Friday, May 9, 2014

Here Come the Rum-Runners

Prohibition is over in BC although some extremely strict drinking laws remained. In the U.S. though, prohibition was going strong and we all know that people aren't going to give up their booze so it became an economic boom for enterprising sailors.

Boats would leave our waters, loaded with alcohol and headed for the California waters. Along the way, they would play a cat and mouse game with the U.S. Coastguard and the FBI.

This operation was run by the Reifel family here in Vancouver who ran the operation from their mansions and warehouses in the area. They became on of North America's wealthiest families in the process.

 Rum running came to an end in 1933 when prohibition ended in the United States. It took until the mid-1950s before BC's liquor laws started to relax. That was when restaurants were able to start serving alcohol and cocktail bars began to open. This illicit speakeasies and bootleg joints began to close down.

Unfortunately, heroin and cocaine brought new problems to the city a few years later.

I wonder how much these harsh laws affect the scene today. Being a fan of music and musicians the way I am, I have heard a fair amount about how difficult it is to get music off the ground in Vancouver. Clubs that support live acts seem to come and go and the musicians find themselves having to go underground to be heard by their fans. There is even a documentary on this topic called No Fun City. I don't know anything about the documentary and this is all conjecture on my part but it is something to consider.

Once again, I want to thank the Forbidden Vancouver website for this information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. Another great post Karen. Love the painted boxes. Have a super weekend.

  2. I want one of these boxes! I am a box fanatic and these are wonderful.

    1. I would need a crane to steal it for you!