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Archives | September 30, 2013: closure of Kingston Penitentiary

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On September 30, 2013, Kingston Penitentiary in Ontario closed its doors.


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On September 30, 2013, the oldest prison in the country, Kingston Penitentiary, closed its doors for good in Ontario. Back to the events.

It was in 2012 that the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced, for reasons of budgetary savings, the closure of the detention facility Leclerc in Laval and the Kingston Penitentiary.

These were permanently closed in 2013.

Report by journalist Philippe Leblanc on the closure of the Kingston penitentiary

On September 30, 2013, journalist Philippe Leblanc presented a report on the Kingston penitentiary on Téléjournal Ontario, hosted by Odette Gough.

Kingston Penitentiary opened its doors in 1835. In 2013, it was the oldest prison institution still operating in Canada.

Philippe Leblanc's report depicts the sinister atmosphere that reigns within its walls.

Kingston Penitentiary has housed some of Canada's worst criminals.

Among them, we can mention the rapist and serial killer Paul Bernardo.

A former prison guard describes Kingston Prison as “the worst place to never worked.”

A former inmate assures that several captives died in various ways in the establishment.

In April 1971, for example, two prisoners were murdered and several others were tortured by other fellow inmates during what was one of the most violent prison riots in Canada.

Host Bernard Derome summarizes the main events of the riot at Kingston Penitentiary in April 1971.

This episode in the history of Kingston Penitentiary is recounted in this excerpt from the programReview of the Year 1971au Canadabroadcast on December 31, 1971.

The revolt of 1971 led to reforms in the Canadian prison system in order to better take into consideration prisoners' complaints.

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Report by journalist Frédéric Pépin on the tourist visit to the Kingston penitentiary. Animation: Catherine Lafrance

On May 13, 2016, a report by journalist Frédéric Pépin presented to Téléjournal Ontariotells us that the Kingston penitentiary will have a new vocation.

The Correctional Service Canada, owner of the penitentiary, in collaboration with the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, has decided to open the doors of the penitentiary Kingston to tourists.

As soon as it closed, the authorities tried the experiment and discovered that there was great public interest in the ;exploring these places.

In 2023, the period during which one can explore the former maximum security prison ends on November 26.

This is most likely a visit that will leave a strong impression on tourists who enter what many call the Alcatraz of the north.

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