2. Kingston Penitentiary

The second of two decommissioned prisons I will visit in Ontario, Kingston Penitentiary is the oldest prison in Canada. Formerly a maximum security prison, this institution closed it’s doors in 2016. When it opened in 1835, it housed offending men, women, and children until 1935 when a separate facility was constructed for women nearby (the Kingston Women’s Prison).

When organizing this trip to Canada, I had been in contact with Erik Gaudreault, Senior Project Officer, Intergovernmental Relations who helped me to schedule each institutional tour. Erik put me in contact with the curator of the CSC Museum who graciously offered to give me a private tour of Kingston Penitentiary before it opened to the public for tours in the summer months. Yomna Anani and Maria Cinquino from the CSC were also available to join on this tour and I believe we all learned a great deal from this behind the scenes exposure to the history of Kingston Penitentiary.

In the attic of the prison, we could see how the cells were configured prior to a renovation which widened them from 27″ wide to double that in size.

The institution’s workshop is a highlight of the prison tour boasting a grand staircase, skylight, and intricate stonework.

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