Beer Drinking in B.C.

In light of the current review of B.C.’s liquor laws and Saturday’s sold out Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer Festival being held at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, I am sharing a few beer-related bits that you may find amusing, entertaining or surprising. These brew based facts were gleaned from the book, “Sit Down and Drink Your Beer” by historian Robert A. Campbell.

1. Prohibition in Canada occurred between 1917 and 1921, although this did not curb the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol could be obtained through a pharmacy by paying a doctor $2.00 for a prescription. Pharmacists could not keep up with the demand.
2. Government run liquor stores opened in Vancouver in 1921.
3. 1924 was the year B.C. allowed public drinking by means of “beer parlours”, licensed establishments located in hotels. These beer parlours came with strict rules that included no stand-up bar and beer was to be the only beverage served. No food or soft drinks were permitted and games or entertainment were also banned.
4. Women were officially banned from beer parlours in 1926 through a unanimous vote by the B.C. Hotels Association. This was short-lived, however as the government realized in 1927 that the ban was not legally enforceable.
5. To stop a perceived “public health” risk from sexually transmitted diseases during the Second World War, beer parlours were required by law to separate men and women. A physical barrier separated the genders and separate entrances graced the exteriors of these drinking establishments. This archaic law was in place until 1963, although some beer parlours kept the divider up until the 1970’s. Here at the Royal Hotel you can find the original “Mens Entrance” sign displayed in the old beer parlour, recently renovated as wedding and event space.
6. Females were also banned from working in these drinking establishments unless the business was owned or co-owned by woman.
7. Sunday drinking in pubs and bars became legal in B.C. during 1986 as Vancouver welcomed the world to Expo 86.

Although the Fraser Valley Culture & Craft Beer Festival is sold out, the Royal Hotel has a limited number of rooms still available at the special low rate of $69.00 per night to enjoy the festivities responsibly. Be sure to mention the word “BEER” when making your reservation. Call the hotel to book 1-888-434-3388 or visit .



Heritage Tourism In B.C.

What exactly is heritage tourism? The National Trust for Historic Preservation in the US defines heritage tourism as “travelling to experience the places and activates that authentically represent the stories and people of the past.”

According to the World Tourism Organization, heritage tourism is growing “significantly faster than tourism in general.”

Statistics and definitions aside, those who consider themselves “heritage enthusiasts” may have their own reasons for searching out historically significant locations when travel planning. Perhaps holidayers are seeking vacations that offer culture, history, adventure and opportunities to connect with locals. Trips to heritage destinations – whether it a museum, heritage site or re-enactment, historical house or building help us understand our history and offers a physical link to our past. More often these restored historic sites or buildings contribute to the overall cultural and economic well-being of a community while their preserved character adds a sense of place. Revitalized heritage buildings together with newer developments provide layers of historic texture to a city.

I have compiled a list of Heritage Hotels in B.C. that are worth considering as you plan your next vacation or simply a weekend get-a-way. All the hotels are at least 70 years old and all have been lovingly restored while offering modern conveniences. These are just a few of what I consider “hotels with character”.

1. First stop is downtown Vancouver at The Moda Hotel. This 67 room hotel was formally known as “The Dufferin” or as locals dubbed it “The Duff”. Opened in 1908 and named for a former Governor General of Canada, Lord Dufferin, the Moda now offers hip accommodations in a beautiful heritage building. I love their website – with lots of historical information and photos.

2. Next stop is the 29 room The Royal Hotel, located in downtown Chilliwack, circa 1908. Operating continuously since opening 105 years ago, the Royal was treated to a sensitive restoration in the late 1990’s adding air conditioning, refurbished heritage guest rooms, (some featuring claw-foot tubs and vintage furnishings) and original douglas fir woodwork, while maintaining all the heritage charm.

3. The Inn at Spences Bridge (in Spences Bridge) is the oldest on the list, a left-over from the gold rush days of 1860’s British Columbia. The small, quaint hotel offers 12 rooms and spectacular views of the Thompson River and surrounding mountains. The inn is a must stop for train enthusiasts, as both CN and CP trains pass through Spences Bridge.

4. Situated in downtown Kamloops, The Plaza Hotel offers 67 boutique-style guest rooms in the lavishly restored 1928 hotel, as well as a restaurant and wedding & meeting space.

5. The Wells Hotel, located near the historic gold rush Town of Barkerville, originally opened in 1933 and provides 13 renovated guest rooms complete with an outdoor roof-top hot tub.

6. In the Kootenay town of Nelson, where arts and culture plays a prominent role you will find The Hume Hotel. Originally sporting a cupola and bay windows, these architectural features were removed during an earlier renovation to the hotel. The Hume was treated to a million dollar renovation in 1980 with all 44 guest rooms and suites updated.

Why not consider staying in a place with history – include heritage accommodations in your travel plans. If the walls of these history filled hallways could talk – the stories they would tell!

“A concerted effort to preserve our heritage is a vital link to our cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, and economic legacies – all of the things that quite literally make us who we are.”

(Quote from Steve Berry – American Author and founder of the organization “History Matters”)

The Royal Hotel and the “Shops around the Corner”

Mill Street, Chilliwack

Around the corner from the historic Royal Hotel, quaint Mill Street offers plenty of shopping and eating options. Here are the “shops around the corner” from the Royal Hotel, on Mill Street.

Served in bone china cups and saucers, afternoon tea at Apeldoorn’s is a relaxing, elegant way to sip and savour after shopping. Apeldoorn’s also serves light lunch as well as traditional high tea complete with Devon cream and fancy little sandwiches. I love the vintage tables and chairs and the cozy ambiance of this popular lunch spot.

At the Mill Street Barber Shop Jane has over twenty years’ experience cutting men and boys hair in this retro-inspired barber shop (complete with an old-fashioned barber pole). Stop by for a shave and haircut!

Jeannie at The Button Box carries an assortment of eclectic items including handmade soaps, vintage décor, jewellery, thoughtful gifts, cotton sleepwear and a large collection of women’s hats. Well worth dropping by to check out her ever-changing selection and her new, larger space!

Looking for a creative way to display that special hockey jersey or lace doily your grandmother made? With a background in museum studies, Krista at Cornerstone Custom Framing offers unique solutions for framing and preserving that special something. Cornerstone has a large selection of framing and matting options and can also frame your prints, posters or original artwork. See Krista for a complimentary consultation and quote. You may be surprised – custom framing at approachable prices.

Birdie’s Bakery and Catering prepares fresh baked goods daily. They also provide catering options for your holiday parties and family get-togethers. Call or stop by for a catering menu and baked treat to go!

X-Treme Hobbies stock playthings that cater to the child in all of us – remote control airplanes, helicopters, trucks and cars. They also provide repair service for your remote control vehicles. Their motto sums it up, “Never stop having fun.”

Harvest Café, located at the corner of Mill Street and Victoria serves breakfast all day as well as home-made, straight from the oven cinnamon buns to die for. Try one of their fresh salads for lunch. Eat in or take-out.

On the opposite side of Mill Street you will find Sparkling Ideas Beads & Jewelry. A one stop for all things beads and bead making. They also offer jewelry making classes.

Jenny’s Pet Food and Supplies has everything you need for your four-legged friends. From food to leashes and toys, Jenny’s has it all.

P536 Wellington and Mill

Corner of Mill and Wellington Avenue (note the dirt street and the horses)
Source: Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Exploring Chilliwack’s Heritage

The Thomas Caskey House sits prominently at the corner of Wellington and Corbould Avenues in downtown Chilliwack. Listed on the B.C. Register of Historic Places, the home was built in 1906 in the Craftsman style. The origin of this style of home can be traced to California and they typically feature details such as cedar siding exteriors, river rock chimneys, generous roof overhangs, exposed rafters and low-pitched gabled roofs. With the exception of a covered carport, the exterior appears to remain unaltered and in beautiful condition with architectural details reflecting the Craftsman period of design.

Who was Thomas Caskey? Tomas E. Caskey was born in Ontario in either 1870 or 1874 (there is conflicting information), arriving in B.C. in 1906. He served as Alderman on the first Chilliwack City Council in 1908. In addition Thomas Caskey was the editor of the Chilliwack Progress Newspaper before leaving Chilliwack to serve in the First World War. Major Thomas Edward Caskey’s name is also inscribed on the WW 1 Role of Honour at the Chilliwack War Memorial, located at the Chilliwack Museum. He died in England in 1917 from complications of appendicitis.

The Caskey House is a quick walk from the historic Royal Hotel and just one example of the many well- preserved heritage homes and buildings in Chilliwack

P5148 City Council MembersThomas Caskey’s photo
(on the left, second from bottom)

If you want more information on the B.C. Register of Historic Places see the link below:!publish/web/BCRHP_and_CHRP.pdf

To read more about the Chilliwack War Memorial see the link below: