Canada's Smallest Jail

11 Water Street

It is located at 11 North Water Street beside Thompson's Marina. The building was constructed by Albert Ryckman in 1884 using limestone from the local quarry. It still has the original iron bars and two foot thick walls. The structure measures 15 feet by 19 feet. Originally, the jail contained two cells as well as the Sheriff's desk. Wooden doors, each with a barred window, led into the cells. You can still see the doors on display in the jail today. A small wood stove was used for heating. the original brick chimney can still be seen on the roof. Although some repairs have been made, the general building remains the same.

At the turn of the century, the jail was occupied many times by local lumberjacks after weekend binges. Local legend tells of a man named Lee who was locked up one night by the constable, who then returned home. Upon the constable's return, Lee was found sitting beside the jail, with no physical damage to the door or lock. This legend, however can be attributed to the builder of the jail, Albert Ryckman, who left several bricks in place without mortar with the foresight that should he be caught after a night at the Pattie House, he could simply escape unnoticed.

The New Horizons Club took over the use of the jail in 1974, the former jail has served as an outlet for senior citizens to sell crafts made during the winter months. During the summer, Ye Olde jail and Craft Shop is open Monday to Saturday from 11:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon. All of the individuals selling crafts in the former jail are volunteers and all sale proceeds benefit seniors.

This unique stone jail, the smallest in Canada, is an interesting and important part of our heritage. The Jail house has been well maintained for over 100 years and has been designated a "heritage" building to be preserved for future generations.

Be sure to check out this unique jail, if ever in the Coboconk area. Parking is free and there is no fee to explore the former jailhouse.

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