The first liquor store in McBride was built in 1922 on Main Street for the provincial government. It operated in this location until 1964 when it moved to first avenue, then to its current location in Robson Centre. No matter what location in McBride, the Government Liquor Store has been a popular target for thieves with three known robberies occurring in the first two locations. Both of these first two buildings have since been renovated and are now used by other businesses.
In the early days people needed a five dollar permit just to buy booze in a liquor store and for many in the interior and North, where there were no easily accessible liquor stores, they would have to order their libations through the mail. The BC Liquor Control Board has been slow to enact change, with many of their rules seen as holdovers from the days of prohibition. Certain ethnic groups were once barred from buying bottles and even women were discouraged from going in to liquor stores. It wasn’t until 1999 that patrons were able to purchase alcohol with a credit card.
Photo: McBride’s first Government Liquor Store on Main Street, date unknown. Left to Right, “Vendor. Ferry, Phil Austin (Liquor Control Board Auditor), Mr. McIvor (CNR Conductor)”. Photo courtesy Liquor Distribution Branch.