Jail Cells

Did You Know . . . Two detention cells, formerly used by the Athabasca RCMP for prisoner overflow, still remain in the basement of the former Town of Athabasca civic building, now the Verhaeghe Law Office.

Prisoner detention cells still exist in old Town Office


Town Councillor Tim Verhaeghe showing the old RCMP prisoner detention cells that still exist in the
basement of his law office, the former Town Office


Two detention cells, formerly used by the Athabasca RCMP for prisoner overflow, still remain in the basement of the former Town of Athabasca civic building, now the Verhaeghe Law Office.

The cells were used by the RCMP when short of cell space in their own building and for young offenders, as well as a means to keep male and female prisoners separate. When a prisoner was occupying one of the cells, an attendant employee of the local RCMP would remain in the building and check on the prisoner at regular intervals.

Town administration moved into a new building in December 1993 and sold the old building, detention cells included, to a new owner in September of the following year.

In 2000, a new 7,800 sq. ft. facility was built for the Athabasca RCMP detachment. Located in the Cornwall subdivision, the new building was designed to accommodate the anticipated administrative and prisoner detention needs of a growing community the size of Athabasca.

Prior to 2000, the Athabasca detachment worked out of a building built in the late 1950s on Athabasca’s south hill, commonly known as High School Hill. At the time of construction, the location was known as the Jubilee Park subdivision.

Originally designed to serve as an office with a prisoner detention cell and as living quarters for the commanding officer, the building was about 4,000 sq. ft. in size. In 1985, the living quarters were converted to become part of the RCMP barracks. However, external detention space was still needed for prisoner overflow and the cells in the basement of the old Town Office were used for the purpose for a number of years.

Although no longer needed to detain prisoners, the holding cells are still being put to good use. Today, they hold records and files in secure storage for the law office.


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