Five Cent Candy Bar War

Mural #C5

#C5 Five Cent Candy Bar War2.4M X 1.2M (8′ X 4′) Lane North of Cypress Street
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Artists: Kerry Onoshuko, Stephen Robinson, Stephen Sylvester, Anjilee Manhas and Gabi Jones of Chemainus Secondary School
Painted in 2017.

In 1947, a Ladysmith youth got a surprise when he went to the Wigwam Café to buy some candy. Almost overnight, he discovered that chocolate bar prices had risen from 5 cents to 8 cents. He organized a protest and parade in front of the Wigwam and soon the strike spread to Dwyer’s Confectionary in Chemainus. On April 25, 1947, local newspaper reporter, Mollie Robinson, photographed her niece, Nancy Robinson, and a few girlfriends protesting in front of the confectionary. The girls posed for the photo with ice cream cones, The ice cream cones had become a symbol of the strike because they still cost only 5 cents!

Protests forced the provincial legislature to close down for the day; then spread across Canada. Thousands of children boycotted stores resulting in sales dropping dramatically overnight! Slogans and songs were created like:

”Candy is Dandy but 8 cents isn’t Handy!”

“We want a 5 cent chocolate bar
8 cents is going too darn far!”

Parents soon joined the campaign against the 8 cent chocolate bar. The strike was short-lived, however, when it was revealed that one of the organizations supporting the protest was the National Federation of Labor Youth, a labor union group that was funded by the Canadian Communist Party. At this point, the strike collapsed as almost all support was withdrawn.