Author Rick James presents an illustrated talk about rum-running on the West Coast in Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How starting at 7 pm, Tuesday, April 16th in the Courtenay and District Museum.

James will provide a new slant on the topic especially for this talk by focusing on the antics taking place off the coast of southern Vancouver Island as Canadian vessels delivered cargo to their thirsty US neighbours from 1920-1933.

Contrary to popular perception, rum-running along the Pacific coast wasn’t dominated by violent encounters like those portrayed in the movies. Instead, it was usually carried out in a relatively civilized manner, with an oh-so-Canadian politeness on the British Columbian side. Most operated within the law. But there were indeed shootouts, hijackings and even a particularly gruesome murder associated with the business. Using first-hand accounts of old-time rum-runners, extensive research using primary and secondary documentation, and the often-sensational newspaper coverage of the day, Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How sets out to explain what really went down along the West Coast during the American “Noble Experiment.”

Copies of Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How will be available for purchase ($32.95, Harbour Publishing) and signing after the talk. This book was shortlisted for UBC’s 2019 Basil Stuart-Stubbs Book Prize for an outstanding scholarly book on British Columbia.

Admission to the evening is $5 per Historical Society member; $6 non-members (plus GST). Advance tickets recommended.

The Courtenay and District Museum is located at 207 Fourth Street in downtown Courtenay. FMI or to purchase tickets over the phone: 250-334-0686 ext. 2.

Photo by Patrick Lawson


Rick James is a writer, maritime historian, photographer and field archaeologist. He is the author of Ghost Ships of Royston and co-authored Historic Shipwrecks of BC’s Central CoastHistoric Shipwrecks of the Sunshine Coast and The Comox Valley. Many people recognize him from his role in The Sea Hunters documentary Malahat: Queen of the Rum Runners, which aired on Canada’s History channel.

Catherine Siba

Curator Social History, Courtenay and District Museum