Friday, 27 September 2013

It's Easier to Get Out of Prison Than In....Kingston Penitentiary

Vacation coming up (did I mention that?), and guess what.....Kingston Penitentiary is offering tours from October 2 to October 20.  After 178 years, the doors will be closing for good and this is the last chance to see the inside....from the outside so to speak. 

Wow!  I would love to see Kingston Pen!  How cool would that be?!  Unless invited by a jury, no one got to see the inside.... and even then it would just be a cell or two....and probably a longer visit than planned. This penitentiary housed some of the worst criminals in Canada (sounds a bit like an oxymoron EH - Canadian criminals)?!

Don't Get Excited......


So, all geared up for a trip to Kingston I go to buy the tickets online when I find out that the tours are SOLD OUT. Huh?  What kind of nuts want to visit a prison?  The whole shebang was sold out in half an hour!  9,000 tickets in all!  Imagine that!  There's even a bidding war going on!

Photo taken 1919, from Library and Archives, Canada

Originally constructed in 1833–1834, and officially opened on June 1, 1835 as the "Provincial Penitentiary of the Province of Upper Canada," it is one of the oldest prisons in continuous use in the world.(Wikipedia)

Handout Photo 1890.  Queen's University Archives

The proceeds from the tours are going to the United Way which is really why I want to go.  You know me....anything for a good cause. 

I had no problem getting into the Conciergerie in Paris.  (Marie Antoinette had a really small cell for a Queen)!  No problem getting into the Tower of London (which we really associate with fabulous jewels, not slop and tin mugs).   But try to get into Kingston Pen.....well, good luck! 

Kingston Penitentiary Tours - The United Way

In Pictures, The Kingston Penitentiary- Globe and Mail


  1. I totally would of loved to take a tour of an old prison like that. I am surprised though that the tickets sold so quickly. If that many people are willing to spend cash to see it they really should do a second tour. Two times the money is better than one.

    There is something to the mystique of both the kind of people that go to prison and what prison life is like. Every time I drive my Leavenworth Penitentiary, here I wonder about what goes on in there. I would love to get a chance to see what it looks like on the inside. Not as a jail occupant, you understand but just as a visitor.

  2. Irene Paul9/29/2013

    Sorry you didn't get to do the tour :( Sounds like it was literally a once in a lifetime thing).

  3. I would have loved to get in! Hopefully they'll add more dates. Who knew?

  4. Leavenworth! Now that's a name we all know. No tours? No souvenir shop? I guess it's sort of a "dark" tourist thing, but it's all very interesting.

  5. No tours, (sadly the prisoners there probably don't feel the need to be displayed). There's no way to get very close to any of the 3 prisons in Leavenworth. While the main prison can be seen from the street that's as close as anyone can get unless they have business there. The main prison is now medium security inmates while the only maximum security military prison in the U.S. is on the base of Fort Leavenworth. I know some of the people that work there but I have never driven onto the base.
    As far as getting into any of the 3 prisons, the going joke here is...It's easy enough to get in but it's a real bitch getting out.