<PHOTOS ABOVE – The Don’s yellow brick facade built-to-last in 1856; the Governor’s House, 1888, now Emily’s House>
THE DON is a heritage building with a very shady past, our city’s Alcatraz, site of 70 executions and numerous escape attempts, home-from-home in the 1950’s for the notorious Boyd Gang, miniscule cells, segregation cells, punishment cells, the Polka Dot Gang’s temporary residence – and now it’s been given one of Canada’s finest restorations and is open to the public for self-guided walk about tours.
<The entrance level Rotunda has become a sculpture gallery>
<Solid wooden benches offered visitors a view out the window>
<Lower level cells as they are now ABOVE; and BELOW as they were before the renovation>
<Punishment cells had just enough room for a cot>
<Behind this door is a segregation cell, slightly larger than a punishment cell. You can enter.>
<A video on The Don and its surroundings is continuously shown in this lower level gallery. All parts of the jail, outlying buildings and the park are clearly marked with historical plaques.>
It’s a kinder, gentler place now. You’re welcome to visit the old Don Jail from Monday to Friday, excluding holidays, from 9am to 5pm. Groups of 15 or more must arrange their visit in advance. Call 416-461-8252 and ask for the Communications Department.
If you’d like to stay for lunch, there’s a variety of good food available in the connected Bridgepoint Hospital. Nearby – Chinatown East to the east, and the Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation Area to the west. Streetcar #506 travels along Gerrard Street East to the Don.
<Father Time bids ‘welcome’ and ‘adieu’ from over the front door>