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Jail for sale: B.C. Penitentiary building on the block for $6M

Click to play video 'Former B.C. Prison for sale for $6M' Former B.C. Prison for sale for $6M
The last part of the notorious New Westminster Penitentiary, which was saved because of its heritage status, is for sale. Linda Aylesworth reports – Dec 4, 2020

A former penitentiary building in New Westminster is on the market for just under $6 million.

The British Columbia Penitentiary was the first federal penal institution west of Manitoba and operated for more than 100 years.

Read more: In New Westminster, there’s a ‘forgotten’ cemetery where rest the souls of some ‘evil’ inmates

“It held some of the baddest people around,” realtor Leonardo Di Francesco said.

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Metro Vancouver’s hidden cemetery – Jun 21, 2018

Noted outlaw Bill Miner, whose life was chronicled in the 1982 film The Grey Fox, escaped from the B.C. Penitentiary in 1907 and fled to the U.S.

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A riot at the prison in 1934 was instrumental in the Canadian government implementing a policy to pay prisoners for their work.

Read more: How a bloody riot and massive prison break brought down Oakalla, B.C.’s most notorious jail

In the 1970s, the B.C. Penitentiary housed 765 inmates.

The 11,500-square-foot building stands on a nearly 48,000-square-foot property. The basement features cells where prisoners were kept in solitary confinement.

“If the walls could talk, it would tell some pretty interesting stories,” Di Francesco said.

Two other buildings are also for sale, including a B.C. Penitentiary jailhouse and an amenities centre. Di Francesco says all three buildings can be had for around $24 million.