Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1919
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1919

The "stolen church" incident occurred in 1919. A small church, named St. George's, had been constructed in Central Fort George with monies donated partly from the Church of England and partly with a $1,500 loan. By 1919, Clement Deykin had been appointed church warden and, in that capacity, was required to travel once a month to Vancouver. Early in the year, while he was away on one of these trips, some spirited parishioners decided to move the church. Without discussion or approval, and in violation of the Eighth Commandment, they jacked the little building up on skids and dragged it to the Millar Addition. They renamed it "St. Michael and All Angels' Church." The church movers then stole the bell from the fire hall in South Fort George and installed it at the newly-located church. They rang it for two consecutive Sundays until they demanded made to return it. The firemen made the case that the bell was "property of the people" and belonged to the city. Opinion was divided over whether the culprits should be prosecuted. It was eventually decided that it was more important to get on with the work of the church. No legal action ever ensued and the incident lived on for years as part of the town's legend.

A special census was conducted in March for the Post Office, showing that Prince George had 1,647 residents. This number was for the city proper, and did not include residents of Fort George or South Fort George. This figure was further qualified as being "exclusive of the large transient population."

Dominion Day was celebrated with renewed patriotism, following the end of the First World War. In Prince George, sponsors planned so many events that they had to be scheduled over two days. The major draws were horse racing and athletic sports including boxing, wrestling and trap-shooting. An automobile parade cruised through the downtown past elaborately-decorated store fronts. Citizens competed in a variety of events for $2,000 in prizes. A favourite activity for families was attending picnics held all over town. The formal event marking the holiday was the grand ball on July 1st.

By September, the Royal North West Mounted Police established a detachment in Prince George. Officers were provided with pack and saddle horses for long patrols. Those assigned to Prince George were expected to patrol a large territory to the east, north and south of the city. The dominant concern was national security and the need to monitor activities "of a Bolshevik nature" suspected to happen in the mining camps around the province. Corporal Laurent was in charge. No office space had been secured for the arrival of Laurent and his two constables, so they were housed at the Alexandra Hotel. The B.C. Provincial Police continued with their responsibility for policing the city of Prince George and the new RNWMP detachment was to concentrate on the outlying areas.

During Prohibition (which came into effect October 1, 1917) police were expected to enforce a total ban on the sale of liquor. The only exceptions were to be liquor used for medicinal, sacramental and industrial uses. Enforcement became a special challenge to police when people urged their doctors to write prescriptions for alcohol, and bars found ways to get around the law by selling low-alcohol drinks. In October, there was to be a crackdown on liquor consumption. To accomplish that enforcement, 35 police officers were stationed in Prince George. They were "fully equipped with horses and all accouterments." Within a year, the electorate had a change of heart and in a province-wide plebiscite held October 20, 1920, voters gave up on Prohibition. Instead, the provincial government took over control and profits from the sale of alcohol. The official end to Prohibition came on June 15, 1921.



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