Downtown Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Tunnels Built by Chinese Workers Reveal Dark Tales of Canada’s Past // Jul 2, 2021
In Moose Jaw Saskatchewan there is an underground maze of tunnels under the city in the downtown core. For longer than 75 years, city officials denied their existence, in one of the most bizarre stories in this wild frontier town in Canada’s west. Part of the tunnel network has been restored, and is open to visitors, but not during COVID.
Work on these so-called “Tunnels of Little Chicago” started in 1908 after several Chinese rail workers were savagely beaten at the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) rail yards by whites who thought the Chinese were taking their jobs. Western Canada was in hysteria over the so-called “yellow peril”, and Ottawa feds imposed the infamous “head tax” on Chinese would be immigrants. The Chinese, terrified, and unable to pay the head tax literally went underground, digging secrete tunnels under the downtown city core to hide, live with their woman, and raise kids in the rat infested darkness. Access to the secret tunnels was via basements of buildings owned by legal Chinese immigrants. The underground residents worked in above ground laundries and restaurants and were paid in food and supplies.
In the 1920s, during prohibition, Moose Jaw became a bootlegging hub, and a gangsters resort, with regular visits from the Chicago mob including Al Capone. The entire police force was in cahoots with the mob and the Chinese, using the tunnels for gambling, prostitution, and for storing illegal booze. One tunnel under the CPR station allowed for loading and unloading of contraband.
In the late 1970s part of Main St. collapsed into a tunnel from the weight of a car, which ended up down the hole. The jig was up; the City could no longer deny the existence of the tunnels!!
Bizarre story; you cannot make this stuff up!!!
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Paul will be travelling with Lazar, a doctoral student in the Department of Geography at the University of Ottawa. Lazar is studying urban geography and gentrification and, like Paul, is an avid chess player. I’m sure they’ll be bringing a chess board with them! They’ll be travelling from Eastern Ontario to Alberta in Western Canada.
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Paul is a respected creator of entertaining and comprehensible videos, usually pertaining to climate system science, abrupt climate change, meteorology, oceanography and Earth Sciences. He occasionally teaches at the University of Ottawa in the Laboratory for Paleoclimatology, and has also taught at Carleton University. He is often asked by concerned citizens and government officials to speak at conferences and events. In addition to participating in numerous panel discussions, Paul has often been interviewed on various radio and podcast programs, and has participated as a guest and panelist at three United Nations Conference of the Parties Climate Conferences, including COP25 in Madrid, Spain, in December 2019′.
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