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People and organizations

Alcohol and Drug Concerns Inc.

  • Corporate body
  • 1924-

The Ontario Prohibition Union was founded as a successor organization to the Ontario Branch of the Dominion Alliance at the Alliance’s Annual Convention held in Toronto, March 18, 1924. Following several turbulent and controversial years of Alliance activity, leading temperance workers were urged by the Prohibition Federation of Canada to constitute a more representative organization to unify temperance forces in Ontario. This new group was initially called the Ontario Temperance Alliance but was changed to the Ontario Prohibition Union (OPU) at a subsequent meeting. The need for greater unity in the prohibition effort was cited in the new organization’s constitution:

The temperance workers of Ontario will expect that, in its leadership of the Prohibition forces, the Ontario Prohibition Union will, very earnestly seek the co-operation of all organizations and individuals that are all in sympathy with its one great object “The total and immediate suppression of the traffic in all intoxicating Liquors and beverages.”

Policy of the Organization was set at Conventions and carried out by an Executive Committee. The Union’s activities spanned an increased emphasis on temperance tracts, non-partisan political activity urging the abolition of the liquor traffic, the organization of county units, and assistance to ‘dry’ forces in local option contests, and the forwarding of information received at OPU offices regarding bootlegging and Liquor Control Act violations to the Provincial Attorney-General’s office.

After the passing of the Liquor Control Act in 1926 approving government control of liquor sales, prohibition sentiment experienced a gradual decline, especially in urban area. In 1934 the OPU was again reorganized, this time to reflect a stronger emphasis on education rather than legislation, and emerged the Ontario Temperance Federation.

The Ontario Temperance Foundation defined itself as “An interdenominational, non-partisan organization maintained largely by support of church congregations and individuals to co-ordinate the efforts of religious and other groups concerned with the promotion of sobriety in personal conduct and social behavior.” The Ontario Temperance Foundation emerged as the most influential temperance group in the nation.

Throughout its history the Federation found its main source of support in the United and Baptist churches, and to a lesser extent among Presbyterian, Congregationalists, and a number of smaller Protestant denominations. Little or no support was provided by the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches and in many cases was never actively strong.

Combining scientific temperance with the moral appeals of earlier prohibitionists, the Federation became active in many fields, including education, youth work, legislation, community organization, and an administrative role as coordinator of provincial temperance forces. The Federation dissolved in 1968 to become the Alcohol and Drug Concerns Inc. The aim of the new organization was to promote lifestyles non dependent on drugs and alcohol, foster public awareness on the harms of those substances, advocate reduction of their use, counteract advertising promoting the use of substances, reinforcing the spiritual dimension of the work, and creating support and funding resources for the previous initiatives. In 1987 the organization surrendered its Ontario Charter and filed a National Charter to operate on a national level.

Alcohol and Drug Concerns Inc.. Ontario Plebiscite Committee

  • Corporate body
  • 1924-1926

Prohibition sentiment in Ontario reaches a peak in the early 1920s following the majority vote against repeal of the Ontario Temperance Act in 1919 (The Hearst Referendum) and the 1921 vote against the legal importation of liquor into the Province. In the 1919 Provincial Election the strongly prohibitionist United Farmers of Ontario party came to power under the leadership of Premier Ernest C. Drury. Despite the energetic zeal and harsh penalties applies by his Attorney-General William E. Raney) a former member of the Dominion Alliance) in the enforcement of the Ontario Temperance Act, bootlegging and rum-running became so wide-spread as to discredit the prohibition experiment, particularly in urban areas.

In 1923 the Conservative Part of G. Howard Ferguson capitalized upon a general disenchantment among voters with the controversial Drury government. Despite the entrenchment of prohibition in law it once more became an election issue which Ferguson deftly handled, making vague statements of support in rural areas where prohibition remained popular, and equally vague promises of change in the urban areas where ‘wet’ sentiment was on the rise. The Conservatives easily ousted the United Farmers of Ontario and the voters now waited to see what action Ferguson would take.
On July 24, 1924 a plebiscite was announced for October 23, 1924 to secure a popular judgement on the Ontario Temperance Act. The questions to be voted upon where:

  1. Are you in favour of the continuance of the Ontario Temperance Act?
  2. Are you in favour of the sale as a beverage of beer and spirituous liquor in sealed packages under Government Control?

The Executive Committee of the Ontario Prohibition Union moved quickly to create a special Plebiscite Committee to handle the campaign. Prominent citizens and churchmen were recruited to carry out the campaign under the leadership of Campaign Director the Rev. Dr. Thomas Albert Moore, Secretary of the Board of Temperance and Moral Reform of the Methodist Church, and a later Moderator of the United Church of Canada. The Committee promised a campaign which would be “brief, intense, and courageous.”

Campaign activity was conducted by three working sub-committees; Organization, Publicity, and Finance. The Province was divided into 14 major districts with further division in county, riding, and municipal organizations. Women volunteers were united in the Ontario Women’s Prohibition Committee and young people of Sunday Schools and religious youth groups were encouraged in active participation.

When the votes were tallied the result was 585,676 for the retention of the Ontario Temperance Act, and 551, 645 for Government Control. The 1924 Plebiscite Campaign was to prove a pyrrhic victory for Ontario’s prohibitionists. Although the campaign demonstrated the organizational abilities of the prohibitionists in mounting a major and effective campaign, their narrow margin of victory demonstrated a significant dissatisfaction among the voters with the practise of prohibition as opposed to the theory that had provided such vast majorities in the 1919 and 1921 votes. The disparity in voting between the rural and urban areas, the latter of which had voted resoundingly against prohibition, prompted action by the Ferguson government. Within a year the distribution of 4.4% beer was approved and, following the re-election of the Ferguson government in 1926 on a platform of government control the Ontario Liquor Control Act was passes, ending Ontario’s prohibition experiment.

Alcohol and Drug Concerns Inc.. Toc Alpha

  • Corporate body
  • 1958-

Toc Alpha was the youth wing of the Ontario Temperance Federation and antecedent organizations overseen by the Youth Work Committee. Toc Alpha stands for the letters “T” and “A” which representing “Teen Ager for Total Abstinence.” The organization served young people from fifteen to twenty-five primarily in Ontario with smaller affiliated groups across Canada.

During the 1930s the Ontario Temperance Federation organized a Total Abstinence Youth Movement and under the direction of Rev. R.A. Whattam established youth posts in local churches across Ontario. However this movement soon lapsed into inactivity. In 1944, Rev, Albert Johnston joined the Ontario Temperance Federation to expand youth work and showed films and gave talks at various high schools in Ontario. In the early 1950s, he was joined by Roy Bregg of Allied Youth from the United States and the educational work among young people was expanded. In 1953 Albert Johnston began organizing local youth conclaves where teenagers could openly discuss alcohol and related problems among themselves. This conclave movement culminated in the Christmas conference of 1957 where it was decided to organize a permanent volunteer movement to serve teenagers and young adults. Thus in 1958 TOC Alpha came into existence.

Through regional gatherings and Local organizations as well as annual conventions, the organization of Toc Alpha attempted to bring in as many young people as possible. The purpose of Toc Alpha was to encourage young people to become aware of themselves, their environment and their environment and their responsibilities, in order to relate successfully to others, particularly in the area of alcohol and other drugs. It examines the responsible use of alcohol and encourages a life style independent of its use.

Toc Alpha’s work closely related work by the United Church of Canada’s Division of Mission in Canada and the Board of Evangelism and Social Service.

Alderville United Church (Ont.)

  • Corporate body
  • 1925-

Alderville United Church located at Alderville First Nation was established in 1925; formerly Methodist. It is still an active congregation of the United Church of Canada.

Alderwood United Church (Toronto, Ont.)

  • CAN
  • Corporate body
  • 1951-

Alderwood United Church was established in 1951. Services were originally held at Sir Adam Beck Public School on Horner Avenue in Etobicoke until 1958 when a new church building, located at 44 Delma Drive, Etobicoke, was built. In 2017, St. Paul's United Church, Long Branch (Etobicoke, Ont.), amalgamated with Alderwood United Church with services held at the Alderwood location. It is still an active congregation.

St. Paul's United Church in Etobicoke was established in 1925, formerly Presbyterian. Located at 85 Thirty-First Street, it served the Long Branch community of Toronto. On January 1, 2017, it amalgamated with Alderwood United Church with services at the Alderwood location.

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