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Chapter 3 Images

In addition to providing food and drink, local taverns were the locus of social life and mainstay of growing communities in all regions of colonial Canada. Here, men seeking their fortunes in gold pose for a photo at the Pioneer Saloon, Dawson City, Yukon Territory, 1898–1910. Library and Archives Canada/National Museum of Canada collection/PA-013511 (p. 28)

Clearing the land to build shelter was a physically difficult task—but lives depended on it, particularly as the first winter approached. Unless early habitants could borrow a horse, medium-sized logs had to be toted by hand. Settlers’ log home built along the Tartigou River in Quebec. Library and Archives Canada/Credit: Alexander Henderson/PA-149763 (p. 29)

Unlike some of the early taverns built in the first decades of the nineteenth century, expensively-adorned drinking establishments and hotels for the wealthy became more common in the last decades of the 1800s. Hub Saloon, Dawson, 1897–1910. Library and Archives Canada, C-018650 (p. 31)

Seasonal hunting provided stocks of meat for settlers. For gentlemen and travelers, big game hunting became sport, and heads, antlers, skins, and skulls served as trophies which honoured the manly chase and romanticized narratives of the wilderness tamed. Caribou hunt camp, 1884. James Peters/Library and Archives Canada/C-018908 (p. 34)

Building large barns to accommodate both livestock and feed in the nineteenth century were not small undertakings. Larger than the harvest and logging bees, these events pooled labour in significant numbers. At the end of the day, these large work gatherings turned into evening social gatherings, featuring food, alcohol, music, dancing, and the occasional fist fight. Some of these nineteenth-century barns still exist in Ontario and Quebec, now covered by sheets of galvanized steel. A barn-raising bee organized near Brampton, Ontario. Library and Archives Canada/Credit: John Fletcher Cole/Russel G. Borrett collection/PA-164911 (p. 40)

Newspapers report that bear-baiting, cockfighting, and dogfighting occasionally occurred at taverns or independently as forms of entertainment. Photographs of these events from the nineteenth century are extremely rare. Dogfight at Carmack’s Roadhouse, c. 1900. Library and Archives Canada, PA-164325 (p. 43)

Judging by the legislation banning most gambling activities in the provinces, and the newspaper commentaries fearing that gambling games ran counter to proper conduct in late nineteenth-century Canada, it is evident that many people enjoyed betting at cards, horse racing, sporting events, and billiards. These men pass the time playing cards and enjoying a drink on a steamer voyage on British Columbia waters. Library and Archives Canada/Credit: Charles Gentile/Arthur Nonus Birch fonds/C-088876 (p.44)