If you go back far enough, you’ll find nearly every industry we know and understand today had a completely different existence in the 1800’s.

On this day 152 years ago, Victoria’s Vancouver Daily Evening Post (which lasted less than a year), you can find ads for banks that go into great detail talking about how much money they hold (such was the tendency for them to go under), and how they’ll weigh your gold ore and melt it into bars within 24 hours, and what cities they’d do a wire transfer for (answer: not many).

Then you’d see loads of ads for ships at dock, with long Woodwards-like lists of the goods they have to sell (quickly, before they jet from town).

Like this guy, who has apparently bought ‘all the oysters’.

Also big: Ads for hotels that almost all, to a tee, respectfully ask that ‘friends’ pop around for a drink, which I’m imagining was some sort of way around restrictive liquor laws because ALL of them do it.

If you’re wondering what Ramscat Kovana is, it’s what known as a Tom and Jerry, or a drink of the day that celebrated Christmas, consisting of eggnog, brandy and rum. It was served heated in a bowl or mug.

The whole ‘we’re inviting our friends’ ruse reminds us of a popular law workaround in the early 20th century, when Vancouver’s liquor laws prohibited serving spirits unless there was ‘entertainment’ in the pub. Certain innkeepers figured out that entertainment was a pretty broad term, so one put a pig pen in the middle of the bar, and put a sign out front advertising a look at the pig. This allowed them to sell all the booze they wanted, and before long Vancouver was covered in pigs in pubs.

Patrons would often empty their glasses into the pen, and the pigs would consume the leftover booze, which would eventually send them blind.

Hence, Vancouver’s bars were known to all and sundry as ‘blind pigs,’ a term that lasted for decades.

You’ll also find newspapers filling their pages with ‘news’ that a store has something to sell. Zinn’s Toys in Victoria was apparently quite the how-do-you-do.

This, of course, was followed a page later by a nice big display ad. We’re guessing the publisher was angling for more such ads to follow.

We enjoyed this ‘to let’ ad, mostly because of the landlord’s honesty; ‘If I’m not home, I’m at the pub.’

On the news side, there was death by the roadside buuuuut… it was only an ‘Indian’, so why bother investigate?

Moving right along, and given the same amount of column inches, was this story about a ‘rogue and vagabond’, given a ‘stern reprimand’ for his rogueing and vagabonding.

For shame!

Basically, this dude was arrested and yelled at for being homeless. I mean, that’s one way of dealing with it I guess.

This news piece is a beauty. We would headline it, “Guy got tattoos while working on a ship, now rents himself out as a museum exhibit.”

AKA: I gots me some tats.


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