Ever spent the night in jail?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

I’m hoping – as law abiding CD-Traveller readers – that your answer to the above is a resounding no, however that is exactly what I did when in Ottawa – the capital of Canada’s Ontario region – last month.

But panic not: I didn’t fall foul of ‘The Mounties’. Rather the hostel (Hostelling International Ottawa Jail) where I chose to lay my head was once a Carleton County Jail used to house petty offenders, mental patients and those on death row.

Guests can sleep in dorms in the old wrought iron cellblock, the prison hospital or even the governor’s quarters. The Ottawa Jail also offers a Crime and Punishment Walking Tour which takes in the closed off eight floor of the stone penitentiary, believed to be the most haunted building in town, and gives you the low-down on what life was like for the prisoners.

Of course if you would rather just hang out than have a history lesson (you are on holiday after all), you can do so downstairs over a drink at the Mugshots jail bar.

Once you’ve had enough of being incarcerated, take time to explore Ottawa itself – arguably Ontario’s most surprising destination. Small, friendly and good to look at, Ottawa impresses with its state of the art of museums, picture perfect Parliament,  UNESCO World Heritage listed Rideau Canal and buzzing Byward market (be sure to sample a beavertail or Obama cookie).

All told, both the hostel and the town itself are surprisingly attractive so if you’re heading to Ontario, do think about allocating some time in Ottawa.

Have you stayed somewhere unusual? Let us know by posting a comment below!


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