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The Don Jail
Bridgepoint Health

A building that sends a chill down the spine of many in the Toronto area, the Don Jail is known to all. Notorious for poor conditions and overcrowding, the building itself is full of history, some of it morbid.

Location attributes for The Don Jail
Location   Toronto, Ontario
Built :: Closed   1865 :: N/A
Status   Active
Difficulty   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Security Risk   ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
AUE Rating   ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

The Don Jail, originally built as the Don Gaol, was the third jail to be built in Toronto (after the Toronto Central Prison and King Street Gaols). While the original Gaol building has been closed since 1977, the property still houses the Toronto Jail next door, for the time being. Plans are under way to close the Toronto Jail and replace it with a new facility in south Etobicoke.

The old Gaol building has just been reopened after extensive renovations, transforming it from a jail to administrative offices for Bridgepoint Health, who now occupy the site. Many of the old jail features, including narrow cells in one basement, have been retained to preserve the history of the building.

Also preserved is the room where the indoor gallows were housed. Originally a washroom converted for a more deadly purpose, the gallows were the site of the last execution in Canada before capital punishment was abolished in 1962. While the actual gallows are gone, the marks on the walls as well as the pit underneath the marks still indicate exactly what occurred there.

While I wish I had seen the building prior to it's renovation, I will take solace in the fact that I at least did get a chance to see the history of the building, at least that which was preserved in the restoration.

 
 
Doors Open Toronto 2013 - May 2013
   
 
 
 
 
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