Daytripping to L’Orignal and Hawkesbury

Ottawa Citizen

What did you do?

I trekked to L’Orignal and Hawkesbury, along the Ottawa River about an hour east of the city.  Together the towns made for a full day of history, culture and, to my wife’s delight, shopping.

What history?

We started at L’Orignal’s Old Jail (1023 Queen St.), which opened in 1825 and is Canada’s second oldest hoosegow.  A 45-minute guided tour introduces you to prison life, including the recreation yard and gallows, and The Hole, used for solitary confinement of the intoxicated, suicidal and violent. You learn techniques to enhance guards’ safety, but also get a dispiriting sense of the life prisoners endured as recently as 1998, when the joint closed. Tiny cells left space for little more than a metal bed; meals were eaten with a spoon (forks and knives could be weapons); there was no privacy for shower or toilet, nor for conversations. And yet, says…

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