The Memorial Garden

Our Vision: The garden will memorialize women who have died in Canadian prisons, in particular the Kingston Prison for Women. This project will contribute to a greater understanding of the historical heritage of the Prison for Women beyond the architectural heritage features of the prison. Secondly, the memorial garden will also contribute to the value of the development in general, because it will provide a beautiful green space where anyone can sit and linger. Given the rise of prison tourism in Kingston, the garden may become an important part of presenting a different side of the history in the city.

History of the Memorial Garden Project

In 2007 Queen’s University purchased the P4W site for a reported $2.8 million—eight acres of prime real estate acquired at less than market value. In 2016, Elizabeth Fry Kingston asked Queen’s if we could create a memorial garden at P4W, but the request was not honoured. The site was then sold to Siderius Developments in 2017 for an undisclosed amount with plans to tear down the entire prison except for the front façade, developing it into expensive condominiums and a retirement residence branded as “Union Park”, which will erase or trivialize its history. The P4W Memorial Collective has since signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Siderius Developments, allotting us 1700 square feet to create a Memorial Healing Garden, which we are currently in the stage of development and fundraising.

Please consider a donation towards this project.

Every dollar will be put to good use.


Achillea Millefolium

Used for fever, cold and other respiratory disorders - Mi'kmaq, Atikamekw, Abenaki & Algonquin

Darts Gold Ninebark

Physocarpus Ninebark

A tea or wash from the inner bark was used for treating illness. The tea was also used to increase fertility. A root decoction was used for fomenting and for poulticing burns, sores, and wounds.

Eastern Red Columbine

Aquilegia Canadensis

Used for stomach troubles - Ojibwa

Black Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia Laciniata

Roots in a decoction for indigestion – Flowers with Agastacheto make a poultice for burns - Objibwa

Lady in Red Fern

Athyrium Felix-Formas

Used in traditional medicine worldwide to treat a wide variety of ailments

Blue Aster

Symphyotrichum Leave

Root chewed to treat toothache and teething pain. Tea used in fevers and to aid recover after childbirth – Cree



Treating liver conditions. Liverleaf is used to ameliorate liver problems

The Overlooked History of Women's Incarceration and Indigenous Marginalization in Canada

The current silence of P4W’s abandoned architectural carcass is a betrayal of the histories it housed. The age and emptiness of the buildings can easily mislead passers by to think that the painful facts of women’s incarceration in Canada and the painful facts of colonization are things of the past. Indigenous people are the most marginalized, least secure, and the most incarcerated in Canada.  The links between these facts were made clear in the Truth and Reconciliation Report.  Recommendation 30 of the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action says: “We call on federal, provincial, and territorial governments to commit to eliminating the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in custody over the next decade, and to issue detailed annual reports that monitor and evaluate progress in doing so.” This overrepresentation is especially acute for Indigenous women.  Since P4W closed, more Indigenous women have been imprisoned than any other segment of the population (increasing by 109% between 2001-2012). A memorial garden with art and educational panels acknowledging the connections between colonization, residential schools, violence against Indigenous women, and the lives and deaths of women incarcerated at P4W represents a unique opportunity for community engagement and public education. Moreover, it would contribute to Queen’s efforts to uphold its commitment to new nation-wide Principles on Indigenous Education.