As Victoria emerged from the
1850's into the 1860's the new decade was marked by a boom in the population
of Victoria. The Fraser Valley struck gold in 1858 and the news quickly spread
down the west coast of North America. (1)
As gold miners made their way up to the Fras Victoria became the main stopping
point for all those on their way up to the Fraser Valley. The existing population
of settlers and Natives, coupled with the influx of gold seekers, created
an ideal atmosphere for various commercial enterprises.
The sale of "spirituous liquors" became a huge business in Victoria throughout the 1860's. There was a large amount of money in the Vancouver Island Colony during the early part of decade and consequently a fair bit of money to drink away. This web site examines some of the issues involving alcohol during the 1860's.
If you continue through the site you will find a brief history of the liquor business. Starting in the years leading up to the 1860's, as well as the 60's, and then the decades that came after: up until about the 1920's. Descriptions of the people drinking the booze and the places that served it are examined in the site as well. Included, is the debate amongst the government officials and other people of "authority," surrounding the issue of selling liquor to Indians and the problems that resulted from selling it to them. The white man's drinking habits are chronicled as well to provide evidence that "problem drinking" was not just an issue for the Indians, but rather, a problem that involved the entire population of the colony.
The topic of "boozing" is one
that is both interesting and informative. Examining the many issues surrounding
the liquor trade during the 1860's reveals more than just the facts about
booze. "Spirits in Victoria" is intended to take a closer look at the issues
around the liquor trade to give some insight about the people that were drinking
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