A July 2000 trip
to Moose Jaw by girlfromals
Quote: Center of the underground trade in alcohol during American prohibition, Al Capone hid out in this Saskatchewan city.
UPDATE: On January 1/04, a massive fire roared through the historic downtown area of Moose Jaw. Luckily the Tunnels were saved, but they were damaged by water. There are plans to rebuild.
Western Development Museum - The history of transportation is portrayed in this branch of the museum. Also located here is the Snowbirds musueum. The Snowbirds are the aerobatic flying team which trains at Canadian Forces Base Moose Jaw. Lots of fun for kids (and adults) of all ages!
Temple Gardens Mineral Spa located downtown is a popular destination. Known for its healing waters the spa is always busy. It is under expansion to add more guest rooms and a casino.
The Annual Festival of Words - held in late July, is a literary festival. Authors come from around the world to this event. You can take seminars as well.
The Murals of Moose Jaw - many of the buildings downtown are decorated with murals depicting the area and its history. You can take a walking tour to see all of them. Check this website for info on other attractions in the area.
If you have time, check out the liquor store in the old train station which is the most prominent building downtown. The interior has been redone quite nicely. Probably one of the nicest liquor stores in the province.
In the downtown area, park your car and walk around. The tunnel tour is located downtown as is the mineral spa.
To get to the Air Force Base or the Western Development Museum, you'll need your car.
Hotel | "Super 8"
It is not located near the downtown so you will have to drive to reach the attractions there. However it is not too far from the Western Development Museum, restaurants, and a large grocery store.
The hotel offers standard rooms and suites with the suites costing $94 a night. The rooms in this hotel offer good beds (no sore back in the morning here!), TV, full cable service, pay per view movies, and computer games for the kids if you sign up for them at the front desk. One thing I particularly like about the rooms is the bathrooms. While not large, they are decorated with white - fixtures, tile, and paint. It makes the small bathroom feel a lot larger and cleaner than hotels with wierd wallpaper and paint colours. The cleaning staff always does a great job and makes sure that there are enough supplies of soap, shampoo, toilet paper, and tissues in the bathrooms.
Another great feature of the hotel is the laundry room. Having travelled for a number of weeks in a row on one trip, I know that doing laundry is a must. So if you have to do laundry, the large laundry room is a good place to do it. The only negative of this hotel would be parking in the winter as there is no underground parking or plug-ins.
Included in the room rate is a free continental breakfast in the common area in the morning. There is no limit on how much you can eat. While there are no fancy breakfasts here, you are free to make as much toast as you wish - great for a family with teenagers or other big eaters!
This is a good hotel but very busy so be sure to book ahead. The hotel accepts all major credit cards. Check in is 2pm and check out is 11am.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 12, 2002
Super 8 Moose Jaw Cn
1706 N MAIN ST
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan S6J1L4
It offers the usual fare of pizza but also includes some off the wall pizza, pyrogy pizza for example. Great for the adventurous. Individual sized pizza and pasta dishes are available. You can mix and match your pasta and sauce. The best deal for a group or family is definitely the pizza. It has good crust and a variety of toppings are available.
My sister and her boyfriend are vegetarians and are always able to find something to eat that looks and tastes good. Try looking in the sandwich or pizza sections.
The chicken wings are very good. You get 6 per order or you can get a plate of 18 and mix 3 different flavours and save a little money. My family introduced my Danish host parents to this great appetizer.
The restaurant offers non-stop pop, lemonade, and iced tea, great for kids and those of us who are thirsty after a lot of sightseeing.
There are a lot of smokers in Saskatchewan and the restaurant is divided into two sections, smoking and non-smoking. Be sure to ask for the appropriate one for you.
There is a sports bar attached to the restaurant for those over 19. They show a lot of sports and games so if you are in town and like this kind of thing, drop by.
1650 Main Street
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Planes, trains, and automobiles - various methods of transportation can be seen here. There are a number of early cars, all in pristine condition. The flight area is very interesting. There are a lot of planes from the World War II era. You can also check out the restoration area, where restorers work on the planes that come to the museum.
The vehicles come from all time periods, from the early to modern.
One of the biggest items is a huge locomotive that you can climb up in. You can even toot the horn! Kids will love this one.
The best part of the museum might be the Snowbirds area. Moose Jaw's Canadian Forces Base is the home of the Canadian air force's aerobatic flying team and the museum chronicles the Snowbirds. It is set up like a hangar on the base. You can check out photos of old planes, climb into the cockpit of a plane and pretend that you are a pilot, and check out all kinds of memorabilia. The first female pilots to fly with the Snowbirds also have their pictures hanging in this area. Something which makes you pause to think is the memorial of the pilots who have been killed while performing or practicing, the most recent of which was in the late 1990's.
For an extra dollar paid at the time of admission, you can get a ride on the operating steam engine train outside the museum. The ride is a little bumpy but the kids will really enjoy this one!
There is a gift shop in the museum so for those who like to pick up souvenirs, this is a good place.
The museum holds special events through the year. Be sure to check out the website for details and special admission rates for these events. Group tours are allowed and get a better rate if you book ahead. There wasn't enough room above to include all the ticket prices so check out the website for more info.
My family took my host parents from Denmark to this museum. Finally something interesting for my host dad who served in the Danish military! It was a lot of fun.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 12, 2002
Western Development Museum
2610 Lorne Avenue South
Saskatoon S7J 0S6
Attraction | "Gangsters in the Tunnels!"
I went on the gangster tour with my family and my host parents from Denmark. The tour had been open for only about a month at the time and we didn't quite know what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised.
The tour begins when Miss Fanny invites you into her bar. She gives you a little history and shows you Al Capone's apartment. After that, you descend into the tunnels and get to see a lot of things. I can't tell you it all or it will ruin the tour!
What I can say is that in the 1920's and 1930's, Moose Jaw was at the end of a train run from Chicago. Americans used to come to the city for vacations. When prohibition was introduced in the US, locals combined with gangsters to import alcohol into the US. The tunnels were used to produce alcohol and as a hideout from the authorities! Al Capone apparently used Moose Jaw tunnels as a hide out. Many people report seeing and meeting him.
The tour company opened a second tour about the Chinese immigrants who used the tunnels as well. I have not been on this particular tour myself but have heard that it is fantastic.
My favourite moment occurred just as we were to enter the gangster area. The guard had to make sure to count us so he knew how many were going in. My host parents screwed up their numbers and really confused the actor. He played along and almost didn't let us in the door! He made sure to show us his machine gun to let us know he was serious!
This is a very popular attraction so be sure to book your tickets early. If you arrive in town without tickets, head to the ticket office at the above address and be sure to get tickets early in the day or else you will be stuck with a very late tour.
Tours are run every 15 minutes and have a maximum of 15 persons.
The ticket price seems a little steep, but I found it was definitely worth the money. You can save a little money by buying tickets for both tours at the same time.
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures on the tour so I have no pictures to show you. Guess that means that you will have to check out the tour yourself!
Gangster Tunnels of Moose Jaw
18 Main Street North
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan