History of Liquor Regulation


Prohibition comes to Manitoba. Months after Manitoba women gain the right to vote, a third provincial referendum is held. Every constituency but one votes in favour of Prohibition. The Manitoba Temperance Act comes into effect, and for the next seven years:

  • Liquor can be purchased only through government dispensaries and only for uses that are industrial, scientific, mechanical, artistic, sacramental or medicinal.
  • All legal drinking establishments are closed.
  • Alcohol can be consumed only in a private dwelling.
  • Distillers and brewers can be licensed to manufacture alcohol, but sales are permitted only outside of the province.

Manitobans soon find ways to skirt the law. Illegal “speakeasies” and bootleggers flourish. Doctor’s prescriptions for “medicinal purposes” are widely abused – as evidenced by the long lineups at pharmacies during the December holiday season.