The following was sent in by one of our readers...

Brampton became the County Seat of Peel County in approximately the 1860's. Therefore, it contstructed a civic complex (as was required to meet the standard as county seat.) This consisted of the Courthouse and Peel County Council chambers, a land registry office, and gaol.

At present, this magnificent complex has been restored and is now known as the Peel Heritage Complex. It houses a museum and archives in the old gaol building, an art gallery in the land registry building, and the old courthouse, which has been magnificently restored to its original condition.

The complex was constructed in roughly 1866-67. The gaol is a blockhouse design, constructed of sturdy local sandstone. The courthouse is unique to the Province, as it is the only known example of a courthouse built in the Venetian Italianate style, complete with onion dome on the roof and pepper pots along the eves.

There were executions in the gaol that are well documented, and a part of the building was restored to its original condition to show what it was like to be an inmate in 1866 The gallows were originally set into the second story floor (body would drop to the first floor). Their original location is clearly marked, with a history of executions in the complex described on a nearby wall. If I am not mistaken, other execution(s) to follow occurred in the gaol yard.

The complex was almost demolished as the gaol was hated by the residents of this old, upscale neighbourhood. It had a terrible reputation for its poor living conditions, and regular grand juries convened for the purpose of evaluating the conditions in the goal, would condem it for its terrible, cramped living conditions and outdated facilities. The one factor that greatly helped in saving the structure was a delay in demolition due to the discovery of an unmarked inmate cemetery in the rear yard. Conservationists were able to have the complex designated while the demolition was delayed pending a decision on how the graves were to be moved.

It is my understanding that indeed the graves have been relocated but again, I may be mistaken.


The same author writes...
I have done some more "digging" with respect to the Heritage complex. An aquaintance worked for a time in the old Peel County Courthouse, and had some new info to share. This person told me that when she worked in the main floor offices originally used by the Mayor or Reeve, they would hear a rapping on the door that connected the office to a conference room. When they went to answer the knock, there would be no-one at the door. This often would be preceded by the sound of footsteps at or near the door. This phenomenon would occurr either early in the morning, or late at night and they could not attribute the knocking to anyone working in the area, as the adjoining conference room was rarely used.

The author of this is looking into the sightings and experiences in this historic edifice and is interested in hearing other peoples experiences. We are going to do our best to look into this report and we will update you on our findings when we have completed some interviews and visited the site.

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