Explore the history of Prohibition and more during the Crowsnest Pass’s eleventh annual Doors Open and Heritage Festival, taking place over the August long weekend from July 27 to August 1. It’s a weekend packed with activities celebrating the rich history of the Crowsnest Pass area in southern Alberta.
This year’s theme is “Outlaws of Prohibition,” to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Prohibition.
You may be thinking…Prohibition…isn’t that the time in the 1920s when the Americans banned alcohol and hijinks ensued? Did you know that Prohibition was also law here in Alberta too? From 1916-1924, it was illegal to buy, sell, and consume alcoholic beverages in Alberta. It led to a cat and mouse game between rum runners and law enforcement turned deadly at times in the Crowsnest Pass, where dark and dramatic history lives on.
History of Crowsnest Pass and Frank Slide
During the festival, doors are opened to one-of-a-kind heritage buildings and experiences including several special events at the provincially-operated Frank Slide Interpretive Centre (FSIC). For those who have never visited FSIC before, the Centre is nestled amongst 90 million tonnes of rock that fell from Turtle Mountain in southern Alberta more than 100 years ago. The tragic rockslide happened in 1903 and killed nearly 100 people. Many were buried beneath the mountain under which they’d worked to dig coal.
Events to check out
There is much to do in the Pass during this eventful festival — programming includes activities such as hiking the sneaky rum runner route through Phillipps Pass and enjoying grizzly bear talks or participating in a geocache challenge, country market or a miners’ picnic
As for programming at FSIC specifically, check out the following events:
Mad Science Workshop at FSIC
- Saturday, July 30 —FSIC presents Mad Science Workshops to interest little scientists! See how much fun kids can have with potions, slime and fog.
- Sunday, July 31 — FSIC hosts “We Have Stories to Tell You” event. Our seasonal interpreters get a chance to strut their stuff with programs they’ve prepared for this summer. See the new and improved exhibit on Canada’s worst mine disaster.
- Monday, August 1 – FSIC will be showcasing a new comic, “The Shooting of Constable Lawson.” This comic highlights the true story of a sting operation in the Crowsnest Pass in 1922 set up to trap infamous rum runner Emilio Picariello, as he brought in a load of liquor from B.C. The operation resulted in the tragic death of Constable Stephen Lawson.
Where: Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, located 1.5 kilometres off Highway 3 in the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass and throughout the community of Crowsnest Pass
Need more info? Visit the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre website or call 403-562-7388 (dial 310-000 for toll-free access within Alberta). Click here for a complete listing of all of the long weekend events.