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Unique Destination series: HI Ottawa Jail hostel, Ottawa, Ontario

Ever wondered what it would feel like to spend a night in jail? The Ottawa Jail Hostel may be just the place to visit!

As the name suggests, the Ottawa Jail Hostel was once an actual prison, the Nicholas Street Gaol. The prison was home to hundreds of prisoners at one time, and was generally a higher security institution. The Ottawa Jail closed its doors in 1972, and that was when the tourism interest became apparent. An organization saw the potential and bought up the jail, having it undergo several major renovations before its current hostel status was obtained. It has evidently undergone several improvements, and is much more comfortable for its guests than it ever would have been for its prior residents.

The prison had an unfortunately sordid past, being known for its once cruelly small conditions and brutal prisoners. In fact, one of the biggest reason the Ottawa Jail was famous was for its gallows out back, where many a prisoner took their last breath. Perhaps because of this, perhaps because people like legend, the jail is said to still be haunted by several spirits that roam the cells at night. In fact, the hostel was featured in an episode of Canada’s own, The Girly Ghosthunters. This adds an element of spookiness, and adds to the adventure of staying in jail overnight.

The spooky atmosphere, the now comfortable accommodations, and the pure uniqueness all provide reasons to consider this unique Canadian destination on the next vacation. If you are planning to visit, get your ETA Canada before leaving your country. Whether looking for a simple tour, or to spend the night, this hostel is surely worth a second glance!

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