Men line up in front of the Government Liquor Store in Cloverdale, ca. 1926. According to the Surrey Historical Society, Americans would drive up the new highway to Cloverdale’s government liquor store during prohibition to get their alcohol. Canadian prohibition ended in 1920, and took place from 1920 to 1933 in the United States. (City of Surrey Archives/180.1.53)

Return to the Roaring Twenties at upcoming Surrey Archives talk

“Despite it being a time of prohibition, there is nothing ‘dry’ about this time in history”: archivist

Social houses, pubs and bars can be found throughout Surrey, but that hasn’t always been the case.

In 1918, liquor sales were prohibited throughout Canada. For the next two years, Surrey residents turned to secretive watering holes, known as speakeasies, when they wanted a drink.

Surrey Archives invites community members to return to the time of speakeasies, the Roaring Twenties, at their next talk at the Cloverdale Library on April 14, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The “After the War” talk is sponsored by Friends of the Surrey Museum and Archives Society and is free to attend.

Archivists will explore Surrey during the 1920s, rekindle memories through archival photographs, maps, newspapers and reminiscences of the decade, and discuss the reprecussions of the First World War on Surrey residents.

“Despite it being a time of prohibition, there is nothing ‘dry’ about this time in history – especially here in Surrey,” said Archivist Chelsea Bailey. “Many changes occurred in this decade that are now a part of everyday life.”

The “After the War” talk is one of the events the Surrey Archives will be hosting this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary since the end of the First World War. The next talk, on June 16, will take a look at Punjabis who served in the British India Army, and will be followed by a display of items from the city’s collection.

“After the War” will be held at the Cloverdale Library, located at 5642 176A Street. The program is free for all to attend, but it is recommended that participants be 13 years of age or above. It’s recommended that participants pre-register. For more information, call the Surrey Archives at 604-502-6459 or visit

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