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Tango Along the Canadian-American Border: the 1920s

Published on: 7 May 2019

LUNCHTIME Lecture Series

Presentation by DR. JOHN WILLIS
Curator, Economic History

Bilingual presentation
CMH Resource Centre
Tuesday, May 14, from 12 to 1 p.m.

The 1920s was a watershed in Can-Am border history. Automobile transportation turned border crossings into busy places frequented by tourists and migrants. American Prohibition (1920-1933) created for our economy a business opportunity of unprecedented proportions. Smuggling of alcohol into the U.S. was widespread across Canada. Our presentation will focus on patterns of cross-border interaction mainly but not only in southern Québec during the 1920s.

Our perspective will highlight the perspective of Canadian and U.S. customs officials who were hard-pressed to keep the peace along the border. These were challenging times for our Customs and Excise service, indeed for Canada as a whole, for we were then and still are learning how to dance with this most difficult of partner.

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