Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 144 years

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Vaughan Street Gaol (444 York Avenue, Winnipeg)

Known formally as the Eastern Judicial District Gaol, the building was erected in 1881-1883, at the corner of York Avenue and Memorial Boulevard, on a design by architect Walter Chesterton. The first jailer was Patrick Lawler, who lived there with his family. The building was renovated in 1909-10 under the supervision of provincial architect Samuel Hooper. Currently, only the jail’s first floor is used by the provincial government. Cells in the upper floors have been removed, along with all insulation and light fixtures but rows of cells remain in the basement. In 2004, an organization called Friends of Vaughan Street Jail was incorporated to advocate for restoration of the building.

Vaughan Street Gaol

Vaughan Street Gaol (circa 1884)
Source: McGill University, Notman Photographic Archives #1420.

Sketch of the Winnipeg Court House and Gaol

Sketch of the Winnipeg Court House and Gaol (circa 1889)
Source: Souvenir of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Toronto News Company, 1889.

Vaughan Street Gaol

Vaughan Street Gaol (May 2017)
Source: George Penner

Vaughan Street Gaol

Vaughan Street Gaol (May 2017)
Source: George Penner

Cell in the Vaughan Street Gaol

Cell in the Vaughan Street Gaol (May 2017)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.88780, W97.14789
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Louts, Lunatics, and Loose Women at the Vaughan Street Jail by Kristen Verin-Treusch
Manitoba History, Number 53, October 2006


This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and George Penner.

Page revised: 2 November 2020

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. The information is offered for historical interest only.

Browse lists of:
Museums/Archives | Buildings | Monuments | Cemeteries | Locations | Other

Inclusion in this collection does not confer special status or protection. Official heritage designation may only come from municipal, provincial, or federal governments. Some sites are on private property and permission to visit must be secured from the owner.

Site information is provided by the Manitoba Historical Society as a free public service only for non-commercial purposes.

Send corrections and additions to this page
to the MHS Webmaster at

Search Tips | Suggest an Historic Site | FAQ

Help us keep history alive!

MHS YouTube Channel

Back to top of page

For queries on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations

© 1998-2023 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.