100 Years Ago: Retail Stores to Close Saturday, Protest Against Saturday Closing, Coal Wanted at Khaki Club, Food Stores to Close at Noon, 263 Belleville Homes Without Coal

The Intelligencer February 6, 1918 (page 1)

“All Retail Stores Must Close Saturday. Special Despatch to The Intelligencer, Canadian Press, Limited. Ottawa. That all retail stores shall close next Friday night and remain closed till Tuesday morning no matter how they are heated, by wood, coal or gas, this was the final decision of Assistant Fuel Controller Peterson this morning, after being interviewed and hearing arguments of an influential deputation representing the Retail Merchants Association. Peterson pointed out that any change made now, substituting Tuesday for Saturday, would only make further confusion and further hardship.”

The Intelligencer February 6, 1918 (page 4)

“Protest Against Saturday Closing. The closing of certain industries and stores for three days—Saturday, Sunday and Monday, February 9th, 10th and 11th, by order of the Government of Canada, to save fuel, is no doubt right in principle as a necessary war measure. …

The protest of the Retail Merchants Association of Ontario made to the Government that the closing of stores on Saturday will be accompanied by a heavy financial loss, more so than on any other day of the week, and suggesting a change to Tuesday as entailing a smaller loss, is well based, particularly in cities like Belleville where Saturday is market day and a great volume of trading is done by customers from the country who bring in their goods to market and make their purchases afterward. Saturday is the big shopping day of the week for everybody and custom is hard to alter. Past experience has shown that the loss of one Saturday’s trade is never made up again, consequently merchants prefer to have holidays observed on almost any other day of the week.”

The Intelligencer February 6, 1918 (page 7)

“Coal Wanted at Khaki Club. The Khaki Club which is being used by the soldiers quartered in Belleville, may have to shut down for lack of fuel. The water pipes are frozen and the frost has cast quite a shadow upon the customary cheerful atmosphere, of this soldiers gathering place.

Surely some one can spare out of their abundance a little coal to keep the soldier’s club warm. If several gave a little it would help mightily. The soldier boys will have enough discomforts before they finish fighting for us without having to suffer while in training.”

The Intelligencer February 6, 1918 (page 8)

“Many and varied are the puzzling cases which will need special rulings by the fuel controller in connection with the fuel saving closing order. …  Some of his rulings are: Banks can remain open only for the payment of bills of exchange, etc., falling due on Saturday and Monday. Deposits must not be accepted or cheques cashed. Only enough heat to make the offices comfortable for the few clerks engaged in the special work will be allowed.

Stores selling food products must close at 12 o’clock noon on Saturday and Monday. Bakeries with a shop in connection may bake all day, but must close the shop at 12 o’clock noon. Offices in telephone and telegraph buildings, not occupied by the companies themselves, must close.”

The Intelligencer February 6, 1918 (page 8)

“263 Homes Without Coal. One of the busiest places in the city the past few days is the office occupied by Mr. Thos. S. Wills, Fuel Controller of the city. An idea of the need of coal in the city may be gathered from the fact that from the hour the office was opened this morning until two o’clock this afternoon no less than 263 orders had been issued for coal. These were chiefly quarter ton lots, but in a few special cases a half ton order was given.

Whilst there is in the coal yard premises in the city some soft coal, hard coal may be considered a luxury as there is scarcely any available. A car load of hard stove coal arrived in the city this afternoon per G.T.R. for the Allen Coal Company, and the car was brought down to the city. The contents of the car was soon disposed of.

A number from the country to-day applied to the controller for an order to procure coal, but in every instance it was refused, as every available pound of coal must be reserved for our citizens, who are unable to procure wood, which is also a rather scarce article.”