8. Hosteling International Ottawa Jail Hostel – Ottawa, Canada
Image: Capital Neighborhoods
Built in 1862, the original Carleton County Gaol (gaol means prison in kooky Canadian) was built in a massive, Georgian style that didn’t leave too much doubt about what it was. The beastly building was constructed without heating or toilets in the cells, and as you can imagine prisoners got a little sick of it after a while. By 1972 accusations of prisoner mistreatment really started to fly (it took that long?) and a new gaol was built.
Instead of tearing down the monstrous old building, the Canadian Youth Hostel Association offered to buy it from the state, turning it into the HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel. Most of the prison cells have been left pretty much intact, and instead of sleeping one inmate they now accommodate four bunk beds. This isn’t exactly a step up, but at least you get to leave in the morning.
Need a little more breathing room? The warden’s quarters is available for rent. And make sure not to miss The Carleton County Gaol museum, located on the 8th floor of the old jail– the entire floor was left totally un-renovated to give hostel-staying patrons a taste of the real jailhouse experience.