Southwestern Ontario will soon see beer and wine in a corner store – though not exactly the way Premier Doug Ford envisioned in his 2018 campaign promise.
Convenience store 7-Eleven says it has secured a liquor sales licence from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to serve beer, wines and coolers at a restaurant in one of its stores in Leamington.
The company says the licensed restaurant also serves food such as chicken wings, potato wedges and pizza.
There are similar licensed restaurants at several 7-Eleven locations in Alberta, and the company says the Ontario store is the beginning of a wider provincial expansion.
Ford promised during his first provincial election campaign to let corner stores sell beer and wine, and his government even passed a law to terminate a 10-year deal with The Beer Store – set to expire in 2025 – that prevents the expansion.
But that law was never put into force and after a cabinet shuffle saw a new finance minister, bluster over ripping up the deal all but disappeared.
Since then, the Progressive Conservative government has taken a few other alcohol liberalization steps, including permanently allowing restaurants to sell alcohol with food as part of a delivery or takeout order, which was first introduced during the pandemic.