From 1896 to 1964 Canada jailed thousands of women without trial if they were suspected of “undesirable social behavior.” Such as having premarital sex or being in interracial relationships. The women were sent to reform prisons, where they were beaten and drugged to learn subservience.

Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women

The original Mercer Reformatory superintendent’s house survives at Fraser and King.

The Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women was a women’s (16 years of age or older) prison in Toronto, Canada. At various times, the facility was also known as the Mercer Complex, Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Females, and Andrew Mercer Ontario Reformatory for Females.

History

Located on King Street West in Toronto, Ontario, it opened in 1872 with the idealistic promise of a “homelike” atmosphere for its inmates.

One of the major tenets of the reformatory was to instill feminine Victorian virtues such as obedience and servility.

Work, such as cooking, baking, and cleaning, was also a major part of prison life. According to one superintendent… Continue Reading (4 minute read)

6 thoughts on “From 1896 to 1964 Canada jailed thousands of women without trial if they were suspected of “undesirable social behavior.” Such as having premarital sex or being in interracial relationships. The women were sent to reform prisons, where they were beaten and drugged to learn subservience.”

  1. Ethelfleda

    And raped…so much rape in those places

  2. LDG192

    And people say that today’s world is doomed and a far cry from the “good ol’ days”.

  3. Yard_Sailor

    Things weren’t always “Eh OK” in the Great White North.

  4. TheGreenSleaves

    How did we learn about residential schools every year from grade 6 to grade 12 but never this once!?!

Leave a Comment