It is easy to forget that the death penalty was an accepted aspect of Canadian culture and criminal justice until 1976. The Practice of Execution in Canada is not about what led some to the gallows and others to escape it. Rather, it examines how the routine rituals and practices of execution can be seen as a crucial social institution. Drawing on hundreds of case files, Ken Leyton-Brown shows that from trial to interment, the practice of execution was constrained by law and tradition. Despite this, however, the institution was not rigid. Criticism and reform pushed executions out of the public eye, and in so doing, stripped them of meaningful ritual and made them more vulnerable to criticism.