Visitors will learn how Al Capone ran his bootlegging operation. // © 2013 The Tunnels of Moose Jaw
During his lifetime, Al Capone was an object of both fear and fascination and, since his death, numerous tourist attractions with ties to Capone have sprouted up — some in the most unlikely of places. It turns out the notorious gangster, who was once known as “Public Enemy Number One,” did business in many different locales both inside and outside of the U.S. In the days of prohibition, Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan, Canada, was a bootlegger’s paradise, and local lore has it that Capone and his henchmen had a base in Saskatchewan that was used to ship illegal alcohol from Canada into the U.S.
Though no one would have openly admitted it in the 1920s, modern-day Moose Jaw celebrates its little piece of Capone history with pride. Visitors will even see Capone’s image on some of the signs in town and learn about Capone and Moose Jaw’s shady past on a tour of the Tunnels of Moose Jaw.
A series of tunnels under the main buildings of downtown made the city an ideal location for a bootlegging operation. Built in the early 1900s, the tunnels were originally designed as a means to allow builders to work on the heating systems of the main town buildings without having to venture outside in cold weather, but other uses were soon found.
There are two 45-minute tours on offer ($14 per tour or $23 for both tours), and visitors can choose to experience the tunnels as either a bootlegger or as a Chinese immigrant who lived and worked in the tunnels before prohibition. As an immigrant worker, you may be yelled at and treated poorly. On the gangster tour, you’ll get used to gangster lingo like “dees guys” and “dem dolls” and get an idea of how the tunnels helped the gangsters successfully hide their bootlegging operations.
The Tunnels of Moose Jaw is a quirky year-round attraction to recommend to clients visiting Saskatchewan. Touring the tunnels brings to light a shady past that connects Moose Jaw with one of the most famous gangsters in history.