Throughout my earlier traveling days I loved the excitement that came with hostel living. Whilst big chain hostels like YHA, Base & Nomads were all great fun, I liked to try and scout those hostels that were more unique, HI-Ottawa Jail was definitely one of them!
Located in Canada’s Capital City Ottawa, this 15o year old former Carleton County Jail is quite an experience. I know sleeping in a bare hostel dormitory room with rickety old bunk beds and windows that don’t open can at times feel like you are imprisoned, in this hostel you are quite literally sleeping in a jail cell, stone walls, steel bars and all. You can even hear the echo of voices as people walk the corridors. But, it’s all great fun and there’s free wifi! Score!
The hostel offers free (yes i said FREE) tours of the Jail where a tour guide will talk you through the history of the Jail. The most interesting part is visiting a floor which has some of the original, unconverted cells. Seeing the gallows (used for excecution by hanging) is most definitely something to give you the heebie jeebies! You feel like you have stepped back in time and you can’t help but conjure up stories of events that may have unfolded there all those years ago.
After all, the hostel is considered one of the most haunted buildings in Canada. I have also written in my diary that the building is in the top 10 most haunted in North America!? I remember there being a number of ghost tours advertised in the hostel too, so it’s a great place for all the supernatural lovers out there!
If that’s not enough to entice you, the hostel also has a pretty lively bar, clean kitchen and amenities, huge car park and is in prime location, being only a short walk from the City’s cafe’s, shops, bars, museums and Parliament Hill.