Today in things-you-probably-didn’t-know-about-Ontario, our province is actually home to the smallest jailhouse in North America.

Spanning 4.8 meters wide and 6 meters deep, this jailhouse is smaller than even the smallest bachelor pad in Toronto at just over 300 square feet.

The jailhouse is located in Tweed, a small town in the central-eastern Ontario county of Hastings. Although it’s no longer housing any prisoners, you can still pop by and snap some photos behind bars.

The story of this little building dates back well over a century. It was first built in 1898 and opened in 1900, according to the Municipality of Tweed.

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Originally, the jailhouse held three cells and a lobby area and was created as a replacement for the town’s former jailhouse after it flooded.

Most of the prisoners in this jail were sent there for minor offenses, the municipality says.

“The most notorious prisoner to stay in the Tweed jailhouse was a man by the name of Gideon Butts,” says Tweed’s information page.

“He was held there for one night in 1903, and then transferred to Nappanee. Butts murdered his wife because he was having delusions that she was a serpent.”

After 50 years in operation, it was shut down “due to lack of crime in the town.” Talk about a different era.

At that point, the OPP took over the space, turning it into an office. Today, it serves as an information center for visitors and is open during the summertime only.

On the other side of the province in Niagara-on-the-Lake, you’ll find the Living Water Wayside Chapel, which apparently holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s smallest chapel.

Who knew Ontario was hiding such unusual roadside attractions?


Where: 61 Victoria Street North, Tweed