Charley's Field Notes #3
The Bankses’ Home
Those familiar with Kingston will, no doubt, recognize the home I chose as the inspiration for Colin Bank’s limestone mansion.
Built in 1924, Stone Gables is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building on landscaped grounds bordering Lake Ontario (about five kilometres west from where I located the Bankses’ home on Front Road). Designed in the Tudor Revival style, the property is associated with Thomas Kirkpatrick and James Morton, both of whom were prominent figures in the early history of Kingston and Canada. The property transferred to Correctional Services Canada in 1968 and now accommodates the regional offices.
Prison for Women
Here are a couple of photos I took of Kingston’s Prison for Women as it looks today.
The first female inmates arrived on January 24, 1934. Before this date, maximum security female offenders were housed in the Female Department of the maximum security Kingston Penitentiary located across the street.
Beginning in 1995, female inmates were gradually transferred to other federal correctional institutions. On May 8, 2000, the last female inmate was transferred away from the P4W.
In January 2008, Queens University took ownership of the 8.1 acre site. The university archives were originally slated to be housed there once renovations were completed, but this is no longer the case. The transformation of the property included the demolition of three of the four stone security walls.
The Church of the Good Thief
Located at 743 King Street West, The Church of the Good Thief was constructed approximately one kilometre from the Kingston Penitentiary. Convicts quarried the stone and carried it to the church site. They were paid 25 cents a day. The parish priest at the Church of the Good Thief was also appointed as chaplain to the Kingston Penitentiary. Due to the connections with the Penitentiary, the church was named in honour of St. Dismas, the Catholic patron saint of prisoners and Dismas was one of the two thieves crucified beside Jesus. He was also known as the Good Thief, and for a time, this church was the only one in the world to assume this name.
Yew Bush & Berry
Yes, it’s true. These poisonous little berries are all over Kingston. This is a bush in front of my sister’s home.