Nothing But the Cooler Left in Carleton Place


“I remember the liquour store being across from the Carleton Place Post Office- You had to go fill out a form to get your liquour”.-Anonymous

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Residents applied for and received individually-numbered (5 digits) liquor permits. A temporary permit was a single sheet form with 6 digit number with effective and expiry dates. This was issued until the yearly permit form was received. It was also provided to non-resident visitors.

Between 1927 and 1957 permits came in the form of passport sized books that consisted of two separate sections, the first which included the permit holder’s personal information (place of residence, marital status, occupation/employer, notes change of address) and a second section which kept a record of the individual’s purchase history (date, quantity, value, store number and initials). In 1957 Permit books were replaced with permit cards. These cards held the permit holder’s name and their permit number and also were needed in order to purchase liquor at the LCBO. When an individual wanted to make a purchase at an LCBO store he or she had to fill in a purchase order form that included their name, address and permit number as well as the kind and volume of liquor that they wished to purchase. The purchase order form would be handed to an LCBO employee along with the individual’s liquor permit and he would “examine [the] permit and see to what extent the purchaser has been buying liquor.-Wikipedia


“I turned legal that day and went into the Carleton Place liquor store. I had been lying about my age for a long time. That day they decided they were going to finally get me for lying. Waving his hands the manager signaled for the store clerk to nab me while he called the cops. He had had enough”.

“Card please”? they asked.

The now legal age woman screamed with joy,”It’s my birthday and I am legal to drink today–finally.” Then she realized she had outed herself! –Anonymous

If purchaser has exceeded a reasonable quantity per week, note permit number and address and refer to vendor. Under the Liquor Control Act the LCBO was to promote temperance through facilitating education and moderation. This meant a store employee could deny a sale to a customer if his intended purchases may be considered too large for one person to reasonably consume.

The first self-serve store where customers did not have to rely on a clerk to retrieve alcohol was introduced in 1969. In the 1970s the stores changed to become more inviting with decorative displays of alcohol, and in the 2000s many of the stores were renovated and enlarged to provide larger product selection. Most current stores have Vintages sections with rotating selections of vintage wines and premium spirits.-Wikipedia


“I remember the jugs at the Queen’s hotel. They would bring a huge jug and glasses for all of us. A good time was had by all.”-Anonymous


In 1934 the mandate of the LCBO was expanded to include the oversight of by-the-glass sale of alcohol in standard hotels and other drinking establishments. As part of the LCBO’s regulations licensed establishments were required to adhere to a wide variety of regulations including a limitation on singing, the number of patrons allowed to sit together and most importantly the segregation of female from unmarried male drinkers (women were only allowed to drink in the presence of a “bona fide escort” in a segregated “Ladies and Escorts” room).[The task of overseeing the sale of alcohol in drinking establishments was later passed in 1944 to a short lived government licensing agency and later to the Liquor Licensing Board of Ontario in 1947.

The presence of women within drinking establishments New rules to require new roomsalong with unmarried men, prompted a moral outcry against the possible sexual impropriety inspired by “mixed” drinking within male beverage rooms in the mid 1930s (The Globe September 18th 1934, “Trustee Observes Girls Being Brought Out of Beer Rooms”; The Globe, March 6th 1935, “50 Girls seen Drinking By Minister”). In response, the LCBO drafted new regulations in 1937 that required licenced establishments to have “two separate and distinct beverage rooms – one for men only, and the other solely for women, except where attended by bona fide escorts” (The Globe March 29, 1937, “Liquor Board to Curb Mixed Drinking in Ontario Hotels, New Rules to Require Two Rooms”).

This regulation also fell upon female servers who contested their restriction from serving liquor within the “men only” beverage room. In repeated communications the Board stressed its strong opposition against women servers, denying women the right to work within these establishments even if they owned them or were wives of the owners (Heron 2005: 20). In 1944 the Board partially yielded on the matter, explaining to authority holders that they could “make use of females as waitresses in the Ladies’ and Escorts’ beverage room ONLY”. For these women to work LCBO policy required that “authority holders desiring this privilege [to have female servers working within the Ladies and Escorts room] must make application to the Board as well as submit a medical certificate covering the proposed employee and indicating that she is free from disease” (Ibid). Specifically, having these women around male beverage rooms “raised fears about prostitution, immorality and venereal disease” within anti-beverage room discourses (Marquis 2008: 316; The Globe September 19, 1934, “Women Ministers Left to Discretion of Presbyteries”; Annual Meeting of the Ontario Provincial Council of Women, December 1, 1944, RG 36-5-0-38.1). Male servers, in contrast, were not held to this medical standard. The transfer of principle was not based on exclusion, but instead on inclusionary segmentation of the space where alcohol circulated and continued in Ontario until the responsibility of controlling these establishments was shifted away from the LCBO and the opening of mixed “Cocktail Lounges” which targeted a more temperate middle class clientele in 1947 (Marquis 2004: 317).

Women could also drink within their homes, yet in the Board’s early years, even there some female drinkers were the subject of gossip and public criticism. The Globe reported on women purchasers on the LCBO’s opening day in 1927 as if they were spectacles for public consumption. Articles were critical of women who “wheeled baby carriages” when making their purchases, or were assertive of their right to drink – openly questioning their ability to both drink and be effective mothers (The Globe June 2, 1927 “They Line Up Quickly to Get Their Liquor Once Stores Are Open”)– Punch Drunk

We still had a Ladies and Escorts room at The Queens in 1964?

Carleton Place Canadian ad for the Queens from; The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

2 responses »

  1. I remember the separate room in the local beer parlour in Toronto back in the ’50s and ’60s. I remember going with my Dad to have a beer when I became legal. That was 21 in those days I think, so would have been 1968. There was still a separate room for Ladies & Escorts. The law about no liquor in restaurants on Sundays was in place till 1967. Part of why it was called Toronto the Good, I think. Of course, that was also almost 50 years ago (gasp!)


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