PEI Museum & Heritage Foundation – H. Benoit Lunch Counter

The temperance movement was a social and political campaign at the forefront of many Canadian minds during the 19th and early 20th century. Those in favour of temperance were advocates for the moderation of, or total abstention from, alcohol. During the late 1800’s, unlicensed rum sellers on Prince Edward Island often operated out of oyster bars.

This cardboard container, dating back to the early 1900’s, is from H. Benoit’s establishment on Water Street. It reveals the owner’s desire to be known as a respectable oyster bar in the heart of Charlottetown. Printed on one side of the box is “Bulk Oysters,” while the other side states “H. Benoit Temperance Drinks and Lunch Counter” to let the public know they served no alcohol in their beverages. In 1900, Prince Edward Island became the first province to enact prohibition laws in the country— a massive victory for critics of liquor consumption.

About Molly Pendergast

As a self-proclaimed "broke bon vivant," Molly spends a lot of time thinking about food, talking about food, and trying new food. She is a recent graduate of Carleton University's Journalism School and loves nothing more than telling/listening to a good story. If you ever need to chat with her, the topic of baked goods is usually a great place to start.

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