Four students have spent the summer in jail, by choice. A judge did not send them there, instead they have been summer employees at the L’Orignal Old Jail, welcoming visitors and guiding them on tours of the oldest jail in Ontario.
According to one of the student employees, Audrey Normand, the jail is a popular destination for families and groups of friends. She said they are particularly interested in the executions which took place at the jail, rumours of paranormal activity on the premises, and general information about the history of the correctional system.
Working at the old jail is a learning experience for the student employees too.
“It’s always interesting to learn something new every day,” commented Normand, who is a graduate student in speech language pathology at the University of Ottawa.
Normand said she enjoys working with the other summer students.
“The team is just awesome,” she said.
Normand was promoting the L’Orignal Old Jail to visitors on Saturday, July 29 at La Baie Run in L’Orignal.
Student Sara-Maude Sirois appreciates the significance of her summer workplace.
“This building here is such a big historical piece of L’Orignal and Ontario,” she said.
Sirois said she has learned from former guards who visit the facility and appreciates how changes in corrections evolved over the years.
Sirois graduated in June from École secondaire publique Le Sommet in Hawkesbury, In September, she will attend l’Université de Moncton.
Sirois has enjoyed the various special events at the jail, especially the long-running play, La Dernière Pendaison (The Last Hanging). She also noticed how interested the visitors are when they tour the jail.
“The people were just so interested in everything,” Sirois commented.
Nathan Labonté is working at the L’Orignal Old Jail this summer with Normand, Sirois, and Ben Inskip.
“I love it,” remarked Inskip.
“My colleagues are super nice,” he added.
This is Inskip’s first summer working at the museum. He has noticed how interested the visitors are in the old jail.
“Everytime someone comes in, they ask a new question,” he said.
Inskip added he has enjoyed learning about the facility himself.
Inskip graduated in June from the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland. During the hockey season ahead, he has the opportunity to play with a junior team in Georgetown, northwest of Toronto.
L’Orignal is Inskip’s hometown. He said he enjoys learning about the place he has grown up in.
“I like to learn about my community and the things that have happened in the community,” Inskip said.
The students have all worked closely with the dedicated volunteers who do so much to keep the old jail open to visitors. Volunteer Dale Garvin was at the jail when The Review visited and remarked about the great job the students are doing.