The Toronto Jail, known under the nickname "Don Jail", is in our city landscape since 1865. The site was already dedicated to this purpose since 1858, with the construction of another building there for offenders. Designed by architect William Thomas in 1852, this "modern jail" for its time has a distinctive façade in the Italianate style with a pedimented central pavilion and vermiculated columns flanking the main entrance portico. This gem is one of the architectural treasures of the city and one of very few pre-Confederation (1867) structures that remains intact in Toronto...
Well... intact for now...
After the jail closed in 1977, the building never got the care it should have got. It was used for many movies and TV shows, but beside that, not much happen in these walls since.
The bad news is that Bridgepoint is about to take over a massive project: integrating the old jail into their medical facilities. This means new buildings are planned for the surroundings of the jail AND the jail itself will be part of the grand picture.
The plan? Administrative offices and research centre.
So good bye old original cells and other architectural features?
Well... some of it they will keep. The exterior will remain untouched (restauration perhaps would occur?), the rotunda will be restored to its former glory, and several of the prison cells will be kept as museum displays. But who will see that?
Cause let's be honest here! If the place will turn into an office building - do they really think it will become a public space? What about making it a cultural centre, or even better - A CITY MUSEUM! Instead of the City Hall, the people planning the City Museum could have shown interest in this beauty...
More offices - THAT'S what we need in one of our great historical public building.