An unassuming building located at the corner of Vaughan Street and York Avenue, the Vaughan Street Jail represents our province’s judicial history. The brave souls who dared to enter for Doors Open Winnipeg were treated to an theatrical tour and introduced to some of the prison’s most infamous inmates. The performances were brought to life by Friends of the Vaughan Street Jail volunteers.
Originally the Eastern Judicial Gaol, the Vaughan Street Jail, designed by architect Charles Osborne Wickensen, was built in 1881 by the Province of Manitoba on land purchased from the Hudson’s Bay Company. Children, women and men were all imprisoned in the building during its history, with the mentally ill receiving the most treacherous treatment. Significant hangings at the jail include those of notorious serial killers John “Bloody Jack” Krafchenko and Earle Leonard Nelson, the “Gorilla Killer”. Today it no longer functions as a jail but instead has become the oldest provincially owned building still standing within city limits.