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Well I have been reading the website of the Club and prior to 1997 there was another Club in existence, a military one. One of the President of that defunct Club wrote the story of the Club when the military was in charge. It made for interesting reading and it covers the years 1932 to 1997. It shows how mentalities have changed and how we see the role of gender back then and today.

It also shows that there is a bit or a lot of whitewashing of what was going on at the Club. PEI had prohibition like all other Provinces in Canada. However in PEI prohibition last far longer than anywhere else for reasons typical of a small island and its deep protestant roots. Our liquor laws are still archaic but that is changing slowly.

The author explains that the Club being a Military outfit had a special permission from the PEI Government to buy alcohol at Government dispensary. Members could also buy liquor if their doctor signed a paper saying they needed a drink. Being the military they have their own doctors, so everyone had a medical dispensation saying, Johnny needs his bottle of gin or scotch or whatever. Then members were also smuggling liquor bought in various illegal distilleries on the Island, gin at 50% proof, Moonshine, liquors of all sorts. The police knew about this and looked the other way. The reason for this lack of enforcement was that these were soldiers, family members, related in some fashion to various segments of society. Population was only 100K so it is understandable that the local Police preferred to not get involved as long as no one got hurt. However the Federal Police, the RCMP is composed of officers from all over Canada with no link to PEI. They did raid the Club once and the solution of the Club Executive was to build secret hideaway and lockers in the basement, so if there was a raid the liquor could not be found.

Liquor in PEI plays a very big role like drugs in the life of the Island. We have a population of approx 155000 today, old ways die hard.

The Club was also male only, in 1953 women were allowed to come on special days and with a male escort who would have to be a member and the events were billed as Tea parties and the ladies were entertained by members. There was also illegal gambling going on and again the police looked the other way. Many of the doctors who were members of the Club worked at the hospital, then located across the street from the Club. They would come in the afternoon for a few drinks and then go back to work. The nurses residence was also then located across the street from the Club and the male members would bring them in for a drink and some “entertainment”, wink, wink!

The old Military Club disappeared in 1997, changes in society and attitudes, changes also in the military in Canada made it more difficult to recruit new members. They went bankrupt. The hospital is gone it moved to a brand new location at the other side of town, the nurses residence is also gone. The neighbourhood was gentrified and now it is a quiet section of town. The Club building today is a civilian social club and the members are a mix of 50-50 women and men. Though I have heard stories about how bad the reputation of the old military club was, all confirmed by this history written by this long dead old gentleman who was once a president of the Officers club.