The Moose Jaw Tunnels - Al Capone's Hangout?

 

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - You wouldn’t know it as you walk the streets of Moose Jaw in south-central Saskatchewan, but there is a labyrinth of tunnels beneath the pavement.

The tunnels were constructed in the late 1800's and early 1900's so that building staff could move from one building to another keeping furnaces going, without having to go outdoors in the frigid winter weather.

Eventually Chinese migrants moved into them and became the city’s subterranean society. They lived and worked in the tunnels, providing cheap labour in laundry and sewing burlap bags for farmers. They were paid as as 35 cents an hour, and slept three to a bunk bed, with the cost of their accommodation being deducted from those meger earnings. Up until it became illegal in 1908, one of their few forms of relief was opium. You can see today a reconstruction of their living quarters, including opium den.

The business managers knew of the the tunnels but the general public did not.

Then along came prohibition. Canada quit it long before the U.S. and Moose Jaw became a hub for rumrunners and gangsters. This is the period Al Capone is said to have spent time here, and although there were several reports by people who said they saw him, no photographs or documentation exists.

Al Capone Moosejaw Tunnels

You can learn more about these eras on two tours of the tunnels, which feature live actors and animated mannequins. One focuses on the sad Chinese history and the other on the more colourful Capone connection.

Photo of Al Capone & Attorney courtesy of Moosejaw Tunnels.Photos of sign &lobby (c) Lucy Izon

 
 
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Lucy Izon

Canada Cool is produced by award-winning Canadian travel writer & speaker Lucy Izon. Her travel stories & reports have appeared in numerous leading North American publications including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and Chicken Soup for the Traveler's Soul. Bio page

Canada’s Coolest:

Welcome to a new feature on Canada Cool. I'll be presenting different 'Coolest' lists with my favorites and I encourage you to nominate suggestions from your own experiences. You can Twitter @CanadaCool or email Lucy@CanadaCool.com. Let me know what makes your suggestion exceptionally cool. Remember, by contributing your comments you are giving Canada Cool permission to quote you. Only a selection of submissions will be included, but all comments and submissions are greatly appreciated!

The first feature is: Canada's Coolest Single Day Scenic Drives

Here are some of my favorites...

Icefields Parkway - the world's most accessible glacier

The Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park, Alberta - This 229 km (142 mi) Rocky Mountain route from Banff/Lake Louise to Jasper passes 100 frozen rivers and nudges the base of the Athabasca Glacier - the most accessible glacier in the world. You can stop and explore it. It spills down from the Columbia Icefield, an area of ice so massive that you could fit the entire population of North America on it with each person getting at least a square metre of space.

Algonquin Moose Viewing

The Corridor, Algonquin Park, Ontario – this 56-km stretch of Hwy 60 cuts through the southwest section of Algonquin Park. Less than three hours north of Toronto the park is a nature-lover's paradise with 7,725 km of lakes, rivers, forest, trails, camping, comfortable lodges and 2000 km of canoe routes. Offers hiking trails to stop and enjoy, but what makes it really cool is that it’s one of the best places in North America to spot moose (especially in May and June). And, on Thursday nights in August up to 600 cars will gather to listen to wolves howl.

Cape Breton Cabot Trail drive

The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – Driving this 303 km (187 mile) route is like riding a roller-coaster: the road snakes around hairpin turns, rises to heights over 365 metres (1200 ft), weaves around headlands revealing spectacular coastal scenery, and plunges down to sea level taking you into the heart of small fishing communities. The most dramatic scenery is between the Cape Breton Highlands National Park entrance near Cheticamp and Pleasant Bay, so go slow. And, plan some flexibility into your schedule, so you can drive it on a clear day.

And here are some of your nominations for 'Canada's Coolest Single Day Scenic Drives'...

 

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'Canada's Coolest' topics we'll be publishing in the future:

  • Golf Course Features
  • Haunted Hotels
  • Hotel Special Services

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