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pierre Posted - 31/07/2008 : 21:17:55
Forum regular Emrys has kindly sent in some photo's of interest. and a lot of detail into the history :o)

I need my own bar because I drink so much (and to avoid being caught drinking and driving ) the truth is that for many years in Ontario having a drink in a place licensed to sell alcohol was far from pleasant (better described as dismal) due to the regulations and many restrictions. Things today are much less stringent but even so I have yet to find anywhere that has the atmosphere to be found in a UK pub, much less a Welsh one and even now there is nowhere I would take a visitor locally other than to a restaurant licenced to sell alcohol. Because the drinking laws were so resrictive most people drank and socialized at home legally purchasing our drink of choice from goverment licenced sources. All the friends and colleagues we associated with, many being immigrants like ourselves with a fondness for the social atmosphere in British pubs created a bar of some kind in our respective homes, some simple, (portable bars could be purchased in many shops) others were more elaborate and becoming a place to keep travel souvenirs and momentos etc, etc. thus creating our own social environment.

When I first arrived in 1955 it was said that the sidewalks were rolled up at 12oíclock on Saturday and put away till Monday morning. Considering the restrictions at that time it wasnít far from the truth. The Lords Day Observance Act was in force and vigorously enforced. No sports of any kind were permitted on Sunday and theatres, including cinemas could not open on Sunday. No restaurant could sell alcohol beverages. There was just one petrol station station permitted to open downtown in Toronto on Sunday but one could not "fill up" i.e. have petrol put in your car. Instead it was a "take-away" operation. If you needed petrol you purchased it in a four-gallon container paying a premium for the petrol and a very large deposit on the container. You could not use your own container nor could you put the gas in the tank on the petrol station lot. It was impossible to legally buy any kind of alcohol on Sunday even for residents in hotels. This naturally led to "bootleggers" and there plenty of those all over the city but especially in the area where I worked. In order to buy liquor legally for consumption at home one needed a "Liquor Licence" for which you formally applied. There was no charge for the licence but you could be refused or have it suspended for a variety of reasons. The licence was renewable annually and I still have mine, obsolete now but a reminder of how things were. Inside the government operated liquor and wine stores there was nothing on display except for price lists. At one counter you were required to produce your licence, submit your signed order complete with address etc, pay and then at another counter collect your purchase. Alcohol other than beer could only be provided from a Government store , (still that way today) The beer stores were operated in much the same way and could (still the same) sell only beer. You didnít need a licence but still had to submit your order in written form providing name and address etc. Again nothing would be on display and you paid at one counter and collected your purchase at another. Then you were required,( by law) to take your unopened purchase home immediately and by the shortest route. Home was defined as where you lived permanently and could include a cottage or a boat providing it had sleeping accomodation. Depending on the circumstances particularly the time of day, a person in possession of alcohol could be required to prove that he/she was en-route to his/her residence. Failure to do so would result in a breach of the Liquor Control Act.and the violater subject to arrest. Drinking in the open air, even in one's own yard was prohibited and being caught with an open case of beer or a partially filled bottle of alcohol in a vehicle could mean, in addition to arrest, confiscation of the vehicle. There were a few licenced lounges in downtown Toronto where one could have a mixed or other alcohol drink in addition to beer but they also had to be additionally licenced to serve food. They could stay open until 2-00am,(12-00 midnight on Saturdays) but after midnight alcohol could only be served in conjunction with a meal. A meal could, and often did, consist of a sandwich. The purchaser was not required to eat his/her meal but it had to be paid for, served and the receipt retained for inspection if required.(it often was). Entertainment was permitted but almost always subject to a substantial cover charge. There were no outdoor patios for aloholic refreshments and consumption of any alcoholic beverages other than inside government licenced premises or a persons home was prohibited. Breach of the regulations, including being found drunk in a public place would result in arrest. Unfortunates apprehended after mid day on Saturdays would spend time in the local jail until being arraigned in court on the following Monday morning.

Elsewhere in the city there were ample outlets licenced as "taverns" (although some bore the names of hotels) where beer could be purchased for consumption on the premises. Usually these were known as "beer parlours " or "beverage rooms" and strictly regulated. Only draft beer was available and served at a table in 6 ounce glasses. Bottled beer was prohibited. Each table had four chairs which could not be moved (there were no bars or bar stools) and if a group of more than four people arrived together one or more had to sit at a seperate table. A customer could only have one glass of beer on the table at a time and if he/she moved to another table could not move the glass; instead the waiter had to move it. Usually the patron either consumed the beer before moving or else abandoned it. One didnít need to summon a waiter at any time as they were constantly roving around the "parlour" carrying trays of up to twenty glasses of beer on one hand. They would then use the other hand to deliver the glass and collect the payment and empty glasses. It was quite a juggling act to remove full glasses from the tray and replace them with the empty ones, at the same time balancing the tray on one hand. One couldnít drink while standing and if the tables were filled, (four persons to a table) you could not be served as the licencee could not cater to more patrons than his licence permitted. Music or entertainment of any kind including television, games of darts or cards etc.. was prohibited, not by the licencee but by the Liquor Licencing Act,(separate from the Liquor Control Act).

No music was allowed and no food was served. Loitering or waiting inside for a table or chair to be become available was also prohibited. In premises licenced to serve only beer, known as. beer parlours or beverage rooms the s**es were segregated to the degree that one "parlour" was restricted to men only and the other, with a seperate entrance, for "Ladies and Escorts".A woman could enter the latter alone, with a male companion, or with up to three male companions providing the four sat at the same table. If either of the men clearly fraternized with women other than the one(s) they escorted in then the entire party could be, and very often were, ejected. A woman could not under any circumstances, enter the male section.The same restrictions applied equally to both sections so that party celebrations,other than in licenced lounges,could only be held in public buildings under benefit of a Banquet licence which had to be applied for in advance and was issued subject to rigid conditions being adhered to. In my infrequent visits to drinking establishments in the 1950/60's it seemed there was continual pressure to drink rather more than one intended to. If you didn't tip the waiter,(all male)for the first drink he would ignore you or be very slow with the next delivery. If you did tip he would return quickly. If you drank slowly or refused another drink when your glass was empty you would be asked to leave or be ejected. Drunk driving was far more prevalent in those days partially because licencee's were not held accountable or in any way found responsible for a patrons actions when he/she had left the licencee's premises.Thus there was no incentive for the licencee to limit his customers drinking. Also in those days and well into the 1960,s auto insurance was not compulsory. Instead one could elect to pay $30. into what was called,"The Unsatisfied Judgement Fund." This didnít however relieve an owner from responsibility in an accident. If it was the uninsured's fault the payment for all costs would be made from the "Fund" operated by the Government but the unisured would then re-pay the the fund over time and in specified amounts.
Failure or delaying to pay would result in driver licence suspension. Through the 1950's and early 60's gambling throughout Ontario was prohibited, the sole exception was for horse racing. Betting was only permitted at the actual race course, on the day of the race and at the Government "Totalizer". This meant that regardless of the odds prevailing when a bet was laid, a winner would only receive a portion of the amount left after the government took its share. Bettors could still win but if a large number bet on the winning horse the odds would automatically be reduced so that an original bet showing fifty to one prior to the race could pay off at much less odds. There was of course illegal gambling and most people knew where a bet could be placed if they felt inclined. The downside of dealing with illegal bookmakers was if the bookmaker absconded or failed to pay off on a winning bet then one couldnít report it or seek any legal recourse. No lotteries or any games of chance including bingo was allowed anywhere in the province.

There were no shopping malls in the early 1950's (at least in Ontario) and the hours during which retail stores could remain open daily were limited by law. Retail stores, except for small convenience stores and restaurants could not open on Sundays or any statutory holidays. Chemists stores could open on Sundays or statutory holidays provided they had no more than four employees and could sell only prescription drugs or medical supplies available over the counter. These regulations were strictly enforced and I remember one occasion when a police officer in plain clothes entered a chemist on a Sunday and after purchasing a hair brush promptly charged the owner for a breach of the store closing regulations. The following Sunday a female police officer (also in plain clothes) made a similar purchase at the same store and laid a further charge for by-law violation. In each case convictions and fines followed.

(Photo above yours truly with Harold Baker, former steward of the Fernbank ( his brother Stan preceded him as steward there for many years) practicing again on the very pump he had used so many times in Tredegar. Harold was over here to v isit his son who lives about twenty miles away from me. Two photographs of my bar are also included and over the years close to forty people from Tredegar, (twelve at one particular party) plus many more visitors from the UK and elsewhere have sat around the bar and enjoyed really good times, often reminiscing about times past in Tredegar and elsewhere plus relating happy memories of those no longer with us.)

Clearly then for me at that time, one who had for several years substantially contributed to the fortunes of the Fernbank, the George, undertook summertime treks via "Shank's Pony" to and from the Mountain Ash, (then known as the Halfway House) plus many stops at pubs in Tredegar and elsewhere too numerous to recall, having a quiet drink and a game of cards, with a "bob each way" on the horses was not on my agenda for a long time. I have to relate also that at times Tredegar looked very attractive and had it been possible to be instantly transported to the front door of the "Fern", or better still to its bar: well it's probably best that that was not possible.

3   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
tyr Posted - 02/08/2008 : 23:11:19
my gran and grandfather kept the halfway from 1947 untill it closed in 1971/2
emrys Posted - 01/08/2008 : 16:25:02
Thanks Pierre for posting my last contribution mostly about Tredegar memorabalia. Unfortunately "internet Gremlins" crept in and a few words were deleted.

Missing was the opening preamble i.e.

When I first saw the March 23rd posting dealing with the Ashville Ceramics I intended to forward a photograph of my own Ashville items. Then I thought I'd add a few more pieces of Tredegar memorabalia. Well the fact is I have so many bits'n pieces of Tredegar it was a job to know where to stop and also how much to calculate would be of interest to members of the forum. Assuming that most Tredgarites have at one time or another enjoyed stopping in for a pint at their pub of choice I have rambled on beyond the mere collection of artifacts and described the severe and archaic laws that once regulated the consumption of beer/alchol here in Ontario in the 1950's and early 60's.

Three critical words, "Lest anyone think" were left out farther down in the text leaving the impression that "I need a bar because I drink so much." Not true nowadays although in times past having my own bar when living in Tredegar might have saved me staggering home. (on rare occasions naturally)
Best regards to all Tredegarites

tarkus Posted - 01/08/2008 : 14:44:13
brilliant, keep em coming butt

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