Built for 562 inmates, this ugly brick and concrete box on the edge of Riverdale (opened in 1958) often held more than 650 men – sometimes three to a cell. The Don Jail Annex is about to be demolished.
Nicholas Hune-Brown in TORONTO LIFE magazine: “The (Don Jail) is a cement box, the floor, walls and steel bars all painted a neutral white caked with grime. It’s noisy, each of the units filled with the sounds of men shouting, banging the bars and arguing; wall-mounted TVs blare different channels. With hundreds of men living in cramped quarters, many of them taken directly off the streets, the smell is intense. Drugs move freely through the Don, though correctional officers say that the odd whiff of pot is a welcome respite from the stink of urine, vomit and sweat. The Don’s guards have one of the highest sick rates of any correctional officers in the province, not just because of the unhealthy conditions, but also because they hate going to work.” <PHOTO BELOW – Boris Spremo/Canadian Press>