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Roaring Twenties

Post-War Problems
Politics and Regional Protests
Foreign Investment
Canada's Growing Autonomy
Canadian Culture
20 Questions for the Twenties
Interesting facts
Veterans and Social Support
Fads, Fashions, & American Influences
Women in the 1920s
Economic Development Of Canada
Post-War Problems
Aboriginal Political Movements
Twenties Talk
Labour Unrest
Important People

These are some of the post-war problems that occured when war ended in  November 1918.

-The banning of the production,import,and transportation of liquor across the Canada.
-Introduced by Federal Government in 1918 in every province,except Quebec
-Alcohol consumption was reduced by as much as 80%.
Some influencing Factors:
- Women's Christian Temperance Union had campaigned for a ban on liquor
-The group was supported by farmers,church,logde,and merchant associations
-During the war the campaign gained momentum
1) It was pointed out that grain should be used to feed soldiers and civilians instead of making alcohol
2) The production of liquor did nothing to support war effort
3) Workers were needed to produce necessary war supplies
What Happened?

-although prohibition was a law that banned the production, distribution, transportation, at no time during the prohibition was alcohol unavailable.

-Created new kind of crime " Bootlegging" Bootleg booze (selling illegal liquor)
-Speakeasies sprang up
-Druggists did a roaring business by filling prescriptions of alchohol as a tonic
-Canadians smuggled liquor South of the border-"Rumrunners"or in Quebec “revenue runners”.

-they would use speedboats, sleighs with jingling bells, hearses, cars, trucks and go on snowshoes to smuggle. Later on fleet aircrafts were used.


-it was estimated that close to a million dollars worth of booze reached Detroit from Windsor each month in this fashion.


- this “business” provided lucrative employment for 1000s of citizens


-For use of vessels, vessel owners received from $100-$120 per day. And captains received $500 per month.

In addition bonuses were paid for successful landing of cargo


- Some pilots in Ontario lost interest in dangerous barn-storming and flying of mail when they discovered they could make $300 by delivering a single payload of alcohol.


-Customs on American side often turned a blind eye for money, while fast patrol boats of the U.S coast guard did not.


- The Bronfman brothers –Sam and Harry were known as “kingpins” of booze.


- They organized and guaranteed supply in Canada.

-Established the Canadian pure drug company in Yorkton, Saskatchewan as a front for their booze-smuggling operation.


- In a couple of years they were multi-millionaires.


the most popular tonic in land and one recommended for the widest range of symptoms was Scotch Whiskey.


-on prairies, distilleries were still permitted to make drinking alcohol for non-drinking purposes: scientific, mechanical, medicinal, industrial, or sacramental.


-distributors were allowed to import whiskey under bond, theoretically for trans-shipment to foreign destinations.


- Independent operators made alcohol in jerry-built stills in barns, chicken coops and cellars across the nation.

-this was known as “Bathtub gin” or “moonshine”.


-“Bootleggers”, “Speakeasies”, “Blind pigs” were American slang terms for illegal liquor sources. Canadians soon adopted these terms as well.


- Liquor in illegal drinking places was costly.


- liquor was sold to bootleggers for about 5 or 6 dollars a bottle, and they usually let it go for 8 or 9 dollars.


-By the shot, the $ of liquor ranged from 50 cents up to a dollar or more depending on the quality of the booze and class of the bar.


-the good stuff was hard to find.


- To make more alcohol, operators would add water which diluted alcohol.


-usually there was more water than alcohol.


-sometimes people got chemicals or wood alcohol and sometimes they went blind or died as a result.


-Prohibition led to illegal buying off goods (smuggled across border, no tax).


-Crime rate dropped and arrests for drunkeness decreased dramatically
-arrests for drunkenness dropped by 93%.
-More workers took their paychecks home instead of to the tavern (spending it on alcohol)
-Family savings accounts doubled.
-wives and children were no longer beaten so frequently.
-Industrial efficiency improved because fewer work days were missed

-The depression of the early twenties brought a host of new problems for governments and supporting prohibition became a lesser concern.

-Government realized prohibition was impossible to enforce
-Provincial governments realized they were losing millions of $ in potential taxes on liquor sales
-People wanted government controlled liquor outlets.
-powerful pressure groups such as veterans organizations pushed for this.
-Individual provinces dropped prohibition throughout the 1920s
-PEI -last province-1948

Influenza Epidemic:
-Soldiers returned from war and country was struck with "Spanish Flu" (influenza)
-Soldiers carried virus with them overseas
-Ravaged many countries around the world
-Lead to pneumonia and 1000's died from it
-Public buildings closed doors to stop spread (
-Public health departments and clinics flooded with #'s of the sick and dying
-50,000 Canadians in all died during the epidemic
-It pressed the government into action:
-Federal Department of Health was created in 1919
-They took over control of national concerns as border quarantines
-Co-operated with provincial and volunteer organizations on campaigns such as child welfare
-Federal and Provincial governments began collecting statistics such as birth and death rates, and infantb mortality rates
-The department signalled that Canadians were becoming more aware of public concerns

Go to Labour Unrest