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Exterior view of Kingston pen.

Tibor Kolley/The Globe and Mail

If you hoped to tour the country's most notorious prison and don't already have a ticket, you're out of luck.

For three weeks starting Oct. 2, visitors will be able to tour Kingston Penitentiary, the formidable maximum security facility that has housed Canada's worst criminals.

The tours, guided by Correctional Service Canada volunteers, are a fundraiser for the United Way in Kingston, Ont.

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The United Way said Wednesday that the $20 tickets for the 90-minute, daytime tours have sold out for all dates.

For those who take the tour, there will, however, be no chance to glimpse the likes of schoolgirl killer Paul Bernardo or Russell Williams, the disgraced air-force colonel who murdered two women.

The last of the inmates will have been moved out before the tours start and the 130-year-old institution will be permanently shuttered as a penitentiary Sept. 30.

The Kingston Penitentiary officially opened June 1, 1835 and was one of the oldest prisons in continuous use in the world.

It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990 but its post-prison future remains uncertain.

The federal government announced its closing last year as one of three penitentiaries to be shut down, saying the aged facility was no longer suitable or cost-effective.

Citing unspecified privacy concerns, Correctional Service Canada refused to say when the last of its inmates would be moved to other Canadian prisons.

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