are having ten or more drinks a week.
  • FOMO: 31% of those aged 19-34 worry about missing out on social experiences if they don’t drink.
  • Out of pocket: Torontonians are spending an average of $28.00 a week on alcoholic beverages.
  • Dry January: 21% of those surveyed completed Dry January in 2023
  • Sober Curious: 25% of respondents would like to drink less or stop entirely.

Toronto Life published a lengthy article on the results of the poll

Read Article
18% of us think that drinking is less cool than it used to be

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