Historic Gaol Staff

Before the turn of the century the Gaol was managed by a small compliment of staff consisting primarily of the Gaoler (or Governor), Matron (usually the Gaoler’s wife), Turnkey and Gaol Surgeon.  Until the the addition of the Governor’s House in 1901, the Gaoler and his family lived in a small apartment located on the second floor the Gaol alongside criminals, debtors, vagrants and the mentally ill.

Huron Historic Gaol

181 Victoria Street N, Goderich, ON, N7A 2S9

(Gaol entrance located on Gloucester Terrace)


The Huron Historic Gaol is a unique octagonal building which served as the County Jail from its opening in 1841 until closure in 1972.   At the time of construction it was viewed as a model of humanitarian prison design.   Originally the building served as Gaol for the Counties of Huron, Bruce & Perth but after the counties separated the building served only the County of Huron for the majority of its history.


Throughout its history the Gaol housed inmates registered for crimes from misdemeanors to criminal convictions, including three men who were hanged for  crimes of murder.  It also provided shelter as the House of Refuge for the ill, destitute and mentally ill.    Men, women and children all spent time in the Gaol throughout its history.


The Gaol is now a National Historic Site visited by thousands of people each year.


Open May 1 to October 31. Admission Charged. Not wheelchair accessible.

Hours (Gaol is closed until 2021)

May 1

to August 31

M – 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

T – 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

W – 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

T – 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

F – 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

S – 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

S – 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Labour Day

to October 31

M – 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

T – 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

W – 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

T – 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

F  – 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

S – 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

S – 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm

November 1

to April 30

Closed for the season

The Museum and Gaol are closed New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Christmas and Boxing Day.  Visit the Museum and Gaol on Family Day (Museum only), Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday Monday.

Admission Rates

Family $20 $60
Adult $6 $40
Senior (65+) $5.50 $30
Student $5 $30
Child (6-10) $4.50

Huron County Library Card Holders

Regular admission to the Museum and Gaol is available at no charge to those presenting a Huron County Library card.

Each Museum and Gaol visitor will be required to present their own library card, including children over the age of 5.  Library cards are available at no charge to Huron County residents at any one of Huron County’s twelve library branch locations.  Free admission is limited to regular admission rates only.  Additional charges will still apply to workshops, programs (including Behind the Bars), special events, room rentals, group tours, memberships, archives use, and other events.

360 Virtual Tour