This Abandoned Ontario Jail and Detention Centre was originally built in the early 1960’s as a provincial mental health facility. In the mid 70’s it was changed to a facility for the Developmentally Handicapped, which closed in 1983. Two years after this closure the facility was given a multi-million dollar facelift to serve as a youth-only secure custody and detention centre.
The facility served the Community Safety and Correctional Services until early in 2012 when the facility was closed suddenly with no reason given or timeline for staff, it just closed down leaving over 200 people out of a job.
Research shows that at one point there were hundreds of inmates housed at the centre, but at the time of its closure it was operating at only 26 per cent capacity.
Through the 60’s and 70’s when the facility was a mental health facility at its peak he Psychiatric Hospital had approximately 300 employees. The patients were sent to institutions in larger centres and many eventually released as the Canadian government moved away from psychiatric hospitals, former staff stated that quite a few of the patients probably ended up on the streets without their medication.
Former staff have described the Psychiatric Hospital as one of the most progressive in the province, the superintendent of the hospital had even implemented the practice of keeping the doors of the hospital unlocked and allowing residents of the town to visit. This was done to try and dispel some of the stigmas about mental health.
The superintendent also established a number of employment programs, as known as “industrial therapy” to allow patients to earn somewhat of an income, learn skills and feel a sense of accomplishment.
The hospital was known for its wide variety of services, including wards for children, mothers suffering from post-partum depression and alcoholics.
From 2012 through to 2017 the Abandoned Ontario Jail and Detention Centre sat empty, power still running, heaters on, water still running and lights on, then in 2017 the military started using the facility for training purposes. As of December 2018 the military has used the facility for training three times, blowing holes in every possible wall and blowing doors off of every frame. I think it’s safe to sat that any possible re-use of this building is now impossible given the amount of damage done here by the military.
Now, the former psychiatric hospital and jail sits an empty shell of what used to be there, the basement is entirely flooded and water continues to rise above the ceiling of the basement, wooden boards cover the holes in the walls and the floors are riddled with training bullets and debris, and now a playground for Urban Explorers