In the late nineteenth century, a wave of sentiment against the effects of drunkenness was sweeping Canada. As in some of the other provinces, Alberta held a province-wide plebiscite and between 1916 and 1924 banned the sale of alcohol. Prohibition was not popular in the Crowsnest Pass, however, and a few enterprising individuals began “rum-running”, the illegal transportation of alcohol into Alberta from British Columbia or the United States. To counter this activity, the province created the Alberta Provincial Police, and the cat-and-mouse competition between the rum-runners and the APP gave rise to some of the most colorful legends in the Pass. Disguised as picnickers, driving the back-roads, or simply outrunning the APP in powerful McLaughlan cars known as “Whiskey Sixes”, rum-running was a risky, dangerous business.
Today this rum-running heritage is celebrated during Rum Runner Days held in mid July each year. Activities include a parade, pancake breakfast, the 10km Sole Survivor walk/run, the Taste Of Crowsnest food event, music and dancing, a vintage car show, a Children’s Festival and much more. All of the major heritage attractions are open.
For dates and details, see the Rum Runner Days website (external site).