Canada's 10 Most Haunted Places
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to revel in Canada’s urban legends and tales of things that go bump in the night. Check out these 10 Canadian locales that are rumored to be the settings of spooky paranormal activity.
by Martha Li for readersdigest.ca
Spooks, specters and spirits abound, Canada is rich with ghost stories and tales of the supernatural. We’ve rounded up the most skin-crawling locations Canada has to offer, so you can find out whether there really is something to all these spooky tales (that is, if you think you can handle it). Read on to discover where you’re most likely to find things that go bump in the night…
1. Keg Mansion, Toronto, Ont.
Today, it’s one of many locations of the Keg steakhouse franchise, but the Keg Mansion was once the private residence of industrialist Hart Massey and his family. As legend has it, in 1915, after the death of Massey’s beloved only daughter, Lillian, one of the maids was so stricken by grief that she hung herself. Another version of the story involves the maid killing herself for fears her rumored affair with a Massey man would be revealed. Either way, the ghostly image of a maid hanging by her neck has been seen by more than one Keg visitor over the years.
2. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta
Thought the Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho or Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining were scary accommodations? Banff Springs Hotel may be one of Canada’s most picturesque hotels, but it’s also rumored to be one of the country’s most haunted. Built in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, this hotel is the site of numerous terrifying ghost sightings, including a murdered family in room 873, a bride who died falling down the hotel’s marble staircase, and a retired bellhop named Sam Macauley who continues to haunt the hotel dressed in full uniform.
3. Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa, Ont.
Business Tycoon Charles Melville Hays commissioned the Fairmount Château Laurier, but died tragically aboard the Titanic just days before the hotel’s grand opening in 1912. Hays’ spirit has since been rumored to be seen roaming throughout the property. Had we invested our time and money into crafting the lavish Château, only to die mere days before its completion, we’d likely be inclined to return as well.
4. The Old Spaghetti Factory, Vancouver, B.C.
It’s been said that the ghost of a train conductor still haunts this popular eatery built atop an old underground railway track. Inexplicable cold drafts and mysteriously rearranged table settings are the calling card of the deceased conductor. Making matters truly skin tingling is a photograph of the 1950s-era, decommissioned electric trolley now featured in the restaurant’s dining room. The photo depicts hints of “a ghostly figure”, believed to be the train conductor, standing on the steps of the trolley.
5. Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto, Ont.
Prior to serving as Canada’s hockey shrine, this building was once a Bank of Montreal. Legend has it that a lonely bank teller named Dorothy took her own life after her romantic advances were rejected by the bank’s manager. Dorothy’s ghost is now believed to occupy the Hockey Hall of Fame, with some visitors reporting they heard inexplicable sounds of a woman crying throughout the building.
6. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, B.C.
Built in the 1890s for coal miner Robert Dunsmuir and his family, this Victorian-era mansion has since become an eerie Canadian tourist attraction. Rumors of a piano that plays by itself, and sightings of a ghastly woman in white have frequently been reported. Many attribute the castle’s supernatural proclivity to Dunsmuir’’s untimely demise just a year before the building was completed.
7. Plains of Abraham, Quebec City, Que.
In 1759, Major General James Wolfe and British soldiers staged a three-month siege of Quebec City against the French army, culminating in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Being the location of one of the most famous battles in Canadian history, it’s no wonder there have been numerous sightings of ghostly soldiers appearing throughout the Plains’ fields and tunnels. Both Wolfe and French Major General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm died in the battle – and we can’t help but wonder whether their spirits are still battling it out to this day.
8. Maritime Museum of B.C., Victoria, B.C.
The dearly departed seem to have a fondness for the city cheekily known as the place for the “newly-wed and nearly-dead”. Located in Victoria’s well-known Bastion Square is the Maritime Museum, which was once the site of the city’s jail and gallows. Some say that if you look through the windows at the Museum’s entrance, a shadowy, slender, Van Dyke-bearded figure can be spotted gliding down the main staircase. The mysterious apparition is thought to be the ghost of Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, Victoria’s infamous “Hanging Judge”.
9. Government House, Regina, Sask.
This building, completed in 1891, has been the site of several reported hauntings over the years. Strange occurrences such as doors opening and closing on their own, the shuffling of footsteps, and eerie faces appearing in the reflections of mirrors have all been reported.
10. West Point Lighthouse, O'Leary, P.E.I.
The sight of a lighthouse, bathed in pitch black darkness, conjures up all sorts of frightful possibilities. Rumors have long swirled that the first keeper of the lighthouse, Willie, haunts the West Point Lighthouse Inn located next door. Talk about a turndown service you’d never want to get!