Douglas & McIntyre
Closing Time

Book details:

September 2014
ISBN 978-1-77162-037-6
8 1/2" x 9"
192 pages
180 colour photographs
$39.95 CAD


  • Vancouver 2014 Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence
  • Third Prize in the prestigious Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada

Douglas & McIntyre

Closing Time

Prohibition, Rum-Runners, and Border Wars

Third Prize in the prestigious Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada in the prose non-fiction illustrated category.

Canadians have long associated Prohibition with the colourful history of the Jazz Age in the United States. But even before the American ban that was in place from 1920 to 1933, Canada initiated its own Prohibition during World War I. The so-called Cold Water Army was led by zealots and prudes preaching hellfire and damnation, but also by committed social reformers who recognized the ill effect excessive drinking was having on family and social life in Canada. In March 1918, the federal government banned the manufacture and importation of liquor, making it illegal to have a drink anywhere in the country. For the next twenty-one months, Canada was as dry as any law could make it, which admittedly was not very dry.

Closing Time: Prohibition, Rum-Runners, and Border Wars tells the story of this fascinating attempt by both provincial and federal governments to control the social habits of Canadians. It began as a popular crusade that was supposed to cleanse society of a widespread evil, but instead became an opportunity for larceny, profit and violence on a grand scale. This was the age of liquor smugglers and rum-runners: gangsters like Hamilton’s Rocco Perri, bootleggers like Alberta’s Emilio Picariello and border runners like the young Bronfman brothers.

Employing a variety of anecdotes and illustrations, Closing Time conjures the legal and historical context of Prohibition, presenting well-rendered figures and impressive research. Comparing the past with our present-day prohibition of certain recreational drugs, Francis explores the limits of laws that forbid these indulgences—a topic that is equally as relevant today as in the past.

About the Author

Daniel  Francis

Daniel Francis

Daniel Francis was born in Vancouver but worked for several years as a journalist, editor and researcher in Ottawa and Montreal before returning to live ...

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News & Events for Closing Time

  • Daniel Francis receives the Governor General's History Award for Popular Media Read more >>
  • Closing Time wins third place at the Alcuin Awards Read more >>
  • Daniel Francis Wins the 2014 Mayor's Arts Award for Literary Excellence Read more >>