This quaint city, nestled along the Trans-Canada Highway in Canada’s Saskatchewan province, was regarded as the epicentre of the country’s rum-running industry in the 1920s, garnering it the nickname “Little Chicago.”
Today, visitors can still get a taste of the city’s illicit and storied past by delving below ground for a guided tour of the Tunnels of Moose Jaw. One of the top attractions in Moose Jaw, these tunnels span the city’s downtown district. Two guided tours are available, each detailing a different aspect of this city’s fabled underground lore.
On the “Chicago Connection” tour, the journey begins at Miss Fanny’s and traverses flights of stairs, with theatrical surprises along the way that open a wide door into Al Capone’s bootlegging legacy in Moose Jaw. Another tour entitled “Passage to Fortune” shows the adversity faced by Chinese immigrants here. It guides travellers from Burrows and Sons Laundry, through the depths of the city, to Mr Wong’s kitchen. One of the top things to do in Moose Jaw, these underground tours are billed as family friendly, though there may be some loud noises along the way.
History buffs and art enthusiasts can make their way up to street level and stroll less than 1 kilometre northeast to the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, located in Crescent Park. Here visitors will find a wide array of collections and exhibitions showcasing the beadwork from the Cree and Sioux First Nations’ tribes, as well as women’s clothing and relics from the region’s earliest inhabitants. Contemporary art is also on display from the likes of Campbell Tinning, Tracy Bultje and Anita Rocamora, as well as a collection of over 6,000 historical artefacts.
Throughout Moose Jaw, visitors will notice a variety of murals that illustrate the history and day-to-day life of this quaint Saskatchewan town. These large outdoor panoramas total 39 in all, and showcase scenes from the 1920s, such as Grant McLaughlin’s “Cruising Main Street” on the back of the Old Capital Theatre on Main St N. “Sunday Outing” on Orminica St W is a 400-metre stroll northwest. It depicts a boating scene on the Moose Jaw River, while “The First Run” back on Main St. N portrays the day the city’s first street car went into service back in 1911.
Self-guided walking tours are one of the more popular things to do in Moose Jaw, especially in the warmer months. Tours begin in Crescent Park and lead visitors around town, highlighting the city’s architectural styling and construction from 1909 to 1928. Brochures are available at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, but those looking for chauffeured sightseeing can hop aboard a trolley at the Visitor Centre, a little over 3 kilometres north. This trolley is a replica of the city’s first street car from 1911, and it runs from mid May through August. On weekend nights, one of the top attractions in Moose Jaw is the ghost tour aboard this trolley.