Join the ghosts of Prohibition-era smugglers and learn of the struggles of early Chinese immigrants in the old tunnels beneath town. Initially built as utility corridors for the engineers that tended the city’s steam-powered heating systems, the passageways are now home to the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, an attraction that uses actors, multimedia and animatronics to fuse entertainment with education. The Chicago Connection tour will have you rum-running with gangsters trying to stay one step ahead of the police. The Passage to Fortune, meanwhile, tells the story of the Chinese who first came to Moose Jaw in the late 1800s, but were soon forced underground by local prejudice. Adults can see both tours (50 minutes each) for $25 or one for $15; child and senior rates are available. Only 16 visitors are admitted per tour, so book ahead.
The Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village Museum gives you a great taste of what Prairie life was like in the early 20th century. Located just south of Moose Jaw, the museum is named for Tom Sukanen, a Finnish immigrant who for six years in the 1930s laboured to build the Sontiainen, a ship that he planned to sail back to his homeland. Sukanen died before completing the vessel, but the story of his efforts is legendary, and fascinating to kids and adults alike. Along with the ship, there’s a pioneer village, the boyhood home of former prime minister John Diefenbaker and much more. Try to time your visit for the annual Threshing Bee Parade (Sept. 7 and 8 this year), when sparks fly at the blacksmith shop and old harvesting equipment chugs to life. The museum is open daily until Sept. 15. Prices range from free for children aged five and under to $6 for adults.
If the fact that there’s a network of tunnels beneath Moose Jaw surprises you, wait until you discover what else the ground under the city holds. Almost 1,400 metres down is an ancient seabed, from which the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa draws water for its therapeutic geothermal mineral-water pool, the largest of its kind in Canada. The 45 C water is pumped year-round through an insulated pipe to the spa’s rooftop pool. The spa’s hotel guests can soak for free; visitors pay $8 (Sunday to Thursday) or $15.50 (Friday, Saturday and holidays) for an adult day pass.