Smuggling, Bootlegging and Speakeasies

To say that not everyone in Canada supported prohibition is an enormous understatement.  One has to understand that when prohibition was enacted in most provinces, it was the circumstances of the referendums (many men were at war, many women were voting, it was seen as being patriotic to support prohibition) that tipped the vote on the side of majority.  Nevertheless, liquor was banned, yet many still wanted liquor.  There were numerous ways to get around the system of provincial prohibition, and just hide from the government.  Some of these places and tactics include: doctors’ prescriptions, speakeasies, or blind pigs, and bootlegging among others.  One way people tried to obtain alcohol legally was through a doctor’s prescription.  If given a doctor’s prescription, that person could go to the local drugstore and fill the prescription by buying alcohol, as at the time it was common to drink alcohol if one was sick.  In Ontario from 1923-1924, doctors had issued a total of 810,000 prescriptions for alcohol, which would seem suspicious, but the outbreak of the Spanish Flu at the time accounted for many actually being ill and others pretending they had influenza just for the liquor.  As public sale of alcohol was outlawed, the drinking went underground to private places not everyone could access.  Speakeasies, or blind pigs, were private saloons set up during prohibition that were accessible only by password and were highly popular because they were bootlegging (the sale of alcohol as a beverage) at a time were alcohol was not as easy to come by.  Despite the fact that the sale of alcohol was banned, these speakeasies still obtained good liquor from brewers and distillers through bribery, and falsified contracts.  Though not all liquor going around at that time was good liquor, some who could not obtain real liquor, produced their own moonshine, which was homemade liquor.
Smuggling liquor over the Canada-US border, or rum-running, was very common during the 1920’s.  As many of Canada’s provinces were beginning to end prohibition the US had just started theirs, and many Americans were not ready to stop drinking.  This called for the illegal transportation of alcohol over the border.  During the American prohibition, the hub of their liquor trafficking was in Chicago, so some of the most common ways Canadians delivered their liquor to the US included by individual cars, planes, and cargo boats.  One common strategy to smuggling Canadian alcohol into the US was to ship large shipments of cargo to Cuba, as there they would evade checking through a Canadian customs agreement, and the liquor would be smuggled from Cuba to the US.  Due to the very high demand for alcohol in the US, the smuggling business was very profitable, and those smuggling typically had very average jobs, but it was a very risky business.