Wilkie

Welcome to the Dictionary of Island Terms. Its purpose is to pin down the patois of Vancouver Island by recording its toponyms, nicknames, slang terms, personalities and places. Explore the ever-growing A-Z here.

Wilkie | place, colloquial | A legendary prison in Victoria, BC. Though it has been given many names over the years, it is most commonly referred to as “Wilkie”, which is short for Wilkinson Road Jail. At its launch in 1914, the sprawling property was known as the Saanich Prison Farm. Starting in 1919, it functioned as the Colquitz Provincial Mental Hospital for the Criminally Insane, back when farm labour was considered therapeutic. In 1964, it switched back to regular criminal incarcerations as the Oakalla Prison Farm (Vancouver Island Unit). It is now officially the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre. The new name (that only paper-pushers ever employ) was adopted in 1971, shortly before farming operations ceased. After many renovations, the imposing facade – with its crenelated battlements and turreted towers – is all that remains of Wilkie’s original construction.

Usage: “When we were kids we’d sometimes hear about prisoners breaking out of Wilkie and causing all kinds of crazy shit…”

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