During the Second World War, tea imports were much reduced, since the boats were needed for military purposes. Stocks of tea and sugar dwindled severely, and shortages threatened.
A commission on prices and trade was created and charged with surveying wartime prices. Householders were encouraged to cut their consumption of tea in half, and coffee by a quarter but this proved insufficient. Starting in 1942, sugar, tea, and coffee were rationed.
Rations for two weeks consisted of either one ounce of tea or four ounces of coffee for every individual aged 12 or over, children being ineligible. As the Commission did not allow supplementary rations for marriages or other celebrations, the letters BYOT began to appear on invitations. They stood, of course, for Bring Your Own Tea!
Rationing was removed on September 19, 1944.
After the war, many tea rooms from the early part of the century reappeared in Montréal, including those in the department stores and in hotels such as the Ritz or the Queen Elizabeth.
©1996: Centre d'histoire de Montréal
Picture source: La Patrie, juin 1942