Pub corrals smokers to get minor business back

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By Caitlin Martella

Ryerson’s campus pub will reopen its doors to minors on Monday, more than a month after it shut out underage students to comply with the city’s new anti-smoking bylaw.

RyeSAC’s v.p. student life and events Darren Cooney said Oakham House staff have installed a set of doors in the Ram in the Rye, blocking off the smoking ans bar area from the non-smoking area and washrooms.

The bar’s ventilation system will be upgraded this week to improve air quality and allow minors to legally have access to the smoking section of the pub, Cooney said.

“Our goal is to have it officially all-ages by Monday,” Conney said.

The City of Toronto enacted the bylaw June 1, 2001, which forced eateries to designate themselves either as a bar or a restaurant.

The legislation allows smokers to light up in a bar but prohibits minors from entering. Smoking is prohibited in restaurants except in a designated smoking room, such as what the Ram in the Rye, now a restaurant, will have.

In September, Oakham House staff were forced to ban students under the age of 19 until renovations were completed. Staff considered building a 55-square-metre enclosed area around the bar to accommodate smokers.

Instead, they installed the doors.

Cooney said business suffered after minors were banned but is expected to rise again when the Ram in the Rye returns to all ages.

“The pubs, as a university facility, needs to be accessible for all students at Ryerson,” he said.

“We’ve seen that business has gone down and we realize that it was mostly because of the bylaw, so we had to figure out a way to make it open to everyone again without cutting smoking out all together.”

“I think it’s great,” said second-year radio and television arts student Tanja Burdi. “There are many minors [at Ryerson] who come from schools outside the province and graduate earlier than students from Ontario. Many of my friends were affected by the bylaw and I’m glad we can now get into the pub without having to worry about their ages.”

Along with the Ram in the Rye’s new atmosphere, more changes are planned to help improve the restaurant, Cooney said.

“We are revamping the menus, adding some different events, and creating a totally new Oakham House all together.

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