1937: New Haven opens for young adults

There was much discussion and support for a Borstal-type institution, particularly from community groups such as the John Howard Society, Vancouver Rotary Club, Oxford Group and Vancouver Centre Liberal Association. Established as the B.C. Training School, New Haven was established on the southeast side of Marine Drive in Burnaby at the end of 1937.

The facility housed 19 inmates with two staff. It was also one of the first initiatives in Canada to segregate young adult inmates in a separate institution from adults. This experiment was viewed as trend-setting for the rest of the country.

Superintendent A. McLead and Office and Educational Secretary Ernie Stevens were appointed to manage the facility. The institution was classified as a provincial gaol and subject to the rules governing such institutions. Its official policy, therefore, was custody.

A training program, based on the “honour system,” was implemented. (Inmates were trusted not to leave the property. In contrast to other gaols, there were no bars, cells or guards to prevent escape.) Designed to help offenders become useful citizens, New Haven empowered inmates to adapt to the community with the aid of supervision when discharged. Besides farm work, there were courses in placer mining, woodworking, first aid, English and elementary school. Vocational subjects could be taken through correspondence courses.

New Haven Correctional Centre closed in March 2001.


Ernie Stevens speaks about New Haven's administrative relationship with Oakalla.