Latlng: (46.220405, -80.907104)

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Burwash Correctional Prison

Discovered by TWP
Created Mar 26 2009
Recent status Unknown
Category Correctional
City Burwash, Ontario
Location # 591

Burwash Prison was located along Highway 69. Once fully constructed, the site had the ability to house 1000 inmates but never reached full capacity.

Burwash was a completely self-sufficient town which contained a 20-bed hospital, church, school, staff townsite, power station, post office, blacksmith, tailor shop, skating rink, cemetery, hospital, barbershop and church.

[u]The beginning[/u]

On September 14, 1914, the Ontario Government passed an Order in Council to establish the Burwash Industrial Farm. Four days later, the new Superintendant Clarance Fletcher Neelands, Sgt. Norman Sydney Oliver and nine inmates arrived at the Burwash Station. They set up camp and soon thereafter began constructing the first permanent building known as Camp Spruce.

In 1914 construction commenced on the 35,000 acres of land and by the end of the same year, 150 prisoners serving sentences of two years or less were transferred to Burwash.

With the First World War, came the recession. With recession came crime. The population of inmates grew to 180.

By 1915, a small log camp had been built on the banks of the Wanapitei River and by fall, work had begun on the main camp. It was completed on January 31, 1916.

Until the construction of the cell blocks, prisoners lived in the dormitory located within the townsite.


The population continued to grow as the Guelph Reformatory was turned into a veteran's hospital and rehabilitation center. The 200 prisoners were transferred to Burwash. Burwash's population grew to over 350 men.

By 1917, a steam-powered sawmill (on Mill Lake), shingle, and 'sticker' mill were in operations. The mill produced one million feet of lumber at its peak, annually.

During the 1920's when the Christmas season arrived, the Salvation Army organized people to sing Christmas carols to the inmates.

Travel to Burwash was primarily by train as there were no roads leading to the site.

In 1933, a road built by the inmates connected the Wanapitei River with Estaire. This road now connected Burwash with other roads to Wanup, Sudbury, and Coniston. Burwash was no longer a remote isolated area. In a few years, cars were making it possible for people to visit Burwash and for staff to go shopping in Sudbury.

Once the Trans Canada Highway was built, prisoner escape attempts became more frequent and signs were posted along the highway instructing motorists not to pick up hitchhikers.

[u]Camp Bison[/u]

The new $2.6 million Camp Bison was officially opened in a ceremony on June 8, 1960. It accommodated 210 inmates. The name of the camp originated from the numerous wildlife that had been known to roam the property.

[u]The End[/u]

On July 10, 1974, Ontario Minister of Correctional Services, Richard T. Potter, announced that the Burwash Correctional Centre would close. The cost to run Burwash was deemed too high, outdated equipment would be costly to replace and Burwash's closure would save the provincial government money.

The last day of operation was February 13, 1975. Residents of the estimated 175 townsite houses were told they would have to vacate their homes. Some residences took their homes with them - literally.

In 1977, a Steering Committee was established by the Ontario Government to recommend possible uses for the remaining prison complex and the 35,000 acres of land. This led to the Federal Government purchased the property in October for $1.8 million dollars.

In July of 1979, the land was leased to the Regional Municipality of Sudbury for a goat farming operation to produce mohair.

In 1990 the government bid on 8000 acres of land to be used for military training. Some of this training involved using explosives to destroy some of the townsite's homes.


Any buildings left on the site were bulldozed by the government in 1994.

An Ontario Heritage Trust plaque was unveiled at the site on August 6, 2006. Around 2007 the cemetery, overgrown and difficult to find, was cleaned up and a sign posted to mark its location. There are an estimated 12-20 prisoners buried here many of whom had no family to bury them properly.

Parts of Burwash are still used by the Department of National Defense for training purposes.

Directions: If you continue straight from the fork in the road you eventually end up at the railway tracks and a small railway building. Across from the tracks is an old gate and a path that leads to Camp Bison. The walk is approx 3.5 miles, but can be accessed by 4x4.

Update: If you want to visit this location message the owner, very friendly guy and welcome's people to explore for a small fee..

NEW UPDATE - 24 August. 2020 - This location Now has a new owner. His name is Chris. You can still go and explore this site for a small fee. It is so worth it, as it is really, really interesting. The owners run a Resort close to this location. Here is there contact information. (Avalon Eco Resort) Web site Address and Phone. Avalon Eco Resort 476 Highway 637 Killarney, ON P0M 2A0 (249)-805-0159

Latlng: (46.220405, -80.907104)


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unknown user avatar
Unknown User The cemetery used to be next to the two lakes but since they extended the main road and added some structures, it looks very different now. I no longer know where to find it but I'm sure some of the original members of the town would.
Jan 07 2012
avatar of that-girl
that-girl @sQualie - I'm definitely going to have to check this place out! I'm thinking a summer time adventure is probably a better idea though, this place seems like it would give some eerie vibes, which would be awesome lol
Jan 07 2012
avatar of sQualie
sQualie @that-girl: I went for an overnight camping trip there 3 times last summer and it's great. Easy access if you don't mind the 5km hike in (road is blocked by large cement blocks, only ATVs can get through). There's no security or anything of the sort. If you're in the area, it's definitely worth the detour.
Jan 07 2012
avatar of that-girl
that-girl this place looks crazy awesome!!! I'd love to check it out... anyone have any recent experiences here?
Jan 07 2012
avatar of two.minutes
two.minutes I am hoping to go visit the jail this coming weekend, however not sure 100% how to get there. I have googled it, and think I have found the jail but wondering if anyone would be able to provide me accurate directions to get to the jail ( and seems like I wasnt able to find the Burwash road from the highway? Has the entrance changed since the construction started? please email me two.minutes@hotm
Aug 11 2011
avatar of dankyrs
dankyrs The road is actual public :) The properties on either side are not, but the road and fields of Burwash are still actually zoned as public property. The road has obviously not been maintained so yes, trust me, you want decent truck, jeep, or atv. My husband and I WALKED the hour in the mud, puddles, rivers, and swarms of bugs. On the way back I actually threw everything down and started crying hehe
May 28 2011
avatar of don
don whats the best time (of the week, or month) to go into this place? is there any particular time the army guys use the range? I was passing by on a Saturday, (the 6th of November I believe), and from where i was on Hwy 69, i could see a gray truck speeding down one of the roads. security?
Nov 25 2010
avatar of don
don Whats the best way to get into this location? I tried once, however the main road says government property, do not enter. where would I go to get in?
Mar 03 2010
avatar of shadowman51889
shadowman51889 The little white dots are the dust particles picked up by the cameras flash.
Dec 30 2009
unknown user avatar
Unknown User In mostly all this pictures you can see little white dots.
Aug 17 2009
unknown user avatar
Unknown User the google map shows where burwash is the other link would not work for me so i put the link for burwash its self to get to the prison when you get onto the road that leads you into burwash just stick to the left roads if you do it right you will come up to a road block and right after that is train tracks. just cross the tracks and stick to that path and you will make it to the prison
Mar 26 2009
avatar of diamond645
diamond645 I had the priviledge of Walking the roads of Burwash in the early 1990's. What a site. As you left hyw 69 you passed what used to be the guard houses and the warden's house. Further in there was a huge barn with 100's of bags of feed still inside, the hospital portion still intact as well as a beautiful newly built or at least well maintained gym with gorgeous hardwood floors. I was able
Jan 29 2009