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Rumrunners: The Smugglers from St. Pierre and Miquelon and the Burin Peninsula from Prohibition to Present Day

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Rumrunners is a history of the smuggling trade between the French Island colonies of St. Pierre and Miquelon and the United States, the Bahamas, and Newfoundland. The distribution of contraband alcohol has always been an element of the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. However, with the advent of the American Prohibition era (1919–1933), the French Islands’ illegal pra Rumrunners is a history of the smuggling trade between the French Island colonies of St. Pierre and Miquelon and the United States, the Bahamas, and Newfoundland. The distribution of contraband alcohol has always been an element of the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. However, with the advent of the American Prohibition era (1919–1933), the French Islands’ illegal practice took on worldwide proportions. This book details the rise and fall of the bootlegging industry in Atlantic waters, the efforts made by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to curb these criminal activities, and the evolution of laws from the Prohibition era to present day that have brought the trade to a virtual standstill. #3 on the Globe and Mail (Canadian Non-Fiction) Bestseller List (December 5, 2009)


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Rumrunners is a history of the smuggling trade between the French Island colonies of St. Pierre and Miquelon and the United States, the Bahamas, and Newfoundland. The distribution of contraband alcohol has always been an element of the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. However, with the advent of the American Prohibition era (1919–1933), the French Islands’ illegal pra Rumrunners is a history of the smuggling trade between the French Island colonies of St. Pierre and Miquelon and the United States, the Bahamas, and Newfoundland. The distribution of contraband alcohol has always been an element of the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. However, with the advent of the American Prohibition era (1919–1933), the French Islands’ illegal practice took on worldwide proportions. This book details the rise and fall of the bootlegging industry in Atlantic waters, the efforts made by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to curb these criminal activities, and the evolution of laws from the Prohibition era to present day that have brought the trade to a virtual standstill. #3 on the Globe and Mail (Canadian Non-Fiction) Bestseller List (December 5, 2009)

26 review for Rumrunners: The Smugglers from St. Pierre and Miquelon and the Burin Peninsula from Prohibition to Present Day

  1. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This is an interesting book on the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, which are near Newfoundland, Canada, and became a hub of the liquor smuggling trade during Prohibition, as well as a center of smuggling activities of Canadians seeking to evade Canadian taxes on alcohol and tobacco subsequent to the Prohibition era. There were analogous prohibition laws in Canada, as well at around the same time. It's actually quite interesting, if simply written -and profusely illustrated, with many This is an interesting book on the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, which are near Newfoundland, Canada, and became a hub of the liquor smuggling trade during Prohibition, as well as a center of smuggling activities of Canadians seeking to evade Canadian taxes on alcohol and tobacco subsequent to the Prohibition era. There were analogous prohibition laws in Canada, as well at around the same time. It's actually quite interesting, if simply written -and profusely illustrated, with many photographs of colorful smuggler personalities, warehouses, offices, hotels, the boats they used for smuggling, including vessels that would run from Canada, Europe, or Caribbean rum producing areas/islands, back to the northern French islands. Ships, including those still using sail into the 20th C, transported European liquor and wine to these islands - and there are images of icebergs that these ships had to avoid in the North Atlantic, prior to the age of radar and so forth. The Prohibition Era smuggling traffic included runs to the NY area, and many other distribution centers, from Newfoundland to points along the St. Lawrence, to Boston, NY, and Philadelphia. It was a lucrative trade that quickly fell under crime syndicate hands. Quotes: "Some parishes of the Lower St. Lawrence had become completely demoralized by the proportions by which this [smuggling] traffic had grown. Farmers completely neglected their land and fishermen their nets, to engage in smuggling ventures that promised large returns." "Though [alcohol] was banished from provinces other than Quebec, with the exception of the medicinal-purposes loophole, it has never been claimed that Canadians went without their alcohol. Conniving shipowners and captains, aided by a studied laxity on the part of customs officers, resulted in a widespread flaunting of the law." "...Canadian distilleries could produce alcohol for export purposes." "From the earliest of times, Newfoundlanders had made visits to the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, where well-stocked business establishments were only too happy to sell them goods." "The Canada Temperance Act banned alcohol throughout Canada in 1919..." "...the French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon located off Newfoundland's south coast." "Before the advent of the liquor traffic, St. Pierre had for some years been a quiet fishing village, suffering from economic recession." "...schooners would take the merchandise off to the American Coast where they would stay in international waters off Fire Island, New York." "The entire smuggling operation, from importation to final dispensing, was largely controlled by organized gangsters." "Smuggling of liquor took place all along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts." "Many Canadian distilleries had their beginnings with immigrant families with a background in the grain business, a grist and flour milling operation with distilling as a subsidiary enterprise that eventually swallowed up all other interests." "Yechiel and Minnie Bronfman, with their three children, had fled their native Bessarabia during the pogroms and emigrated to Western Canada." "...the building, in LaSalle, Quebec, of a distillery that became one of the world's largest." "Seagram's had been established in 1857; its roots were deep in the prosperous Ontario countryside and its reputation first-class in every respect." "The distillers made most of their sales to the bootlegger and smuggling trade." "Many of these [boats seized by the United States Coast Guard] were well-known in St. Pierre and Miquelon." "With the eventual tightening of inspections and plugging of loopholes, it became increasingly difficult for liquor to enter the United States." "...during the Depression years, many were tempted to earn a livelihood in the rum-running vessels." "Huge quantities were being handled from the island." "...the gangster element ...had seized control of the liquor distribution system in the U.S." "The first half of the 1920s were the halcyon days of the liquor business in St. Pierre." "Enforcement of the laws of both Canada and the United States was lax..." "The Great Depression was steadily worsening, and the distilling industry was one of the few flourishing segments of the economy." "The total take from excise tax on liquor is said to have exceeded all collections from personal income taxes in a single year." "...sizable amounts of liquor distilled in Canada and exported to St. Pierre were finding their way back home ...evading customs and excise collectors..." "...fortunes were being made in the trade with St. Pierre by Canadian distilleries' sales organizations there and the profits were being laundered through complex financial dealings involving the Canadian Bank of Commerce branch on the island." "From the vessel a few yards off shore, a flexible hose led to the service stations's underground tanks and the cargo was safely transferred, a ruse that continued successfully until the end of Prohibition." "...in Canada and especially the United States [Repeal] ...was a relief, even a blessing. In St. Pierre, the future appeared cheerless." "Harry Bronfman had been tried in Saskatchewan for his activities in the prairie provinces.." "Late in 1934, charges were laid against the four Bronfmans and Barney Aaron, their brother-in-law, plus sixty-five others alleged to have maneuvered the government out of tax revenues." "By the time the Second World War started in 1939, rum-running operations from St. Pierre to the rest of the Maritimes and Quebec came to an end." "Only Newfoundland fishermen persisted, in their small dories." "Newfoundland joined Canada on March 31, 1949." "The presence of the RCMP resulted in a common gripe on the peninsula that the good old days were gone." "Back in the old days, if you made it to your house, you were safe, but not so today in these times of warrants and summonses. This was the hard reality of Newfoundland being Canada's tenth province." "The smuggling of spirits from St. Pierre to Newfoundland was considered something of a national pastime." "Smuggling activities continued at the same pace throughout the rest of the 1960s, with the dories running back and forth from St. Pierre to the Burin Peninsula, and from Miquelon to the rest of the southwest coast." "A police spokesman commented that in the same way Newfoundlanders had also traditionally considered poaching of wildlife a natural right, they also considered smuggling liquor a God-given right." "For the first time ever, in September 1993, there was violence between rum-runners and the RCMP." "...while a search warrant was being prepared, a crowd of about 100 St. Lawrence residents surrounded the two RCMP officers and assaulted them." "...it was revealed by police that they had begun to act on new federal laws that allowed for the seizure of any proceeds from crime." "Moratoriums and quota cuts had left idle hundreds of fishermen on the Burin Peninsula." "A few days before Christmas, RCMP from St. Lawrence, along with members of the Burin Customs and Excise Section assisted by a police dog, were conducting searches for contraband goods in several private homes and a wooded area near the community of Lord's Cove. The officers had seized several cases of tobacco and liquor when a large crowd gathered around the police vehicles. Tires were slashed on two vehicles and a rear window was smashed. ... This was the second such incident in a year when encounters with the police had come close to erupting into a riot." "The [seized] property would become a ward of the state until the matter was heard in court." "The police investigation had begun a year and a half previously and involved the use of wiretap procedures." "The investigation included desk audits field audits, and the introduction of new scientific equipment that could readily identify the properties of alcoholic beverages. This meant that they now had the means to identify an alcoholic beverage that had been transferred from an illegal bottle to a legal bottle." "Stiffer fines and penalties arising from the introduction of proceeds-of-crime legislation, in liquor and tobacco smuggling cases also had a major impact on bringing a definite end to these operations." Unfortunately, smuggling of contraband continues on Newfoundland - and elsewhere in Canada as well https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.c... . The problem of smuggling of contraband between Canada and the US doesn't make the news as much as drugs flowing into the US from Mexico. Doesn't Trump pick on Mexico especially out of racism.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ian Sandham

    Comprehensive! Enjoyed the early Prohibition-related histories very much! Wonderful perspective from outside the US on the suppliers of illegal alcohol to the US.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Cranford

    "Rumrunners is full of relevant pictures, bringing the stories to life, creating a realistic understanding of what actually happened." -- Current "[Rumrunners] takes what is largely Newfoundland kitchen lore about beating the revenuers (pardon the American slang) and turns it into a readable account of liquor smuggling off the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon and on the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland." -- The Northern Mariner "Rumrunners is a book that lives up to that promise — it out "Rumrunners is full of relevant pictures, bringing the stories to life, creating a realistic understanding of what actually happened." -- Current "[Rumrunners] takes what is largely Newfoundland kitchen lore about beating the revenuers (pardon the American slang) and turns it into a readable account of liquor smuggling off the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon and on the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland." -- The Northern Mariner "Rumrunners is a book that lives up to that promise — it outlines the hoaxes and subterfuges used to outwit law enforcement on both land and sea, and it is full of wonderful photographs of everything from a house built of Cutty Sark boxes to Al Capone's hat on display at the Hotel Robert." -- The Telegram

  4. 5 out of 5

    Val

    My book for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (a French territory off the coast of Canada) is a history of smuggling in the area. It neither demonises or glamourises the smuggling, but presents it as a fact, a way of making a living for people dependent on the sea when fishing was in decline as well as an easy profit for traders with few scruples. The text is dry and factual, but includes a lot of interesting snippets of information (like the story of Bill 'the real' McCoy) and a lot of old photographs. My book for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (a French territory off the coast of Canada) is a history of smuggling in the area. It neither demonises or glamourises the smuggling, but presents it as a fact, a way of making a living for people dependent on the sea when fishing was in decline as well as an easy profit for traders with few scruples. The text is dry and factual, but includes a lot of interesting snippets of information (like the story of Bill 'the real' McCoy) and a lot of old photographs.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dave Blair

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jonhutchings

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Flanker

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Hicks

  10. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  11. 4 out of 5

    Teal

  12. 4 out of 5

    Renee Lawrence

  13. 4 out of 5

    Richard Doucet

  14. 5 out of 5

    C

  15. 4 out of 5

    James

  16. 5 out of 5

    Annie Daylon

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Johnson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Finn

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sean Munro

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Shore

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tamar

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Renée

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Kiper

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

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