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.
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.
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.
- Canada’s Historical Places: Carleton County Gaol
- From the Carleton County Gaol to the HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel