People of the York Road Jail Lands

The 1,000+ acres of the York Road Jail Lands will some day be redeveloped, after almost 100 years as the largest provincial prison and detention centre, into uses far different. Whether it is light industry, residential, recreational, retail, or research purposes, it won’t be the same.

The Guelph Civic Museum and the Wellington County Museum have no interest, and I have been told this, because the place was a provincial operation not a municipal or county operation. The remembrances, people, and stories of the Ontario Reformatory, Guelph, and the Wellington Detention Centre will be lost.

The penitentiary museum in the old warden’s house at the Kingston Penitentiary had 26,000 visitors in 2006 over a six-month span when it was open (May – September). There are certainly no tourist dollars there are there?

Since I inquired in 2007 about having a small park created on the property and named after Officers who died in the ‘Line of Duty’ at the O.R., and then naming future streets within the 1,000+ acres after Officers who worked their lifetimes at the O.R. and Wellington D.C., both city policies have gone under review.

The City of Guelph has a street naming policy that has been under review, as many things seem to be around city hall. Regardless of that, here are some of the names of ranking officers who worked at the Reformatory and the Detention Centre. Simply, an addition to Guelph’s street naming policy, that any future streets within the 1,000 acres of the York Road Jail Lands be named after officers of GCC or WDC would do it.

There is also another list of thousands of names of correctional officers, industrial officers, maintenance officers, medical staff, kitchen staff, office staff, doctors, dentists, librarians, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychometrists, and social workers from the past 100 years, if more names are needed. All these people lived in or around Guelph.

Guelph Correctional Centre (GCC) Superintendents

1914 Mr. J.T. Gilmour
1917 Dr. G.N. Urie
1920 Dr. Bryce McMurrich
1922 Mr. C.F. Neelands
1931 Mr. J. Hunter
1937 Mr. J.D. Heaslip, M.D.
1946 Mr. G. Hedley Basher
1952 Mr. G. Wright
1956 Mr. Charles Sanderson
1969 Mr. John R.C. Lee
1972 Mr. Scott Keane
1977 Major H. (Heck) Harloff (Acting)
1977 Mr. William (Bill) Taylor
1986 Mr. Lyndon Nelmes
1989 Mr. Greg Simmons
1995 Mr. Douglas (Doug) Dalgleish (Acting)
1996 Mr. George Simpson (Acting)
1996 Mr. Jack Lockhart
1996 Mrs. Sherry Cybulski (Acting)
2000- 2002 Ms. Dianne Doherty

Guelph Treatment Centre (Guelph Assessment & Treatment Unit – GATU)

1975 Dr. John Dacre
1978 Ian Liethead
1985 Bill Cooney
2001-2004 Janet Gauthier

GCC Asst Sup, Dep Sup, Asst Dep Sup, Majors, Captains

Assistant Superintendent Norman J. Agnew
Captain Robert G. Hamilton
Major McQuaid
Deputy Superintendent Sherry Bean
Deputy Superintendent Tom Bolton
Deputy Superintendent (Paddy) Corocoran
Deputy Superintendent Ron Graydon
Deputy Superintendent Karl Grottenthaler
Deputy Superintendent E.J. (Hec) Harloff
Deputy Superintendent D.P. Homenuck
Deputy Superintendent Sandy Limebeer
Deputy Superintendent Bill Millar
Deputy Superintendent J.C. Miller
Deputy Superintendent Robert Miller
Deputy Superintendent Dave Pinnegar
Deputy Superintendent George Pollard
Deputy Superintendent Sherry Richardson
Deputy Superintendent John Stewart
Deputy Superintendent Cheryl Sykes
Deputy Superintendent John Walter
Deputy Superintendent Tom Watson
Assistant Deputy Superintendent Mike Beaton

GCC Lieutenants (retired)

Lt. John Bettencourt
Lt. John Boorsma
Lt. Jack Braun
Lt. M. Burechails
Lt. Burns
Lt. Jack Carey
Lt. Doug Chilton
Lt. Sherry Christie
Lt. Frank Contois
Lt. F.L. Davies
Lt. Ted DeBoer
Lt. Ron Duffield
Lt. Ron Ellison
Lt. Doug Foulds
Lt. Bill French
Lt. Carl Friday
Lt. Darrell Gilbertson
Lt. Bill Harkness
Lt. Ed Heater
Lt. Alex Henderson
Lt. Morris Heuther
Lt. Steve Holowicz
Lt. Jack Huber
Lt. Matti Isberg
Lt. Ham Lepridge
Lt. Don Martin
Lt. Craig Maseacar
Lt. Bruce McCulloch
Lt. Karl McFarlane
Lt. Terry McGuire
Lt. Bill McKay
Lt. W.J. Millar
Lt. Ron D. Nodwell
Lt. Chris Poole
Lt. Dan Potter
Lt. Jim Powis Sr.
Lt. Tom Skelly
Lt. Ken J. Steer
Lt. V.C. Trigg
Lt. Fred Vivian
Lt. Art Walker
Lt. Jack White
Lt. Ralph Wilson

(still working, now at other facilities)

Lt. Charlie Boorsma
Lt. Les Caldwell
Lt. Rick Campbell
Lt. Ian Cayton
Lt. John Costello
Lt. Kacey Cummings
Lt. Ed Drabik
Lt. Steve Foster
Lt. Mark Holley
Lt. Terry Kutchaw
Lt. Larocque
Lt. Chuck Marchegiano
Lt. Rick Mroz
Lt. Jack Nicholson
Lt. Tim Pedder
Lt. Zoltan Ronkai
Lt. Jim Verrinder
Lt. Bill Wheeler
Lt. Don Wilson
Lt. Rick Wood
Lt. Keith Wright

GCC Sergeants (retired)

Sgt. E.R. Brett
Sgt. S.R. Brooks
Sgt. Rick Clough
Sgt. F.H. Cooke
Sgt. Tony Cremasco
Sgt. Werner Dencker
Sgt. Bill Dick
Sgt. Terry Doyle
Sgt. Jack Ferguson
Sgt. R.S. Johnson
Sgt. G.N. Knapp
Sgt. Ray Laperierre
Sgt. Ed Latta
Sgt. W. Rhodes
Sgt. John M. Sinclair
Sgt. Reg J. Stainer
Sgt. Mernie Weirmier

Wellington Detention Centre (WDC) Superintendents

1977-1979 Mr. Matt Allman, Super of Guelph Jail and WDC during
reconstruction from Hillcrest
1980-1987 Mr. Jim Cassidy, 1st official superintendent
1988-1990 Mr. Allan Dunbar
1990-1992 Mr. Don Poynter
1993-1994 Ms. Sherre Cybulski (A)
1994 – 1997 Mr. Don Poynter
1998-1999 Mr. Wayne Morris
2000- July 2001 Mr. Gary Calverley, last official superintendent

WDC Sergeants/Lieutenants/Deputy Superintendents

Lt. Brian Blackie
W.G. Fox
Edgar Francis
Lt. Holley
Mr. Horst
John Hosegrove
Steve Jurkus
Lou Ann Lucier
Asst Sup Bill Miller
Richard Mothersole
Mary Peoples
Bill Polan
Lt. Sivier
Robert Smalley
Mel Stewart
Sgt Mike Wasylyk
Dave Wilson                     SR



Filed under Growth

21 responses to “People of the York Road Jail Lands

  1. Arnold Weirmeir

    Mernie Weirmeir was my brother. He is now deceased. His first name was properly spelled Murney not Mernie.

  2. tom browning

    its nice to see some one trying to keep the history of the o r or as a lot of people know by its name as g c c

  3. Sheron Chisholm

    Is there any history of a guard with last name Stones working at the facility around 1928-1940. I believe he died in 1940. He was my mother’s adoptive father and I don’t know his first name or any other history about him. I know he worked in the wood-working area and mom told me the prisoners made toys and furniture for her father to bring home to her.

  4. Charyl Brooker

    My father was Werner Dencker. He’s gone now but it sure would be neat to see some of his old mates.. Ed Keenan, Carl Friday… anyone know ?

  5. Sheron Chisholm

    do you know I could get a list of guards who worked at guelph reformatory from 1930-1935?

  6. craig hillen

    just to update, you missed a few Lieutenants from Wellington. 1.) Terry McGuire (retired), Larry Harrington (retired), and Craig Hillen (CECC)

    • Scott Roberts

      Hello Craig, Might you know Wally Hillen. Did you have a relative by the name of Benjamin Hillen who was a guard at the old Wellington County Jail in the 1800’s? Scott

  7. Ron DeMerchant

    Just saw this! Cool.
    Funny, they missed me.
    Lt. Ron DeMerchant.
    But, I guess it’s cause I moved on in the OPS to better horizons after 14.5 years at “the OR”. Though I think back fondly sometimes….

    There was also Lt. Tom Sawyer.

    Were Derek Cayton, Bob Joyce, Jake Goetz, Danny Blaskievich, and Bob Randall ever Sergeants?If not, they should list all the Corporals too here!

    And the CO’s too for that matter. There are a lot of great people who lived life “on the instalment plan” keeping the bad guys in and the public safe and watching each other’s back:
    Syd Malcolm, Dave Kelly, Ron Barber, Dave Ussher, Ron Socket, Joyce Good, Brian Good, Maggie Horner, Harry Donley, Scott Roberts, Ruby Hayward, John Schertzer, Nick Brouwer, Brian Porter, Peter Carberry, John Kryzwonos, etc. etc.
    My apologies to those who don’t jump to front of mind at the moment!!

    • cliff hanger


  8. Jim Cassidy

    Another name for your list is Jim Cassidy. He was a Deputy Superintendent at GCC before going to the Guelph Jail as Superintendent and then to Wellington Detention Center. He later became Superintendent of Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre and retired in 1996 as Deputy Regional Director, Western Region in London. Certainly was interesting to see a number of names that we worked with and brought back many memories of the years spent in Guelph. JAC

  9. Mellissa Gilbert

    Bruce Gilbert is a name left off this list. He worked at GCC from early 70s until 90s then transfered to Northern Treatment Center in Sault Ste Marie and now works in the new Windsor Jail. His name is left off this list.

  10. Christopher

    Hello every one my name is Christopher Tyler Cormier and I am someone looking for my father. I was born in 1987 and my father was a prisoner at the Guelph Correctional Center where the O.R is and my mother was working at the Better Beef at the time I need help finding him or to see a picture of him. My mother past away on June 13 2006 from a motorcycle accident in the states.her name was Louise Cormier. I am now 29 trying to find my father his name is vern chouskie I think that’s how you spell his last name and he is native but if any body nows his whereabouts or if he is still in prison pleas get back to me I know that they transferred all the prisoners to Maple Hurst in Milton butt they won’t give me any information so what I was thinking is if there was anyway that I can see records of prisoners that were held at the Guelph Correctional Center please let me know thank you. Truly Chris Cormier

  11. dan

    I was an inmate at the Guelph Reformatory in 1964-1965 when I was 16 years old..They put me to work cleaning cellblocks and later in the tailor shop but I spent most of my time working in the bull gang.

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