Windsor was a major rum-running port in the early part of the twentieth century. In 1916, the State of Michigan adopted Prohibition, and in 1919 Prohibition was adopted nationally across the U.S. From then on, the City of Windsor became a major site for alcohol smuggling and gangster activity.
The waterways that separate Windsor and Detroit transported up to 75% of the alcohol that was consumed in the United States during Prohibition. The numerous islands (notably Bois Blanc, Grosse Ile, Fighting Island and Belle Island) that dot the 30-mile stretch from Lake Erie to Lake St. Clair provided the necessary hiding spots to evade officials. The river is narrow and could be quickly and easily crossed by boat. Many people on both sides of the river had private boathouses and docks, many of which were connected by underground tunnels. Many of Windsor’s citizens were involved in smuggling during the 1920s and capitalized on the demand for bootleg liquor. Some of the most prestigious mansions in the area were built on the profits from Prohibition. And, once the Ambassador Bridge and the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel were completed in 1929 and 1930 respectively, the flow of alcohol saw a dramatic increase.
With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the area returned to its more law-abiding nature and the traffic in bootleg liquor virtually disappeared.
Bedford United Church of Canada... Bedford United Church was made famous by the gun-toting Methodist Minister "The Fighting Parson" during the days of Prohibition. Read More
Canadian Club Brand Centre... A 1-1/2 hour tour will look back in history to Hiram Walker's success and his famous whisky, CANADIAN CLUB. Guests are escorted into the basement C.C. Speak Easy, where meetings were held with Al Capone and The Purple Gang, and finish their tour with a whisky sampling. A tour not to miss! Read More
Mackenzie Hall Cultural Centre... Art. Culture. Heritage. Wellness. Find it all. Find it here. Visit this historic gem in the heart of Sandwich Towne. Originally a 19th century district courthouse and gaol (jail), this heritage building now offers performing art space, theatre, galleries, meeting rooms, activities for the family, a ballroom to rent and more. Read More
The Rum Runners Tour... Learn the secrets and visit the hideouts of bootleggers and gangsters who smuggled liquor across the river. Experience Windsor in the Roaring 20s. Journey into the past as costumed characters tell the story of Prohibition. An informative bus tour filled with laughter, music, lunch at an original speakeasy Read More
Willistead Manor... History never looked so good. Experience the beauty of this grand 36-room mansion nestled in a picturesque 15-acre park. Built in 1917 by Edward Chandler Walker, son of Hiram Walker, its Tudor-Jacobean architecture recalls the ingenuity and elegance of the 20th century. An ideal venue for weddings, receptions, meetings and more! Read More
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