Moose Jaw attraction brings gangster past to life

A new tourist attraction that highlights Moose Jaw's seedy past and links it to America's most notorious gangster has just opened.

In the past eight months, an old building that used to house the Moose Jaw Club was renovated to look like a hideaway for Al Capone.

It's rumoured Capone would flee to this Saskatchewan city, on the Soo Rail line to escape the police in Chicago. When he got there he would lie low underground in fact.

Beneath Moose Jaw's downtown lies a network of tunnels. No one knows how many and only a few have been uncovered.

A developer has spent millions of dollars digging out known tunnels and finding new ones. The tours of the tunnels are expected to be a major tourist attraction.

Moon Mullin, 90, knows all about those days. When he was 11, he crawled through the tunnels delivering messages from a corrupt police chief to the underground gamblers and bootleggers. He also swears he met Capone's right hand man.

"He always carried a gun under his right arm and nobody ever crossed him," said Mullin.

"Al Capone was a great crook. And in the days of Chicago he was the number one most wanted crook in all America. Now he's kind of a folk hero in the city of Moose Jaw," says mayor Ray Boughen.

Not everyone's convinced Capone was here though, including Kirsten Deane, the curator of the Little Tunnels of Moose Jaw.

"What we find isn't quite as important as some of the stories we have. It's just nice that we have these local legends live on, even though they don't have the history behind them," she says.

She and others are hoping sometime, maybe during yet another excavation, the truth will be uncovered.