Jail Fright at the Haunted Historic Cornwall Jail

October 10, 2013
By Bob Peters

Cornwall Ontario – One of the scariest, most anticipated events of the Halloween season returns to the Historic Cornwall Jail.

The jail has an inherent eeriness to it throughout the year, but at Halloween, it turns to full-on fright! This year’s theme is the chilling “Saw” horror films, so be prepared for Jigsaw to keep you on your toes, and your knees chattering.

“This is a great event and we look forward to it every year,” said Linda Wilson, Executive Director of Cornwall and the Counties Tourism. “The screams that come out of the jail from visitors really sets the stage for all of us. I think we have as much fun watching people go through the jail as they do themselves.”

Small groups (up to 6 at a time) are guided through the jail by volunteers dressed to capture the theme. One never knows what one might find in a haunted jail, but at one point people might expect to be held captive in one of the cells. With ghouls wondering about – is the cell a sanctuary or a trap?

The cost to enter the jail is  $5.00 and there are different “fright levels” to ensure the experience is fun for all ages. It usually takes about 15 – 20 minutes to go through the jail.

“This event is the ‘baby” of our volunteer Lucie Hart,” noted Ms. Wilson. “Lucie works very hard to make this event successful, and her enthusiasm is second to none.”

The even was first held in 2010, and can attract upwards of 1000 attendees, depending on the theme. A tent will be set up at the entrance to the jail where people can buy drinks/hot dogs while waiting to enter the jail.


There are appropriate “fright levels” for different audiences. Ranging from the least scary (Level 1) to Level 2/3 for those looking for a little bit of a scare, and Level 3, the scariest, for the truly brave.

Take a look at the schedule below and choose which night/level is right for you. Admission is $5 for all ages.

Level 3: October 25-26: 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Level 1 (Youngsters): October 27: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Level 2/3: October 27-30: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

About the Historic Cornwall Jail

Built in 1834 and remaining operational until 2002, the Historic Cornwall Jail has been maintained in its condition as the day the last inmate was removed from behind its bars. Take a self-guided tour through holding cells, visitation areas, common areas, exercise yard and even the gallows where hardened criminals were hanged for their injustices as late as 1954. Get an accurate representation of the conditions inmates lived in at this cool historical site.

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