Museum on the O/R Lands

A constituent writes about:

The Issue of the Guelph Correctional Centre and Wellington Detention Centre Lands

The process is well underway, and the various interested parties are lined up vying for the acreage. The Province and the City have been working away to achieve their objectives, and satisfy as many as they can.

The Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) already had the Wellington Detention Centre ripped down, and who knows about the future of the buildings at the Guelph Correctional Centre.

As you all know, Guelph residents, who were also Provincial employees, worked many years at both these facilities. A lot of money was spent in Guelph when the two Correctional facilities were running.

Over the years there were some fifty thousand (50,000) working years put in by Correctional Staff since 1911. During this time there were at least two staff killed there, and I have information that there were more.

Carpenter John (Jack) Leybourne was killed in 1912 building the West Dorm, and Asst. Superintendent Norman J. Agnew was killed in 1921 in the quarry. Both considered killed in the ‘Line of Duty’ as Peace Officers in Ontario. Leybourne had lived close to the old Wellington County Jail, and left a wife and five children. Agnew left a wife of six months, and he lived in the house at the entrance to the Reformatory on York Road.

The Superintendent’s House, or the Asst. Superintendent’s House would make a good museum, and I know there are more than enough artifacts around just waiting for such a place to be displayed. Prison Museums are a huge tourism draw in the U.S. and Canada.

It does not seem reasonable that the lands be carved up for currently unknown purposes, and nothing set aside, such as a small city park with some sort of monument to signify what the lands were, and the losses of life that took place there.

A small park for the families, former employees, friends, and citizens to visit, when they feel the need. This place, for many Correctional Officers and Staff, was where their entire working life was spent.

There were also a lot of soldiers, sailors, and airmen who came home from WW1, WW2, Korea, and Vietnam, who gained a career at the old Ontario Reformatory. Norman J. Agnew was one of them.

Something else for the City Authorities and Provincial Authorities to consider.   SR