HISTORY: Rum Running from the French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon

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My Island relatives did this. Did yours? One way or the other you won’t want to miss: TV DOCUMENTARY EXPLORES ATLANTIC CANADA’S ROLE IN PROHIBITION

Halifax, Nova Scotia – February 7, 2012 – Adventure, danger, fast money. Sounds like the script for an action movie. But for rum runners in Atlantic Canada it was their job description.

 In the 1920s, the United States and Canada entered an era that would become infamous: Prohibition. While being voted dry was greeted with dismay by most Americans, for dozens of coastal communities in Atlantic Canada hard hit by a downturn in the fisheries and still recovering from World War I, it was a golden business opportunity.

Rum Running is a half hour documentary that reveals how law abiding citizens of Atlantic Canada were lured into the alcohol smuggling trade. The film depicts the high stakes role that Nova Scotia and the French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon played during the era. Every month rum runners from the Maritimes, would deliver up to 300,000 cases of alcohol – rum, whisky, wine, and other liquors – from St. Pierre to America’s notorious ‘Rum Row’ off the US northeast coast. This thriving trade injected much needed money into dozens of Maritime communities during tough economic times and made many individuals rich.

Rum Running is written and directed by Latonia Hartery and produced by Edward Peill from Halifax-based Tell Tale Productions Inc.

Most rum runners were every day men – good men. This film reveals the risks they undertook to survive the Great Depression” says Hartery. It also provides a look at some of the powerful and seedy characters they came in contact with, such as the American mobster, Al Capone.”

Remnants from the rum running era are still visible today in the names of restaurants, hotels, and streets in towns like Lunenburg. Houses built with money from rum running still stand as a testament to the overnight fortunes that were made. Even expressions uttered by rum runners, like “the Real McCoy” in reference to pure liquor, are still used today.

Rum Running will celebrate its world broadcast premiere on CBC Television’s Land & Sea on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 12 Noon. Following the broadcast, the documentary can be watched on the CBC TV website at:  www.cbc.ca/landandsea. Land & Sea is one of CBC’s longest running TV series and can be followed on Twitter: @cbclandandsea

Rum Running was produced in association with CBC TV with funding from Film NS, and Provincial and Federal tax credits.

Film preview http://youtu.be/zbclESshR6M

Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/270476169690052/


HISTORY: Rum Running from the French Islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon — 4 Comments

  1. Lots of stories are told concerning that era.True and false of course. Some people whose families have benefited from rum running don’t like too much remembering the dark side: the very bad guys who grabbed huge profits and what they did with them after 1933…But for the common bootlegger or rum runner, what was the rule? Very simple: No cure, no pay! That’s what happened to a fair number of them when seized by the cutters. Eventually my father came back home at the end of one campaign with his share of the “gold mine”: a pair of scissors…

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