Exploring a Historic Abandoned Jail and Courthouse

Exploring a Historic Abandoned Jail and Courthouse

Exploring a Historic Abandoned Jail and Courthouse


This old abandoned jail and courthouse is found in a city of about 21,000 people. This is an original build courthouse and jail build in the mis 1800’s and has been vacant since about 2014.

The city took over ownership from the county in the 1960s, when the court moved to a new building. It has since been used as offices and artists’ studios, but now sits empty.

Research dates the jail to 1866 and the addition on the back of the courthouse to about 1875.

The pre-Confederation courthouse and jail, which were originally on two separate parcels of land, are zoned for institutional use.

Demolition is definitely an option for the back of the courthouse and the old jail, which has tiny cells, cinder-block and concrete furnishings and an Ontario Corrections seal on the wall.

The courthouse, however, has some designated heritage features, including the main courtroom with a Latin inscribed mural and a staircase

The jail was closed in 2011 in favour of a newer and much more modern institution not too far away

In 2015 a conditional sale was made to a buyer who had plans to convert the entire site, but that sale fell through.
As of today, the buildings are still empty and vacant and there is no sure plan or future for the site.


The Abandoned Courthouse Main Level

In 2014 the property was listed as provincial surplus and then in 2015 a local arts council set up shop in the courthouse side of the building, while for many more years the jail side sat totally sealed off and decaying more and more.


The Abandoned Courthouse


The Abandoned Jail

On the jail side of this abandoned jail, there were 3 floors of cells with 2 small ranges on each floor for 6 total ranges. Most were identical with the exception of one range that seemed to be used more than the others, it also had a bit bigger cells but not by much.