101-year-old message in a bottle found under toppled Manitoba statue

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Workers removing the base of a toppled statue in front of the Manitoba legislature discovered a 101-year-old message in a bottle decrying prohibition.

Manitoba Legislative Assembly officials said the workers have been removing the base of a Queen Victoria statue that was topped by protests in 2021, and they recently found a broken bottle concealed in the base that contained a note.

The note inside the bottle was dated July 30, 1921, when alcoholic beverages were outlawed.

“It says, ‘On account of the Prohibition, we are unable to adhere to the custom of depositing a bottle of brandy under the stone, for which we are extremely sorry,’ I believe is what it says,” Reg Helwer, minister responsible for government services, told media outlets.

The note is signed by a stone cutter, other workers and Manitoba’s then-deputy minister of public works, Helwer said.

“Apparently there are things of that nature around the legislature. As we move stones, we do discover things like this,” Helwer said. “To me, it’s a very neat story, especially with the age of the building, just recently celebrating a hundred years not long ago.”