Daily Archives: October 27, 2016


#ThrowbackThursday: Carleton County Jail 2

In honour of Halloween, we thought it appropriate to look back at one of the most popular sites on Ottawa’s Haunted Walks: the Carleton County Jail on Nicholas Street.

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Credit: Wilson, N.D. / Library and Archives Canada / PA-044698

The maximum security Nicholas Street Gaol was opened in 1862 as one of the area’s earliest prisons, intending to be a new model jail for prison reform and rehabilitation of prisoners. It fell far short of this however, instead becoming a site of a variety of inhumane and unsanitary conditions (Sound familiar?). In 1869 it played host to the public execution of Patrick James Whelan, by hanging, for the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee.

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Female Prisoners outside of their cells. Credit: Topley Studio / Library and Archives Canada / PA-027437

The jail was closed in 1972 and its prisoners were transferred to the new Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. In 1973 it was re-purposed into a hostel. The building remains a heritage building under the City of Ottawa By-law 380-78.

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