Monday, August 3, 2015

Future POIs - Penitentiary Museum [Kingston, Ontario, Canada]

Located in Kingston, Ontario is the Penitentiary Museum which is the birthplace of the Correctional Service of Canada and has more than 25,000 visitors a year and supported by donations.

Penitentiary Museum
In 1870, first Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald, authorized the construction of the official Warden's residence.  On August 28, 1873, Warden John Creighton and his 5 children became the first family to live in the house.  Prior to this, the warden and their families actually lived in apartments within the walls of the penitentiary itself!  It took about 3 years to build at the cost of approximately $9,000 using inmate labour.  Originally it has a greenhouse, vinery, conservatory and a coach house, but all of them were removed when it was converted into a museum.

If you come by during the summer months, the museum is staffed by retired Officer Volunteers who have first-hand experiences dating back all the way to 1960.

Kingston itself had 10 penitentiaries at its peak and Kingston Penitentiary itself was opened in 1835.  While it is called the Penitentiary Museum, you don't actually have access to the penitentiary itself.  The Kingston Penitentiary was the first penitentiary in Canada and its location is because of the proximity to Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.

I think most people know that if you get a 2 year less a day sentence, you go to jail and 2 years or more you go to a penitentiary (or prison in USA), but did you know that they actually served two purposes in the past?  The goal of penitentiaries were originally for punishment and rehabilitation whereas jails were just for punishment.  Nowadays, jails also provide rehabilitation.  Also, jails are provincial and penitentiaries are federal in Canada.

Come back next Monday for another Future Point of Interest!