This place may be somewhat spooky to the Urban Explorer who may have researched the history of the facility before the physical exploration. To this end, we present an entertaining and somewhat spooky video . . .
The St. John's Training School for Boys opened in 1956 and was operated by the (Catholic) lay order of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, which also operated a similar facility in Alfred (known as 'St. Joseph's, just outside of Ottawa).
Funded in large part by the province of Ontario, this facility housed orphans, truants, Children’s Aid Society referrals, juvenile delinquents, physically and perceptually challenged children, "incorrigibles" from reservation schools, and children of broken or poor homes which could not adequately support them. Both the Alfred and Uxbridge facilities were supervised by the Province.
In the late 1970's, St. Jospeh's closed its doors but the Province took over operation of the Uxbridge location making it a highly secure facility for young offenders until it was privatized under the Mike Harris regime. The Kennedy House Youth Services was awarded the contract in July, 2000.
More than 1,200 former residents of St. John's and St. Joseph's, suffered neglect and in some cases physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers from the 1940s to the 1970s. A sweeping OPP investigation resulted in more than 200 charges against more than 30 people. The Catholic Church and the Christian Brothers later signed a $23-million reconciliation agreement and in 2004 the Ontario government formally apologized to the sexually and physically abused former residents. Charges ranged from "assault causing bodily harm" to "indecent assault" and "sodomy".
The Chapel within the main building was almost devoid of light (read: black as Hades). The empty and overturn pews, the large crucifix, and the facility history made this area of the abandonment a bit creepy.
As most of the windows are tightly boarded, headlamps, flashlights and camera tripods are a necessity. The very low lighting conditions found within the interior also require cameras capable of taking longer exposures.
I was not altogether happy with the results of my photographic endeavours which simply means another return trip to this massive facility.
To say the secure lockup areas and spartan cells were less than cheery would be a gross overstatement. Although I am certain that you would have to be quite the bad-a$$ to find oneself a resident of such a facility as this, I am not convinced that every 'incorrigible' warranted a cell such as these.
The main building has an abundance of seemingly endless corridors flanked by countless rooms. I would suggest to the novice explorer that you take pains not to get turned around and possibly miss some of the more interesting rooms during your tour.
A large number of the rooms and workshops / classrooms exhibit a distressing lack of any decent taste in interior decorating. I strongly suspect that most of the wall paper and floor rugs (yes - even some shag carpeting) were 'end-of-the-roll' and discontinued product. Fugly-a$$ cr@p like this is discontinued for a reason you know . . .
Prior to this excursion, I touched base with respected fellow-explorer 'Boffo', who had just visited a month earlier. He had captured a very nice image of these clothes dryers which I found was a hard act to follow . . . Here is my attempt.
The industrial-sized kitchens at the Centre is appropriate to nature and scale of a 100-bed detention facility. I imagine that every meal prepared here was made with love. I also imagine that staff ensured that all cutlery were accounted for after each meal.
If washrooms happen to be thing, make haste to this place. One cannot swing a cat and not hit one (not that I believe cat swinging is an acceptable activity). Within the open-custody areas, each room was equipped with a sink and shared a toilet and shower with the adjacent room. In the secure detention areas, occupants of each of the nine cells were allowed out by the guard to the common washroom.
Washrooms and shower rooms in other parts of the facility were equipped with strange and rare accoutrement and fixtures such as 'ball-and-socket' clothing hooks (?wtf?) and these very cool wash basins. I am not certain what possessed staff to box in the drains under the urinals - perhaps the residents were scavenging piping for some evil purpose.