Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, B.C. (Shutterstock)
With the haunting season upon us, many Canadians are prepping their Halloween costumes, flocking to the latest scary flick and even visiting popular haunted houses to get in the mood. Are you daring enough to visit one of these real haunted buildings?
Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, B.C.: This Victorian-era mansion was constructed in the 1890s as a home for coal baron Robert Dunsmuir and family, though Robert died a year before the castle was actually complete. There have been reports of the castle’s piano playing by itself after visiting hours, while others have reportedly seen a mysterious woman in white standing in the windows.
West Point Lighthouse, O’Leary, P.E.I.: This lighthouse was first lit on May 21, 1876. The first keeper of the lighthouse, Willie, is rumoured to haunt the next door West Point Lighthouse Inn, while others have reported seeing a flaming ship off the coast of O’Leary. The ship is thought to be a burning pirate schooner whose sailors are doomed to sail the seas forever.
St. Francis Xavier University, Mount St. Bernard College, Antigonish, N.S.: There have been several reports of hauntings at this Maritime university. Students have seen apparitions of nuns in the games room, elevators moving with no occupants inside, ghostly figures who watch you climb stairs and even the sounds of footsteps when no one is walking in the hallways.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, Toronto Islands, Toronto: This lighthouse was first lit in 1809 and just a few years later, the keeper, J.P. Radan Muller, was murdered by drunken soldiers looking for bootlegged beer. The soldiers were acquitted of any charges, but the ghost of Muller continues to wander near the lighthouse.
Plains of Abraham, Quebec City: The site of the 1759 Battle of the Plains of Abraham is full of apparitions who haunt passersby. Reports of soldiers appearing on the field and near the tunnels are almost as creepy as the smell of canon sulphur which can reportedly be detected wafting over the field at night.
Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg: This hotel was built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Canada. Cleaners have reported seeing objects fly from shelves and a woman who reportedly hung herself at the hotel crying in a corner.
Government House, Regina: This building, completed in 1891, has been the site of several reported hauntings over the years. The sound of a baby crying late at night, doors opening and closing and strange faces appearing in mirrors have spooked staff over and over.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alta.: This old rail hotel was constructed in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway and is the site of many rumoured hauntings. The mystery of room 873 is perhaps the most captivating. A family was reportedly murdered in this room, and though walls have been built over where the doorway once was, guests still report seeing ghosts of the family. Another rumour is that of the bride who fell down a staircase and broke her neck. The staircase is blocked off, but guests still report seeing a woman wandering the halls in a wedding dress.
Bytown Museum, Ottawa: This small museum was erected in 1827. It was first used as a storage building, then as a museum to commemorate Ottawa’s early history and the construction of the Rideau Canal. Several ghosts are said to haunt the museum and curators have reported televisions turning on and off, lights staying on after being turned off, unseen men shouting to “get out,” and dolls winking in the doll exhibit.
HI Ottawa Jail Hostel, Ottawa: This former prison was in operation for more than 100 years before being turned into a backpackers haven. Guests have reported several strange activities in the hostel, from clothing being scattered on the floor and doors without locks locking themselves, to mysterious encounters with ghostly figures.
- Nicole Feenstra