“It was a great tour. I’ve been to Alcatraz and that’s just as good as the Alcatraz tour.”
“It was pretty fun. Very interesting–some of the guides and the correctional officers gave.”
“They told us about some of the escape attempts and the escapes and it was really interesting to think about things I’ve never thought of before. It was kind of genius.”
Officials with the St. Lawrence Parks Commission say the revamped tours aim to bring the stories of the prison to life–so they’ve added extra features this year.
Vinny Rebelo/ Manager, Kingston Pen Tours
“You look behind me and you see one of the cells that was here and you can see it’s been staged out with the fittings that were here. Last year if you were here all you saw was just an empty shell. You saw 3 concrete walls, there was no fixtures there was no furniture, there was nothing in the cell at all. So it was hard to visualize what it looked liked.”
Cells in G range have been restored to what they might have looked like when the prison was operational.
Puzzles, paints, blankets and personal items are just a few of the items added.
Rhodri Bassett/ Operations Coordinator
“I think changing stigma around inmates and getting to see how they actually live in a really humane way has been kind of a goal of mine and I think it’s really evident that people come in with certain ideas and they come out not only being educated about the history but the current environment of Correctional Services Canada.”
Also opened for the first time … the gymnasium attached to the Regional Treatment Centre and the newly restored Aboriginal Grounds.
Rhodri Bassett, Operations Coordinator
“We’re really making sure that this year is an enhanced version of last years tour.”
The laundry room and shower facility is a stop that’s been added to the already sold out premium tours…. adding more time behind the walls.
And while tickets have sold out for the extended tours–the number of standard tour tickets has increased from last year. Officials have also made a commitment to keep a certain number of tickets available at the door for same day tour requests.
-Jonna Semple, CKWS News–Kingston