Historic Sites of Manitoba: Central Judicial District Gaol and Courthouse (20 Third Street SE, Portage la Prairie)
Around 1891, a gaol building for the Central Judicial District was constructed at Portage la Prairie on a design by Winnipeg architect Charles H. Wheeler. Three years later, a two-storey brick structure designed by George Browne was constructed to provide more prison cells and rooms for the County Court, Surrogate Court, and Queen’s Bench Court, and the Sheriff’s office.
In November 1901, the building was turned into a “a reformatory prison for the detention of youthful offenders from the Province generally and the better class of prisoners from the district” under gaoler Daniel McLean. Nine years later, the youth were transferred to the newly-constructed Industrial Training School nearby. Another addition to the gaol in 1930-1931 provided space for the incarceration of women and they were transferred from the Vaughan Street Gaol in Winnipeg starting in May 1932. After 1944, the gaol became an exclusively female institution when male prisoners were transferred to the Headingley Gaol.
Photos & Coordinates
The Early Years of the Manitoba Home for Boys (Portage la Prairie), 1889-1948 by Cameron Harvey. Winnipeg: The Author, 2010. [Manitoba Legislative Library, HV 9110 .P6M3 Har]
Portage la Prairie, 1870-1970 by Anne M. Collier, Portage la Prairie, 1970, page 250.
We thank George Penner for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by James Kostuchuk and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 March 2021