Moosehead – Saint John, NB

          The antiquated liquor laws that existed in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s were silly and probably contributed to drunkenness and certainly some families having to go hungry. No doubt these laws resulted from the years of prohibition. Oftentimes some men would spend their hard earned money at the bootlegger’s while their families went without. There was no shortage of bootleggers in Alder Point during these years. Your parent (usually the father) gave you a note with a fist full of change and sent you off to get a quart or two of beer. You had a choice starting at The Beach, you could go to at least ten different bootleggers between Arsenault’s Store and the Alder Point School. There were at least another half dozen between the Alder Point School and Archie MacKinnon’s farm. Some of them were very small operators and dealt mainly with beer – you went to the door, paid your money and quickly departed with a couple of bottles of beer. Others were more sophisticated where you went in and sat in the parlour or kitchen and were served your booze in a glass. Here you could engage in civilized conversation and listen to “Gabriel Heater” give the war news or discuss the price of swordfish and generally tell lies.


          Right up until I left home in the 1949’s you had to fill out a slip of paper at the liquor store in Sydney Mines or North Sydney and present it for your purchase. I don’t know how much longer this remained in effect but it certainly was a left over from World War Two practices and an antiquated one. Even when the taverns opened in the early 1950’s women were not permitted entry to these unclean and untidy and for the most part dens of antiquity.


          Another oddity of the times was that a wife could appear in front of a magistrate and swear an oath placing her husband on what was called, “The Indian List” which then caused him under penalty of fine and jail not to be in possession of alcohol while he was so branded – quite a law. It was legally known as the Interdiction Act and was aimed at Indians and Half Breeds. Wonder if it still exists?

         Imagine denying the thousands of Indians and Half Breeds the ability to enjoy a beer in a government authorized establishment after them seeing service in both WWI and WWII on behalf of Canada. How cruel  the politicians were at the time. It appears each province had their own version of the Interdiction Act.






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