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posted by: The Royal Hotel Chilliwack on: December 13, 2019 08:04:48 PM

The Great War had ended in November 1918 with the signing of the armistice but the effects of the war would continue into 1919 and beyond.

Premier Oliver's 1919 Christmas Message

Soldiers returning from serving overseas unfortunately were unsuspecting carriers of the deadly flu virus when they returned to British Columbia. It was estimated that around 4000 BC residents died from this influenza outbreak – about 25% of the population of Vancouver at that time. The strain of influenza was so deadly and sudden and typically struck those aged 20 to 40 years of age.

Chilliwack Progress, Jan. 23, 1919

The Government of Canada responded to this major health crisis by creating the Department of Health in 1919. Prior to 1919 health matters was the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture. The new branch of the government would go on to create standards for foods & drugs and educate the public about sexually transmitted diseases and was responsible for “all matters and questions relating to the promotion of the health and social welfare of the people of Canada.”

The Pearson brothers, Clifford and Ernie, purchased a general store in Sardis in 1919. Built in 1891 and opened by Alex Campbell the store changed hands several times before the brothers took ownership in 1919. The two appointed Lewis Arthur Thornton as postmaster after they took over the business. The Sardis post office was situated in Pearson Brothers store until 1921 when Mr. Thornton built a new post office across the street.

Pearson Brothers Sardis store

The Pearson Brothers business flourished. They prided themselves on customer service, offered home delivery and during hop season provided lunch supplies and groceries to those toiling in the fields.

Interior of Pearsons

The store continued to serve Sardis residents until closing in 1974.

Royal Hotel advertisement
Chilliwack Progress, Dec. 25, 1919
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