Ron Brown is a geographer and travel author of more than twenty books, including Rails to the Atlantic, The Train Doesnâ€™t Stop Here Anymore, and Back Roads of Ontario. He is past chair of the Writersâ€™ Union of Canada and leads tours of Ontarioâ€™s unusual sights. He lives in Toronto.
Travel across Ontario and pay a visit to Ontarioâ€™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 Ontarioâ€™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 didnâ€™t die; mysterious escapes; the battle over Ontarioâ€™s smallest jail; Woodstockâ€™s death mask; love stories gone wrong; Ontarioâ€™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."