Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Preparing for Canada Day 150

July 1st will mark the 150 anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. I think we have done remarkably well as a tolerant, inclusive country, which is somehow keeping its wits about it as our southern neighbours are losing theirs.

Sue and I sort of got together at the 100th anniversary, and here we are 50 years later, still together and in a different place that we certainly never expected to live in.  Go figure.

There are various festoonings around town, including our own garden where we have various flags, including those seen here.

Here is another of ours, but I also wanted to make a comment in passing about the unpredictability or gardening.

We have some sage (salvia) plants in terrible ground beside the driveway and near the street, which do well enough in late spring and early summer. However, the most glorious one for the past few years (in the centre between the barrel and the petunias, in front of the low purple salvia behind, is barely existing this year. It was bigger and grander than the one off to the right in previous years. Whatever.

Downtown, some of the shops have made an effort to decorate their windows with a Canada theme.

A nice touch has been the painting of flags here and there in front of some buildings.


The original Moore House

The museum
There will be festivities this week, leading up the big day on the weekend.

Monday, June 26, 2017

I Ask Why and other Outtakes

I thought I would show a few outtakes, as it were, from that KP trip, which was only an hour and a half but which has since lasted for many many posts. 😊

We saw this piece of art near the end of our tour of the museum, but I want to feature it first here because it kind of choked me up at the time. Some people don't have much of a chance in life, and the poor guy who wrote this was one of them. I ask why is it a parent can't accept their child as it is.

Some brutal devices of punishment were featured, including whips, a whipping table and other devious devices. Brutal.

Stick him in stocks, put his head in a barrel, and drip water until he almost drowns.

Various whips and paddles, with one of the whipping posts off to the side.

Taking solitary confinement to new heights, or should I say depths. I would have lost my mind.

Prisons are brutal places. We saw all sorts of shivs (knives) and a homemade sort of crossbow made largely out of toothbrushes.

One fellow not at KP but in another facility in this province, hid himself in these trays in an escape attempt. Apparently he lost about 30lbs in an effort to squeeze himself into this tiny space.

And a few outtakes from the prison side, just to wrap up this long series.

There was an open room for visitation, but the more dangerous offenders could only have guests in this secure area.

A little bit of green and a flowering bush might provide some hope for the prisoners ... and guards. 

This is the women's facility. At first, they had a wing of the main jail, then this, and then a separate facility across the street.

Quite the graffiti in the exercise room for the psychiatric inmates who were kept apart from the main prison body.  The door led to the main prison yard, but these guys didn't go there.

I guess that's it for this series that kind of took an unexpected life of its own.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Warden's House

The Warden's House was built right across the street from KP (Kingston Pen) for a grand total of $8000 with slave convict labour. It is now a museum and was freely open on the day of our KP tour.

That's JJ in front, semi climbing once again.

Leading upstairs from the entrance

The warden's desk sits in the upstairs hall

The upstairs hall with my back to the desk

Heading back downstairs

Signing the guest book before departing

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Climbing and Posing

(back to our prison tour after yesterdays solstice break)

I am used to JJ climbing whenever the opportunity arises, so I missed all sorts of his escapades during the tour, particularly the one where the guide found him perched on the railing next to her as she was giving her little talk. Sue caught a picture just before that moment; he is beside the guide and will soon climb aboard, quite startling her.

Other than that he found various opportunities. Of course, you have already seen him on the top bunk in the cells (or I think you have), so I will show you two others.

As the tour progressed, Danica got into a posing mode. I can't tell you how many times she demanded that I snap her photo. Here are a few.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Solstice Peace Walk Around the Labyrinth

On solstice evening, the community had a peace walk around the labyrinth behind the museum.

It began with a lovely dance by Parvaneh Rowshan in a gorgeous costume from India.

Then, there was a native drummer and singer.

As the crowd made ready to walk the labyrinth, the Rhythm and Song Community Choir from nearby Almonte began to lead them with beautiful, haunting melodies.

And the people walked and meditated.

Sue took some video, and I have put 3 clips together. They show the drummer, the choir, and some walking around the labyrinth. Length: 53 seconds.

It was a lovely summer evening with the winds dying down and the sun coming out after a not so nice day. What a fine way to greet the summer.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Those Cells

By the time the prison was mothballed, the cells were twice as wide as they were originally. In the photo below, that block in mid-ceiling would have been the dividing line between two cells.

Even after fist enlarging the cells, there was double occupancy, so there really wasn't much more room per prisoner.

After the '71 riot, however, the cells were changed to single occupancy, and as far as I could see, the inmates used the lower bunk as a table.

As I've mentioned previously, the original cells were a paltry 29" wide, 8' deep, and only 6'7" high. In the museum, which is located in the prison governor's mansion across the street, there was a replica of an original cell. Danica, standing in front of the gate/door, gives us an idea of what a narrow space it was.

I managed to get a bit of a shot of the inside showing a manikin in bed. The bed would have had to be rolled up in the morning to give the prisoner a bit of pacing room.

Pretty bleak, eh?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hubba Hubba

The title is a very poor bit of wordplay on The Hub of the prison, which we are featuring today. Or at least the hub of the cell block building, which I guess is fair to call the main part of the prison complex.

(Keep in mind in whatever I write that I am recalling information as best as I can from my memory from a fairly quick tour, so I don't guarantee complete accuracy. However I do think I have the gist of it.)

The hub operated under an impressive dome, with 4 cell blocks radiating away from the centre. There were 4 levels of cell blocks. You can see 3 active levels in the following photo, and you can also see that the 4th was closed off after the 1971 riots. 

After 1971 a secure, enclosed control room was built on the floor of the hub under the dome.

But it used to be open with the main and detested object being a brass bell which rang the order of the days. The bell was so detested that it was smashed during the riot, never to be replaced. It now sits in a display case in the museum across the street. Click on this YouTube link for about 1 minute to see and hear a bit about the bell.

Back to the hub, there was a picture of the inmates enjoying a concert, but such events were eliminated after the riot. I am not sure how the riot began although I did read an account of it in a book a very long time ago, but, plainly, such a gathering could be fraught with danger.

This is one of the rows of cell blocks as it radiates away from the hub on the ground floor.

And this is what a cell block looks like.

In this particular cell block, there hung a photo taken after the riot.

At one time the ceiling was open to all 4 levels of cell blocks. That was also changed after the big riot as yet another security measure. More about the riot on this YouTube link. The riot section of the video lasts for about 9 minutes if you decide to watch it all.

to be continued