Minot, the Magic City

Finding Al host Leon Willey in Minot.
Photo by Thomas Bartlett
Minot, like Moose Jaw, became known as a “Little Chicago.”

Minot, also known as the Magic City, was a centre for Al Capone’s rum-running operations, linking the liquor supply in Canada with the demand in America.  

Many bootlegging tales focused on the roads around Minot.  

The highway between Minot and Saskatchewan was especially poor in the 1920s, but the border between the U.S. and Canada wasn’t as scrutinized as the borders out east in more densely populated areas.

It is said Minot might have also had tunnels too, used to keep illegal activity underground.

Minot, why not?

Did Al Capone visit Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan?

The "Finding Al" crew recently traveled to Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan to investigate a tip that Al Capone was in that area.

We heard stories that suggested it might have been possible. Manitou Beach was a popular tourist destination back in the 1920s. Thousands of people used to travel to Manitou for its healing waters and the world famous Danceland.
Manitou Beach, SK
Many people from Moose Jaw owned cottages in the area, including Moose Jaw's infamously corrupt police chief Walter P. Johnson who turned a blind eye to rum running and prostitution.

Rumour has it that Johnson provided refuge for gangsters on the lam, like Al Capone. Maybe he took Capone to visit his cottage at Manitou, which was a wild place during the 1920s. The woods around Manitou Beach area were spotted with rum running and illegal stills. Like Moose Jaw, it was quite the party town.

Inside Danceland
Photos by Thomas Bartlett
Manitou Beach was appealing to tourists because its waters have a specific gravity 10 per cent higher than regular water due to a greater concentration of dissolved salts and minerals. The added density greatly enhances buoyancy and make it impossible for people to sink - even when motionless. The minerals in the water are therapeutic in a variety of ways. Dependent upon mineral deficiencies, the body draws minerals right through the skin itself. Conversely, the water draws minerals within the body to the surface of the skin. This in combination with weightlessness relieve pressure from muscles and joints, cleanse and heal the skin, relieves stress and generally work in a holistic way to heal the body. 

This would have made Manitou Beach the perfect place for Johnson to take Capone. After all, a gangster, like Capone, would have been under a lot of pressure back then and would have needed a place to relax.