The Don


An in-depth exploration of the Don Jail from earth turning through jail breaks to its eventual shuttering and rebirth.

Conceived as a “palace for prisoners” and based on progressive nineteenth-century penal reform principles, the Don Jail took seven long years to build. It never lived up to its potential, quickly deteriorating into a place of infamy where prisoners and guards alike were in danger of brutal violence and death. Its replacement, the New Don, was equally tainted.

The Don examines the jail’s role in the history of Toronto and follows its tumultuous descent from palace to hellhole, sharing stories of strict governors, inept officials, murderous inmates, infamous gangs, and even star-crossed lovers.

About the Author

Lorna Poplak

Posted by Dundurn Guest on June 28, 2016
Lorna Poplak photo

Lorna Poplak

Lorna Poplak is a writer, editor, and researcher, with a fascination for the stories behind the facts of Canadian history. She lives in Toronto.