|The Square, Goderich.|
|Huron County Courthouse.|
Wikimedia Commons, Rjsbird287 CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0
|Huron County Gaol.|
Photo from Bruce Forsyth's page CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
The uncanny resemblance between the Goderich Gaol design and that of the Square may be mere coincidence, as may be the octagonal shape coinciding with the eight letters of the town’s name, or it may have been deliberate. Certainly an octagon is a very unusual shape for a town 'square' and has few precedents beyond a utopian town layout found in Northern Italy [Palmanova] and in unbuilt town designs from the Renaissance. (Town of Goderich, Downtown Core Master Plan [May 14, 2012], p. 6 n. 1)These observations conjure a dystopian theme, setting Goderich in the ambit of an all-seeing authority. This motif may find an echo in the Calvinism of the area's settlers, but I won't pursue it. While the region has its dark history, including the miscarriage of justice in the Truscott case, this was before my brief time there. No overbearing authority loomed in my childhood experience of the place. By then, the gaol had already become a museum, and the courthouse seemed barely occupied, a place people visited to pay parking tickets (if they ever went there at all).