In Mixed Company
explores taverns as colonial public space and how men and women of diverse backgrounds – Native and newcomer, privileged and labouring, white and non-white – negotiated a place for themselves within them. The stories that emerge unsettle comfortable certainties about who belonged where in colonial society. Colonial taverns were places where labourers enjoyed libations with wealthy Aboriginal traders like Captain Thomas, who also treated a Scotsman to a small bowl of punch; where white soldiers rubbed shoulders with black colonists out to celebrate Emancipation Day; where English ladies and their small children sought refuge for a night. The records of the past tell stories of time spent in mixed company but also of the myriad, unequal ways that colonists found room in taverns and a place in Upper Canadian culture and society. Reconstructed from tavern-keepers’ accounts, court records, diaries, travelogues, and letters, In Mixed Company
is essential reading for tavern aficionados and anyone interested in the history of gender, race, and culture in Canadian or colonial society.
A fascinating exploration of the tavern as a significant and fluid social space in colonial Canada.