Behind Bars: Inside Ontario's Heritage Gaols

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Dundurn, 2006 - History - 144 pages
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Travel across Ontario and pay a visit to Ontario's nearly 50 heritage jails. Built before the modern era of the OPP, they range in size from single cell lockups to massive monuments such as the Kingston Pen and the Don Jail. Although Spartan inside, many are architectural wonders on the outside and have been declared heritage buildings. A few have been converted to museums and show the harsh conditions that convicts had to endure. Behind Bars also tells of the many hilarious escapes, gruesome hangings and unusual trials which made Ontario's old jails the centre of attention.

Highlights include ghost-town jails in Silver Islet and Berens River; torture devices on display at the Penitentiary Museum in Kingston, along with the "shower" and the coffin-sized "box"; the man who was executed but didn't die; mysterious escapes; the battle over Ontario's smallest jail; Woodstock's death mask; love stories gone wrong; Ontario's first terrorist attack; the worst mass murderer; and haunted jails.

"Noboby knows Ontario like Ron Brown."

- CBC Radio

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About the author (2006)

Ron Brown is a geographer and travel writer who has explored Ontario's many back roads and remote regions in search of the unusual. To encourage today's generation to celebrate their heritage, he has written best-selling books on ghost towns, back roads and vestiges of a vanishing railway era for over thirty years. His writing frequently appears in the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail and he is a regular guest on CBC Radio. A town planner by trade, Ron often travels as a tour guide and frequently gives presentations to groups interested in Ontario's heritage. Ron Brown is chair of The Writers' Union of Canada. He lives in Toronto with his wife and their two daughters.

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