Capone's connection to Saskatchewan



Mickey Djuric

Documentary host Leon Willey, who is from Moose Jaw, speaks to a woman about her Al Capone connection in the documentary "Finding Al", which has its worldwide premier on CBC, Saturday at 7 p.m.
Legendary gangster documentary airs Saturday
A woman from Weyburn still remembers when Al Capone would visit her grandfather's farm.
Capone was doing business with her grandfather. There was a big party and everyone was shooting their shotguns. Every time her grandfather's "friends" would come over, she was told to stay indoors.
This is one of many stories that have been told to filmmaker Kelly-Anne Riess. For the past two years she has been documenting Al Capone's connection to Moose Jaw and Saskatchewan. And now the film, "Finding Al" is making its worldwide debut, tonight at 7 p.m. on CBC.
As the director and producer of the documentary, Riess travelled from the Friendly City to Chicago riding the same railway Capone would have taken in the 1920s if he was an actual bootlegger smuggling alcohol into America during prohibition.
"When I originally started filming I thought I'd be in Moose Jaw and spend my time only there. I didn't know there would be stories coming out of Weyburn, North Portal and Winnipeg," said Riess.
"There are all kinds of stories that haven't been touched upon."
Stories in the one-hour documentary range from a Moose Jaw woman who used to date Capone, to a police officer who gave the infamous gangster a "talking to" just outside of Watrous.
The director worked with a genealogist to prove the validity of claims and has spent countless hours going through archives and reading books. She even interviewed Capone's family.
"A lot of times there are truth to these stories," said Riess. "The thing is, nobody has ever looked beyond Moose Jaw before and now we have all these stories coming forward of Capone being all over Saskatchewan and there does seem to be some truth to them."
Now that the documentary is finished, Riess is convinced Capone often travelled to Saskatchewan.
"I think there was a good chance he was doing business with Saskatchewan people and he was here to check out business operations because there were some big name alcohol barons in Saskatchewan during that time. We've heard a lot of interesting stories and there are truth to them."
To learn more about Capone's Canadian connection to the province, tune into CBC at 7 p.m. It will also be available for online viewing after the initial premier.
Riess also plans on doing an extended version of the documentary to put more evidence. That version will be available for Moose Javians during a premier in the city later this year.

For more information go to www.findingaldocumentary.com.

Mickey Djuric can be reached at 306-691-1263 or on Twitter