Canada’s Penitentiary Museum


Come visit Canada’s Penitentiary Museum, the award-winning museum dedicated solely to the preservation and interpretation of the history of our federal penitentiaries! Located at the birthplace of the Correctional Service of Canada in Kingston Ontario, the museum is housed within the former Warden’s residence of Kingston Penitentiary.

Visitors are often surprised at the complexity of a penitentiary environment. It isn’t just about crime and punishment. Learn about the forward-thinking entertainment and art programs introduced in the 1950s as you wander through the eight display rooms at your own pace. See our unparalleled collection of penitentiary-related artifacts and photographs. As an added bonus, during the summer months, the museum is staffed by retired Officer Volunteers whose first-hand experiences currently date back to 1960!

To encourage local tourism, the museum grounds offer a breath-taking view over Portsmouth Olympic Harbour and Lake Ontario. Many of our visitors come by just to admire the limestone architecture that has made Kingston famous the world over as “the Limestone City“.

In 2003 the Penitentiary Museum won the “Rand McNally Best of the Road” Award. One of only 27 sites in North America to do so! In 2012, and 2014 through 2017, we received a Tripadvisor “Certificate of Excellence” based upon a visitor satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5! We are also proud of the fact that we are regularly rated among the top 3 museums in Kingston by readers of Kingston This Week in their annual “Reader’s Choice Awards”.

Join the more than 50,000 people per year who “do some time at” the Penitentiary Museum…it’s time well spent!


Tours of Kingston Penitentiary are offered through the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, NOT through Canada’s Penitentiary Museum.