Friday August 29, 2014

Liquor warehouse locations

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In 1918, the War Measures Act was used by the Dominion Government to prohibit the manufacturing and the transporting of liquor in the whole of Canada. The government then in 1919 wanted to prolong this law another year, and managed to pass it in the House of Commons. However, the Senate over ruled, citing that it violated provincial rights. What followed was the opening of liquor warehouses in numerous places across the province, with a concentration near the international boundary. The map here shows the communities of southeast Saskatchewan where liquor warehouses were located to serve American and out of province booze markets. They also served the local and provincial illegal liquor trade. These villages and towns were: Gainsborough, Bienfait, Glen Ewen, Estevan, Carievale, Ceylon, Moosomin, Oxbow, Tribune and Weyburn. Harry and Sam Bronfman operated warehouses from all of these places. The communities were served by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Weyburn and Estevan being also served by the Soo Line from Moose Jaw to North Portal, beyond to Minneapolis, Minnesota; Minot, North Dakota and Chicago. Wikipedia tells us that "Minot became a supply centre for Chicago's Al Capone's liquor smuggling operations during the Prohibition years of 1920 to 1933. The smugglers used a network of underground tunnels to transport and conceal illicit cargo." Overnight, the Bronfmans became involved in an extremely lucrative business.

Contact Terri Lefebvre Prince, Heritage Researcher,
City of Yorkton Archives, Box 400, 37 Third Avenue North
Yorkton, Sask. S3N 2W3 306-786-1722



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