Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hat to GPK Virtual Trip

Well here we are in Moose Jaw Mile 2185 kms Report # 66

We're going directly to the "Moose Jaw Tunnels " before they shut up, off or down, what ever it is they do for winter...

Way back in 1882, the railway headed from the Manitoba Border for the narrow crossing of the river known by the Cree as Moosegaw, or Warm Wind. Didn't need much translation to become " Moose Jaw" as it is called today.

7,600 men with 1,700 teams of horses were the first wave of Europeans to arrive and they brought Chinese rail workers with them.

As soon as the rail was laid to Moose Jaw, the next waves of settlers arrived. By 1883 there was a permanent population of about 3,000. The rapid development brought Moose Jaw to prominence and ushered in a commercial and industrial boom.. Right on the heels of this came bootlegging, gambling and prostitution literally operating underground.

Some say the tunnels were first dug by the Chinese workers trying to avoid the dreaded " Head Tax". Others say it was the C.P.R. that connected it's main station to the Conerstone Hotel across the street. It's so stinking cold here in the winter, I'm surprised the whole city is not underground. Regardless, soon other tunnels linked Main Street and River Street plus the Royal and Brunswick Hotels.

During the roaring 20's Al Capone was rumored to have stayed in down town Hotels so that brough a measure of notoriety to the city. Whether it is true or not has long ago ceased to matter as a whole flourishing trade has been built on it, fact or fiction. Tickets are sold, plays are enacted and tunnel tours are conducted. Meanwhile the legend lives on and the money rolls in.

The weather is still nice, so I will surface and take in the other things that make up "Moose Gaw" today

Cheers', catch you later

Doug G

Thanks Doug

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