The one hostel I can always rely on is the Hostelling-International, they have cheap but comfortable and clean rooms, with breakfast included, a bar and the staff are always wonderful and friendly. The one in Ottawa was the best one yet! This HI is themed as It is home to Canada’s last working gallows and is considered to be one of the top ten spookiest buildings
We stayed for 3 nights and on second night we took a haunted tour with the Haunted Walk of Ottawa. Our guide spent an hour walking us from their office on Sparks Street to the canal where we found out that we had been skating on top of buried bodies (Eeek!) and then back to the hostel where she walked us through the hot and dingy solitary confinement cells, death row, the gallows and the courtyard (beneath which many restless bodies still lie…) The prison was built in 1862 where men, women and children were incarcerated. In 1869, 5,000 people crowded around the jail to watch Canada’s last public execution – the hanging of Patrick J. Whelan. Patrick cursed his accusers and is claimed to still haunt the halls.
Incredibly, the building operated as the Carleton County Jail up until 1972, with much of the nineteenth century prison still intact. Unsurprisingly, it was closed due to complaints of inhumane conditions, and the hostel association bought the historic property the following year.
The jail is a reminder of Ottawa’s dark past; a time when the city streets were too dangerous to walk through unarmed. The tour was a fascinating look at an aspect of the city’s heritage that has otherwise been long-forgotten. The hostel was a wonderful place to stay despite the spookiness and if your brave enough its worth it