Ron Brown is a geographer and heritage writer. He has authored more than twenty books, including Rails Over the Mountains, The Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, and The Top 150 Unusual Things to See in Ontario. A past chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada, he also conducts tours along Ontario’s back roads. He lives in East York.
Travel across Ontario and pay a visit to Ontario’s nearly 50 heritage jails. Built before the modern era of the OPP, they range in size from single cell lockups to massive monuments such as the Kingston Pen and the Don Jail. Although Spartan inside, many are architectural wonders on the outside and have been declared heritage buildings. A few have been converted to museums and show the harsh conditions that convicts had to endure. Behind Bars also tells of the many hilarious escapes, gruesome hangings and unusual trials which made Ontario’s old jails the centre of attention.
Highlights include ghost-town jails in Silver Islet and Berens River; torture devices on display at the Penitentiary Museum in Kingston, along with the "shower" and the coffin-sized "box"; the man who was executed but didn’t die; mysterious escapes; the battle over Ontario’s smallest jail; Woodstock’s death mask; love stories gone wrong; Ontario’s first terrorist attack; the worst mass murderer; and haunted jails.
"Noboby knows Ontario like Ron Brown."
- CBC Radio
"The book is an excellent reference for historians. Every Historical Society should have a copy."