Cover of "The Don: The story of Toronto's Infamous Jail", Heritage Toronto Book Award nominee. Image courtesy of Dundurn Press.
Author: Lorna Poplak
Publisher: Dundurn Press
An investigation into the origins and evolution of Toronto’s infamous jail, The Don presents a kaleidoscope of memorable characters — inmates, guards, governors, murderous gangs, meddlesome politicians, harried architects, and even a pair of star-crossed lovers whose doomed romance unfolded in the shadow of the gallows.
Conceived as a “palace for prisoners,” the Don Jail never lived up to its promise. Although based on progressive nineteenth-century penal reform and architectural principles, the institution quickly deteriorated into a place of infamy where both inmates and staff were in constant danger of violence and death. Its mid-twentieth-century replacement, the New Don, soon became equally tainted. This is the story of the Don’s tumultuous descent from palace to hellhole, its shuttering and lapse into decay, and its astonishing modern-day metamorphosis.
1 / 2 (use arrows at bottom right to navigate)
About the Author:
Lorna Poplak is a writer, editor, and researcher, with a fascination for the stories behind the facts of Canadian history.