SEPTEMBER 19, 2015 TO FEBRUARY 14, 2016
Emilio Picariello was an adventurous and hard-working family man whose ambitions led him to challenge the law of the land for profit. On the other hand, he was well known in the community for helping the less well off. His contravening of the Prohibition Act, and consequent violence, led authorities to realize that criminalizing the use of liquor was not in the best interest of society. In addition, it confirmed the need for provincial governments to address the regulation of the sale and use of liquor. The story is unquestionably associated with the history of Fernie and the Crowsnest Pass, and has generated media attention not only in the past but also today. It has been immortalized in the opera Filumena (librettist John Murrell and composer John Estacio) that has been performed not only in British Columbia and Alberta but also nationally.
The Emilio Picariello story is a significant one not only because it provides insight into the immigration history of Fernie but also because it allows for the exploration of the impact of Prohibition on individuals and the community as a whole. It also provides insight into ethnic tensions, law and order and justice themes.