Close Menu

Canadian town lifts Prohibition law after 121 years

The town of Cardston in Alberta, one of Canada’s few remaining dry towns, has voted to remove laws forbidding the sale of alcohol.

For more than a century the residents of Cardston in southern Canada have had to leave their town to buy alcohol if they wished to have a drink.

However, last week the town council voted in favour of allowing “limited liquor sales” by permitting restaurants and some recreational facilities such as golf courses the right to apply for liquor licenses.

Despite the easing of anti-alcohol laws, bars, liquor stores and alcohol-delivery services will still be prohibited from operating in Cardston.

The Mormon-founded town, which has mantained its Prohibition laws long after the rest of the province axed them in 1923, has thwarted two previous attempts – in 1957 and 2014 – to have the alcohol ban lifted.

“Do I have fears? I do. But I trust the people,” said Cardston mayor Maggie Kronen. “Changes can be good, changes can be bad — we shall see.”

At a public hearing, residents debated the pros and cons of allowing alcohol to be sold within their town, with some voicing concerns about drunk driving and others championing the economic boost the town would receive from alcohol sales given that tourists regularly pass through Cardston on their way to Waterton Lakes National Park.

According to the 2021 census, 62% of Cardston’s residents are Mormons, belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which forbids the consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine.

It will still be some months before the first alcoholic drink is served at a Cardston restaurant as applications for liquor licences will take a while to go through.

Two other nearby Mormon towns, Stirling and Raymond, remain dry, with Raymond residents voting against changes to its alcohol policies in 2022.


It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No