Opened in 1851, the massive Provincial Lunatic Asylum stood watch over – what is now the West Queen West Arts District. At the time, 1001 Queen West was the largest non-military building in the country.
A wall was commissioned to keep the inhabitants in, and the curious out. Eventually the entire 50-acre site was surrounded by high walls, many of which were constructed by the patients themselves. Unpaid labour was central to the operation of Ontario asylums in the 19th and 20th century. It was considered good therapy and saved the government money.
A couple of sections remain – the south wall, built in 1860; and the east wall in 1888-89. They’re both City of Toronto Heritage sites. It’s not exactly a tourist attraction, but these walls played a significant part in TORONTO’s history and the treatment of mental health in Canada.