We offer a custom version of our Prohibition City walking tour – specially adapted for school groups – that provides an interactive forum for students to learn about B.C. and Canadian social history through Vancouver’s past.
The tour recounts the results of the temperance movement’s push to make B.C. liquor-free in the early 20th century. Their successful campaign in 1917 made Vancouver a dry city. But only in theory. In reality, the city was overwhelmed by illicit activity, including bootlegging, gambling and vice. The tour charts the influence of women’s rights, religious fervour, war, corruption and crime on the city’s morals during a time of huge economic growth.
Lasting between 90 minutes and 2 hours, the walking tour makes a unique field trip for any secondary-level student group: discusses the effects of WWI on Canadian society; puts a human face on the pre and inter-war periods in Vancouver; explores Canadian prohibition and involvement of Canada in later U.S. Prohibition; discovers the role of women in social, political and economic change through the temperance and women’s suffrage movements; visits some of the most historically significant buildings and places in Vancouver, including the Hotel Victorian, Dominion Building, Sun Tower, Shanghai Alley, Carrall Street, Hastings Street, and Water Street; discusses the race riots of 1907, including the events leading to it and the aftermath for Chinese and Japanese people in Vancouver; draws parallels in contemporary attitudes toward drug prohibition and poverty with social issues and remedies of the early 20th century.