Ever wonder what goes down behind the bars of a maximum-security prison?
It's okay to admit it, guys: everyone's been morbidly curious at least once in their lives about the inner-workings of a prison. That's why Orange Is The New Black is so popular. (Also because Ruby Rose is all the goals, but anyway).
And if you've ever found yourself wondering on more than one occasion about all the riots, break-outs, and general behind-the-scenes adventures that go down in a maximum security prison, then have I got some news for you.
Kingston Penitentiary has been open for over 180 years, and has a long history of famous inmates, riots, and escapes (... and even a break-in or two).
It shut down in 2013, and until then, the inner operations were kept secret from the public.
So for almost two centuries, you had two ways to uncover the mysteries of Canada's most famous jail: either work there, or commit a crime and end up there. Which, let's be real, does not sound like a good plan. Do not recommend.
Now, though, Kingston Penitentiary is finally down to unveil nearly 200 years of secrets to the public. And if you think discovering all there is to know about this National Historic Site sounds like the most interesting thing you could check out all summer... well, you'd be 100% right.
Kingston Penitentiary's 180 year history is actually full of drama. First of all, the pen housed some of Canada's most famous criminals, like Grace Marks (who was the in real life muse for Margaret Atwood's novel, Alias Grace), and Ty Conn (who broke out of the prison in 1999, the first person to successfully do so in 50 years).
Sidenote: as part of the Kingston Penitentiary tour, you'll actually get to visit real cells - all remodeled to look and feel exactly like what they did when they housed inmates.
Starting this year, the tours also include stop offs at other spots that used to be restricted to the public, like the Regional Treatment Centre's gym, which includes a huge mural dedicated to the pen's staff and inmates. So if you want an authentic Kingston Pen experience, you picked the right year to go.
The Kingston Penitentiary tour also got some pretty juicy stories to share, too. I mean, a lot can go down in almost two centuries!
Like in 1971, when a massive four-day riot broke out. Six guards were held hostage and two inmates died... and all of this was started by inmate Brian Knight, who (in the most dramatic move of the decade) was writing a book and needed a riot for some inspiration. So extra.
Of course, there are tons more secrets to discover behind those 180 year old walls - but what fun is it if you know everything upfront?
The Kingston Penitentiary offers tours every single day until September 10. From September 12 - October 29, the tours go down Tuesday - Sunday.
Book your stay in Kingston and discover 180 years of mysteries at the Kingston Penitentiary by checking out Kingston's official website at www.visitkingston.ca. You can also take advantage of special KP packages here.
Steeped in history, yet always changing – Kingston is where culinary, culture and creatives meet. With more restaurants per capita than nearly any city in Canada, a vibrant arts scene, a passionate maker movement and creative festivals and attractions, Kingston is a city that never stops surprising. Plan your trip at visitkingston.ca