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Very few old-timers abused the privilege of having cheap spirits available. Granted, there were a few who relaxed comfortably in a wagon box while the horses found their way home with no guidance, but they were in the minority. And the fellows who came right out in the open singing "Sweet Adeline" as their wives wended their way to church were in the minority too. (Not much went unnoticed by the news boys in those days!)
It is an interesting fact: while the latter few may have hit the news by a rare frivolous episode they didn't pound on the pearly portals any sooner than their more righteous brethren!
It was back in the late 1870s when Mr. Patrick Carey, in his neat black broadcloth suit and Mrs. Patrick Carey, in her long, dark, business gown hung out their sign "Liquor and Wine Merchant Importers". (A picture of them glued in a book couldn't be removed.)
A few years later, when John O'Reilly bought their business, the shelves were lined wi th a good variety of imported s t 0 c k. M~. O'Reilly didn't have to advertise what was for sale in the building as a good business had been built up by the previous proprietors. His sign simply read "John O'Reilly The Farmers Friend."
When prohibition came in in 1916 bootleggers in our country and rum-runners from across the line had a hey-day. Old papers tell of detectives touring the country trying to sniff ou t the brew - and very often being successful.
|John O'Reilly||It was a time when even a girl|
who once got beery-breathed good-night kisses from her daddy was saying to a suitor, "Lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine!"
The first liquor store that opened in Portage la Prairie after pro hibition ended in 1922 was on the south side of Saskatchewan Ave. beside the Leland Hotel which is where the Gordon Motor Inn is now. The store had been the previous headquarters of the N orth West Mounted Police. Old-timers say police were in attendance to control the crowds when it first opened!
The present, modern, orderly Liquor Control Commission building is located on the north side of Saskatchewan Avenue beside the