Ontario in the 1920s was a time of prohibition – the sale of alcohol was illegal. The Ontario Temperance Act came into effect in 1916, but people could still import their drinks from other provinces. That loophole was closed through a referendum, held on April 18th, 1921. Ontarians voted to strengthen the Temperance Act, and no alcohol imports were allowed. But, that doesn’t mean everyone was happy with these measures.

The Temperance movement held meetings in Pickering Township beginning in the 1880s, and continued to protest the bootlegging and illegal sales throughout the ‘20s. There were many charges lad and many trials over the sale, possession, and importing of prohibited alcohol. In fact, Frenchman’s Bay was a hot spot for activity, and one of the many trials for those caught bootlegging was held on June 15, 1923.

Which side would you be on – the rum runners or prohibitionists? Relive the adventure yourself at one of the featured 1920s experiences.

Pickering Museum Village offers a 1920’s Escape Room that challenges groups to uncover the whisky runners and find the moonshine before times runs out. The museum also offers a Tea & Talk at the end of the month, all about Pickering’s Roaring ‘20s, and two 1920s-themed walking tours.

There’s more happening in Durham: visit the Canadian Automotive Museum and Parkwood Estate National Historic Site for their 1920s activities. Both are joining with the Pickering Museum Village to offer 1920’s-themed and COVID-safe tours. The Canadian Automotive Museum tour looks at 1920’s automobiles and Oshawa’s automotive history, and Parkwood Estate offers their Auto Barons tour inside the estate built during Ontario’s Prohibition years.

Discover the War on Whisky programs, tours, and purchase your tickets here. Plan to visit one of the participating local craft breweries, and make this a day trip.

About the Author

Bryen writes about local Durham community news, including regional events, municipality updates, entertainment, lifestyle, and the great outdoors. Email him directly if you want your business profiled or know a community member that deserves recognition - bryen@thelocalbizmagazine.com