La Cloche Whiskey Smugglers & American Prohibition

1930s Al Capone Big Bill Thompson Canadian history Killarney Provincial Park La Cloche liquor smuggling McGregor Bay prohibition The Pool whiskey smugglers

Americans and Prohibition

The Prohibition years in the United States lasted from 1920 until 1933 and as well as giving rise to the American gangster it became the law that was disregarded by the majority of American citizens. Al Capone and Chicago’s gangster mayor “Big Bill Thompson’ were two memorable figures both associated with prohibition and gangsters running alcohol from Canada into the United States.

‘Big Bill Thompson’ and many of his friends enjoyed their frequent visits to La Cloche so much so that ‘Big Bill’ built a lodge at Three Narrows Lake. He accessed the lodge from the Pool at Baie Fine where he kept his tractor to carry all of his 370 pounds over the portage.

The North Channel, Cockburn Island and Barren Island affectionately known as 'Barrel Island' were all on well documented routes of the prohibition whiskey trade. These areas were also frequented by American yachters visiting La Cloche.

The St Valentine’s Day Massacre made Al Capone the FBI’s ‘ Public Enemy Number 1’ and in a few short years the Prohibition ended along with Big Bill’s political career.

Photo 1...Barren Island fish depot
Photo 2...Barren Island fishing boats
Photo 3...'Big Bill Thompson' on Spreadborough's porch in The Pool
Photo 4...Big Bill Thompson's tractor
Photo 5...The yacht Topaz at Barren Island
Photo 6...Whiskey Island near Killarney

 

 


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