Moose Jaw

After a tough cycle in I needed a few days rest in Moose Jaw, I spent the first two days just eating, drinking and sleeping I was truly done in and the weather was still sweltering hot. On day 3 I had a walk round town and did a tour of the tunnels below the town and learning a bit of the history of the town and the country.

The first tour was about the way that Chinese immigrants were treated and the conditions that they lived in. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Chinese immigration was seen as a big problem, especially in British Colombia, to try and limit immigration a charge was put on Chinese trying to come to the country, this had little effect and in 1923 a full immigration ban was introduced! Those who were in Canada were often hated and heavily in debt to “Coolie Brokers” who had put up the money for the trip over. Due to there social stigma the Chinese often worked in menial labour such as laundries, which is the main occupation shown in the tour. They were treated badly and paid poorly, the living conditions often being 3 men to a bunk. I was slightly horrified at it but know that this was going on with many other races in other countries so wasn’t hugely surprised.

On the tour they also explained why the tunnels under the town had been constructed, the primary reason being for the boiler engineers. During winter Saskatchewan gets cold… -30-40oC cold. Going from a boiler room that can be in excess of +40oC out into the bitter cold can be lethal, if you are doing that multiple times a day it can be rather bad on your health, therefore they built tunnels between the different businesses and boiler rooms. Simple solution really.

Tour two was about the bootleggers during the prohibition period and the way they used these tunnels to smuggle alcohol into the US. The main operation was run by Al Capone but some of his men also made a bit more money with there own work on the side, if they had be caught they would end up “sleeping with the fish.” During this period Moose Jaw was a seen as a den of vice and nicknamed “Little Chicago”

I had a bit more of a wander round the town and more rest and food. before moving on…

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