Ghosts of Prisons Past: A Prehistory of the Toronto South Detention Centre

Toronto South Detention Centre, April 2014
Photo: Magdalena Miłosz

We wait over an hour to get into the new prison, lined up with more than a hundred other curious visitors in a queue reminiscent of a well-frequented amusement park. The aim of our slow approach is a glass-box lobby fronting a hulking, beige-coloured structure; the two together epitomize the devious interplay of transparency and opacity in modern corporate architecture. This grey day in October is the last chance for the public to enter the maximum-security facility before the prisoners are shipped in—unless you later happen to become one of them.

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