Drink in Canada

Drink in Canada: Historical Essays

Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Drink in Canada
    Book Description:

    Through an international comparison, Cheryl Warsh introduces the major themes in both historical and anthropological studies of beverage alcohol use. In a separate essay she describes the stigma attached to female alcoholism, particularly its association with prostitution and child neglect. James Sturgis presents the collective biography of the Rennie brothers, who fell victim to alcoholism while attempting to make their fortunes in the late nineteenth-century boom-bust economies of Canada and the United States. Jim Baumohl recounts attempts to establish institutions for alcoholics on the model of insane asylums. Jan Noel describes the revivals organized by Father Chiniguy, a Catholic evangelist, which swept Lower Canada in the 1840s, unifying a French-Canadian populace threatened by the rapid influx of anglophone settlers. Glenn Lockwood pursues a similar theme in his essay, concluding that Ottawa Valley temperance lodges solidified loyalist American opposition to immigrant competitors for regional dominance. Jacques Paul Couturier analyses the regulation of prohibition in a mixed anglophone/Acadian community. Ernest Forbes demonstrates that Canadian and American prohibition provided vital economic opportunities during the prolonged Maritime depression. Finally, Robert Campbell surveys the post-prohibition experience of state monopoly as a means of liquor control.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6433-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-2)
  3. 1 “John Barleycorn Must Die”: An Introduction to the Social History of Alcohol
    (pp. 3-26)

    The elixir of life or the demon rum? Beverage alcohol in all its forms has cemented friendships and ruptured households. Liquor has been an integral aspect of Canadian culture since European contact. Whisky was associated, with tragic consequences, with the fur trade, and the prohibition of liquor sales to First Nations peoples survived into the twentieth century as a vestige of that trade and of the bureaucratic paternalism that surrounds the sale of alcohol.¹ So important was the toddy for the sailors, the woodcutters, and the fishermen that it could be said that much of Canada was built on Jamaican...

  4. 2 Dry Patriotism: The Chiniquy Crusade
    (pp. 27-42)

    Between 1848 and 1851 thousands of French-speaking Catholics in the Province of Canada came forward in their parish churches to take the temperance pledge. As word of this conversion reached non-Catholics across North America, the reaction was one of pure astonishment. For several decades evangelical Protestants had laboured long and hard to eradicate drunkenness; and now a Catholic priest was securing more converts in a single day than these earlier workers had won with years of steady effort. Contemporaries shook their heads and laid it down to the eloquent charm of Father Charles Chiniquy. This idea has stood the test...

  5. 3 Temperance in Upper Canada as Ethnic Subterfuge
    (pp. 43-69)

    Temperance suddenly appeared in British North America during the late 1820Ss, at the same time it emerged elsewhere in the transatlantic world as an idea introduced by evangelical clergymen. Its rapid spread as a movement in a frontier society, with more than eighty lodges in Upper Canada alone by 1832, has not yet been satisfactorily explained. Various economic, religious, political, and class-based interpretations that explain the rise of temperance in long-established communities and societies have not addressed the question of why such a potentially unpopular cause should mushroom into a popular movement throughout a frontier society within a couple of...

  6. 4 “Oh, Lord, pour a cordial in her wounded heart”: The Drinking Woman in Victorian and Edwardian Canada
    (pp. 70-91)

    During the late nineteenth century the temperance movement was a popular channel for the feminist energies of middle-class, evangelical English Canadian women. The respectable maternal feminists who strove to sweep away vice, pauperism, disease, and alien cultures with the broom of community agitation were also engaging in a critique of a male subculture that perpetuated itself in institutions like the saloon and the brothel.² In the latter case the feminists found common ground with the prostitutes as perceived victims of male exploitation. In the former instance, however, women (other than prostitutes) who frequented drinking establishments were not so easily accommodated....

  7. 5 Inebriate Institutions in North America, 1840-1920
    (pp. 92-114)

    The adoption of capitalist values and the spread of evangelical religion heightened concern about alcohol use in the industrializing world after the first quarter of the nineteenth century. The most prominent form of this concern was temperance - that is, movements to eliminate drunkenness, initially by moral suasion but, failing that, by legislative restriction or prohibition. Alongside the temperance movements of many countries developed less successful movements to provide specialized, state-supported treatment for inebriates. Like temperance itself, the idea of treating inebriates in discrete institutions was an American invention. An American doctor, Benjamin Rush, first proposed a “sober house” for...

  8. 6 “The spectre of a drunkard’s grave”: One Family’s Battle with Alcohol in Late Nineteenth-Century Canada
    (pp. 115-143)

    On 25 September 1895 a weary and worried Presbyterian minister from Ontario, John Rennie, boarded the Chicago fast train, bound for Mexico City. As the train set forth on the first leg of its journey to St Louis, he could not help but reflect anxiously on his mission’s chances of success - a mission to save his second son, Will, a victim of alcoholism. Whether he could get to Mexico on time, whether he could locate his son and get proper medical treatment - a life depended on such details.¹ During his long years in the ministry he had witnessed...

  9. 7 Prohibition or Regulation? The Enforcement of the Canada Temperance Act in Moncton, 1881-1896
    (pp. 144-165)

    As an area of study the prohibition of alcoholic beverages has given rise to numerous works in Canadian historiography. Yet there remain certain aspects of the prohibition phenomenon of which little is known. One of these is the way in which the various prohibition laws were enforced. To date, prohibition studies have focused, for the most part, on the political and ideological aspects of national and provincial prohibition undertakings of the turn of the century,¹ emphasizing their reformist and progressive nature.² By contrast, historians have devoted little attention except in anecdotal fashion to the actual unfolding of prohibition experiments.³ The...

  10. 8 The East-Coast Rum-Running Economy
    (pp. 166-171)

    The following is a brief profile of some aspects of the economics of rum-running in Canada’s Maritime provinces. For purposes of analysis and organization I have borrowed a concept popularized by the economist Parzival Copes of Simon Fraser University. For several years now Professor Copes has been enlarging on the thesis that in periods of recession and depression the fisheries in Canada have played the role of the “employer of last resort.” As jobs disappeared in other industries and small businesses failed, people sought employment in the fisheries, which were open to many different levels of capital and experience. This...

  11. 9 “Profit was just a circumstance”: The Evolution of Government Liquor Control in British Columbia, 1920-1988
    (pp. 172-192)

    One popular assumption about government liquor sales in Canada has been that the provinces entered the liquor business and remain in it primarily to make money. In 1921 British Columbia became the first province in English Canada to abandon prohibition for government liquor stores. Although fully aware of liquor’s revenue potential, local politicians were just as concerned that government control offer an acceptable compromise between prohibitionists and their opponents, particularly over the sensitive issue of public drinking. Liquor did become financially important to the province. Yet access to alcohol also remained a divisive social and political issue that encouraged successive...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 193-248)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 249-262)
  14. Index
    (pp. 263-270)
  15. Contributors
    (pp. 271-272)