Ottawa trip – subway flood adventures & a haunted jail

Okay, so now I’m ready to tell the tale.

The Ottawa trip started with an adventure before my mum and I even got on the VIA train – namely, the flooding of the TTC section of Union Station. I was still at the office when I got word of the flood over Twitter (thanks to stage manager Kat, who RT’d a Toronto police bulletin). Soon there were more tweets, co-workers were giving me a heads-up and one had even been down there for lunch and strongly recommended that I call a cab and get the heck outta Dodge so I could meet up with my mum and get our train on time. After a half-hour wait and a $20 cab ride (from Yonge/Bloor down Church and then I had to walk from Yonge/Front due to construction), I found that the GO Train folks were spilling out onto Front. Hoping my mum was able to meet at the Cinnabon in the GO concourse, I made my way through the front entrance of VIA and wound down to the GO section. All was good and we had time to grab subs and coffee before heading to VIA departures.

Once in Ottawa, my aunt and uncle and cousin’s youngest daughter picked us up and dropped me at my friend Lesley’s – I’d be joining the family in Carp on Sunday night. Over pizza slices and wine, Les and I made a plan for Saturday: errands, stop by an art show in a park in the Glebe to see my friend, photographer Pamela Williams and go on a haunted walking tour.

And that’s what we did – we went out for cat food and stopped by a neat arts/crafts shop in their neighbourhood (west end), then got on the bus to the Glebe (a cool, artsy ‘hood) to say hi to Pamela, who takes amazing black and white photos of gorgeous cemetery sculpture: http://home.interlog.com/~romantic/  From there, we had an early dinner at The Works – sweet Jesus God, they make good burgers there – and there are locations in Toronto too!

The main event on Saturday was the Crime and Punishment Jail Tour, a haunted walking tour of the Carlton County Jail, which has been converted into a youth hostel called the Ottawa Jail Hostel – where the motto is “A great place to hang” (I know – spooky!) – with a portion kept as the original jail for historical preservation and tourism. Check out the hostel here: http://www.hihostels.ca/OntarioEast/en/index.aspx?sortcode=2.0 and take a look at Ottawa haunted tours here (if you go to the home page, there are also tours for Toronto and Kingston:  http://www.hauntedwalk.com/ottawatours.php

This was a jail until 1972 and the last execution (by hanging) was in 1946 – and the gallows still works! And I was surprised to learn that, in Canada, that’s the only method of execution we ever used. Check out what our friends at Wikipedia have to say: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottawa_Jail_Hostel

Here are some snaps I took while I was there. Don’t be scared. They’re just pictures. Back with more Ottawa adventures soon.

Carlton County Jail – cell block

Carlton County Jail – stairwell: light flare or …?

Carlton County Jail – gallows (it still works!)

Carlton County Jail – exercise yard: we found this guy hanging out

Carlton County Jail – exterior: Governor’s residence at the front with a mass grave under foot in the parking lot