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Prince George had a dynamite Halloween

This week in Prince George history, Nov. 6-12: Nov. 7, 1966: An editorial in The Citizen praised the self-restraint of police during a near-riot and vandalism spree on Halloween.

This week in Prince George history, Nov. 6-12:

Nov. 7, 1966: An editorial in The Citizen praised the self-restraint of police during a near-riot and vandalism spree on Halloween.

"Chief area of gratification is that individual members of the RCMP did not lose their tempers and punch out some of the youngsters who gave them more than ample incentive to do so. It must be one of the most difficult parts of a policeman's role - exercising self-restrain," The Citizen opined. "On the other hand, it is also to be hoped that the parents of these youngsters did not exercise too much self-restraint when their children came trooping home. They had earned a good dose of old-fashioned, home-style punishment and let's hope they got it."

City council planned to review the spree of vandalism, which caused an estimated $40,000 in damage - equivalent to more than $292,000 in today's dollars.

(ITALIC) In 1966, there was nothing too controversial about a newspaper encouraging parents to beat the tar out of their kids. Here is what all the fuss was about: (END ITALIC)

"Prince George is recovering today from one of the wildest and most destructive Halloween celebrations on record. In a night of violence, punctuated by the rumbling explosion of dynamite charges, unruly gangs of roaming youths smashed windows, pelted cars and buildings with eggs, overturned at least three vehicles, and blocked traffic in the downtown area," the Nov. 1, 1966 issue of The Citizen reported. "At least one street fight was reported to police and a young woman was terrorized when youths broke the windows in her Second Avenue home."

The trouble started around 6:30 p.m. and by the end of the night, police had handled 50 complaints of rowdyism and violence.

A mob of youths with painted faces, cheered on by "screaming girls" marched through downtown smashing windows, throwing rocks at cars, and spattering eggs on businesses and storefronts. Thirty dozen eggs were stolen from Tabor Lake Poultry to provide ammunition for the rampage.

"At least three dynamite explosions punctuated the mayhem although no one was reported injured," The Citizen reported. "The explosions were detonated in South Fort George, Connaught Hill and on Second Avenue."

Three vehicles were overturned by the mob - some with people still in them - and many more were pushed onto sidewalks and lawns. One convertible sports car's roof was slashed, after the car was pushed up on lawn of a Giscome Road home, and another was abandoned on the lawn of the provincial government building downtown.

Several small fires were started throughout the city and regional district -although they caused minimum damage -and fences and walls were spray painted.

"A police officer reported 20 stores in a four-block area with broken windows and several large plate glass windows in downtown department stores were shattered by rocks," The Citizen reported.

In addition, many homeowners reported broken windows in their windows and vehicles.

"Roaming youths stole the chairs from the lobby of the Canadian Legion on Seventh Avenue, less than 100 yards from the police office, but they were recovered," The Citizen reported. "Police took 40 young people into custody at the height of the outbreak but most were released into the custody of their parents (later that night)."

While the youths were in custody, a crowd gathered around the police station chanting "Let them out, let them out," while pelting the police station with eggs and garbage.

"Police officials (talked) of using fire hoses to break up the mob but (decided) against it as too dangerous," The Citizen reported.

Eventually the mob moved on to the high school playing fields to smash windows there, before dispersing around midnight.

(ITALIC) Baby boomers, before you start complaining about those lazy, entitled millennials, remember that you used to act like this. By comparison to blowing up things with dynamite and rampaging through the city, taking a few selfies is harmless. (END ITALIC)

To explore 100 years of local history yourself, visit the Prince George Citizen archives online at: The Prince George Citizen online archives are maintained by the Prince George Public Library.