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My Dad the Rum Runner

Published Date: 02/06/ 2023

Available in

Library Binding



Between 1920 and 1933 Stuart Stone smuggled liquor from Vancouver to the west coast of the United States, mainly aboard the ship he captained, the Malahat, which was owned by the Reifel family. The five-masted schooner had a cargo of 60,000 cases in the hold and 40,000 cases on deck. She sailed south to Rum Row, off Hawai, to serve for six months at a time as a floating warehouse for the fast off-shore craft which ferried the booze into American ports. Often pursued and occasionally seized illegally in international waters by the US Coastguard, the Malahat was captained by a man who knew the shoreline and hiding places better than his pursuers. In his evasions he was kept informed of the whereabouts of the Coastguard by coded radio communications from his aunt, Captain Stone’s sister-in-law, transmitted to the Rum Row mother ships, supply ships and offshore boats from the hill high above Vancouver’s Jericho Beach, messages passing on the warnings of other sympathetic coastal vessels. Over a period of 60 years Stone’s son, Jim, pieced together his father’s secret life on the seas. My Dad, The Rum Runner is Jim’s memories of his father, combined with those of the people closest to Captain Stone during the Prohibition years, newspaper reports, and the ship’s log. (Most of the rum-running vessels carried two logs, one for ‘deep-sixing’ if the coast guard boarded). This story not only delves into the psyche of a young boy growing up with a mostly absent father, but also explores a relatively mysterious time in Canadian and American history.



  • Winner of the Kortum Award for original research in maritime history by the National Maritime Museum in San Francisco.
  • Black-and-white photographs of Stuart Stone, his family, shipmates and associates, as well as pictures of the Malahat carrying her ‘precious’ cargo.
  • Bibliography of the author’s sources.


“Stone’s [novel is ] colourful and racy, a… poignant account of an often-absent father.”
-Pauline Finch, The Chronicle


“Writing and self-publishing the story of his father’s exploits proved to be both a fascinating look into a thinly documented era and a cathartic experience.”
-Valerie Hill, The K-W Record

My Dad, The Rum Runner. 140 pp.
ISBN 0-9211075-26-X (library binding)ISBN 0-921075-25-1 (paper)
….$30 CDN

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