Semaphore Pool Hall

Owned by the same family that had the Jamieson’s hotel here in McBride, Jamieson’s Drugstore was a one stop shopping stop.  In addition to prescription drugs, Lou Jamieson carried Stationary, tobacco, cigars, ice cream, soda, candies and other confectionary.  Jamieson was not a druggist, but instead sold patent medicines, and the doctor would make up prescriptions with medicines which he ordered for Lou.

The café beside Jamieson’s drugstore seemed to change hands frequently.  One of the most memorable owners was Lim Chong, who seemed to have a soft spot for kids.  He would often let kids like Don MacKinlay (the son of Police Constable MacKinlay) help out in the restaurant and even use the till.  Any fish that the kids caught, they could take to Chong and he would trade them for Lemon Pie, which makes it understandable why he was the most remembered BC Café owner.

“The Poolroom provided recreation for the men when off duty, and it was always a rendezvous for single men who were railroaders.  Along with this there was a considerable amount of gambling, though the games were more spontaneous than organized.  Bootlegging also flourished during prohibition and even later before the government liquor store was opened.  If there was prostitution it was kept from my ears, though I know every town has ladies who are free with their favours and men who are ready to pay for them.  From whispers that I overheard, I am sure that McBride was no exception.  (Reverend Frank Runnalls)


Top: Inside Jamieson’s store, 1914.  Lou Jamieson second from left.  Valley Museum and Archives, W.A. Walker Fonds.

Middle: Margaret MacKinay on the Millers’ wagon in front of BC café,  1930’s.  Valley Museum and Archives.

Bottom: West side of the Ball park ca. 1914.  L to R: Crummy Brothers  General Store,  a barber shop, Jamieson’s Drug Store, café, —-, Dominion Café, Semaphore Pool Hall.  Valley Museum and Archives, W.A. Walker Fonds.