End of Road Closure Effecting the Penitentiary Museum

Please be advised! The construction work on Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard is closed between Union Street and King Street is now over. Our parking lot is now accessible to motor vehicles.


Soyez avisé ! Les travaux de construction du boulevard Sir John A. Macdonald, fermés entre la rue Union et la rue King, sont maintenant terminés. Notre stationnement est désormais accessible aux véhicules motorisés.

Happy Birthday, Cedarhedge!

For #cedarhedge150, a reflection by the Museum’s curator, Dave St. Onge:

It was one hundred and fifty years ago today that Warden John Creighton moved into the recently completed Warden’s residence, along with his young family and his elderly father. This marked the commencement of 150 years of experience in what came to be known as “Cedarhedge”. The long hedges that gave it its name may be long gone, but the old place goes on.

This impressive limestone structure came complete with all of luxuries of the day. It had Greenhouse and Conservatory wings and a stable building attached. The grounds were filled with orchards, garden paths and green space for recreation. All this in stark contrast to the meagre accommodations across the street at the penitentiary.

For sixty years this building served as a home to a string of Wardens. Sixty years of birthdays and Christmases. Sixty years of happiness and sadness, pleasure and grief have been experienced within its walls. For another sixty, it served primarily as an administration building, housing the various offices that prisons require to operate. During the tail end of those years, our little museum moved into a portion of the building. Those were interesting times, as the daily goings on at the Warden’s office across the hall served as a “living exhibit” of sorts.

For 38 years now, this old place has been our home. Well over 640,000 people have crossed its threshold during that time. Our hope is that they have left with a better appreciation of what Corrections is all about. We hope, at the very least, that they have taken away new knowledge about the Correctional history of Kingston and of Canada.

As we pause and reflect upon all the people that this building has touched since 1873, from the inmates and tradesmen who built it, to the officials who lived and worked in it, to the vacationing families who have satisfied their curiosity by passing through its doors, we must admire its strength. Certainly, it’s not what it once was, but it is still going strong. One wonders if the masons and carpenters who toiled over its construction back in 1873 ever imagined that it would still be standing, and appreciated, 150 years on.

So today, let’s wish old Cedarhedge a Happy Birthday and wish it 150 more.

Art by Nicole Mulder. Edited by Lauren St. Onge.


The Museum is proud to highlight this article published in the Correctional Service of Canada’s ‘Let’s Talk Express.’ Written by Curator Dave St. Onge and researcher Cameron Willis, it’s a succinct history about the introduction of prisoner photographic identification – or mugshots – in Canadian federal prisons. It took a few years of research but it is exciting to see something published on such an interesting topic!

“Did you know that the standard procedure of taking mugshots in correctional institutions started in 1910?

Although this type of prisoner photo identification has been around since the 1840s, CSC has no such records prior to the early 20th century. Why is this the case? When did federal penitentiaries begin photographing offenders in Canada?

We’re going back to basics by bringing to light the story of how mugshots became part of CSC’s standard practice.”

Read the story and immerse yourself in CSC’S history: https://www.lte-ene.ca/…/introducing-mugshots-history…

Cedarhedge 150th Anniversary Puzzle!

A photo of the special museum postcard
New in stock for #cedarhedge150: a special postcard that allows visitors to construct their own Cedarhedge at home. Designed by one of our Museum volunteers, Bill James. He has written special instructions provided with every purchase of the postcard and online here: https://www.penitentiarymuseum.ca/…/cedarhedge-puzzle/
Nouveau en stock pour #cedarhedge150 : une carte postale spéciale qui permet aux visiteurs de construire leur propre Cedarhedge à la maison. Conçu par l’un de nos bénévoles du Musée, Bill James. Il a écrit des instructions, fournies avec chaque achat de la carte postale et en ligne ici : https://www.penitentiarymuseum.ca/…/cedarhedge-puzzle/

Cedarhedge150 Commemorative Postcards

New in stock at the Museum’s gift shop for #cedarhedge150: special commemorative postcards with historic and contemporary photos of the Museum! Help us celebrate the 150th anniversary of Cedarhedge, where the Museum and our unique collection of federal prison materials resides. Available while supplies last!


Nouveau en stock dans la boutique de cadeaux pour #cedarhedge150 : des cartes postales commémoratives spéciales avec des photos historiques et contemporaines du Musée! Aidez-nous à célébrer le 150e anniversaire de Cedarhedge, où se trouvent le Musée et notre collection unique de documents sur les prisons fédérales. Disponible jusqu’à épuisement des stocks !

Open for the Season! / Ouvert pour la saison

We’re open! Come visit and help celebrate #cedarhedge150 with us! Canada’s Penitentiary Museum is now open for the season. On this day in 1871, the excavation of the basement began, marking the beginning of the construction of the house that is now the Museum’s home.

Our hours are 9am to 4pm. We will be open seven days a week, Monday to Sunday. For more information, visit penitentiarymuseum.ca or phone 613-530-3122.


Nous sommes ouverts! Visiter et célébrer #cedarhedge150 avec nous! Le Musée pénitentiaire du Canada est maintenant ouvert pour la saison. Ce jour en 1871, c’est le débute de le creusement du sous-sol, marquant le début de la construction de la maison qui abrite aujourd’hui le Musée.

Nos horaires sont de 9h à 16h. Nous serons ouverts sept jours sur sept, du lundi au dimanche. Pour plus de renseignements, visitez penitentiarymuseum.ca ou téléphonez au 613-530-3122.