From battlefields to castles, Canada is home to many historical points of interest, with many of them reportedly haunted with many Canadian ghost stories to be told. Here’s a rundown of the 17 most haunted places in Canada!
1. St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Originally built back in 1853, St. Francis Xavier University merged with Mount St. Bernard College (a local Catholic school for girls) in 1894. One of the nuns working at Mount St. Bernard, who legend has it, fell in love and had an affair with a priest of St. Francis Xavier. As her religion forbid this kind of thing, she was humiliated. Not being able to live with the guilt, it’s reported she leaped to her death from a balcony in Gilmora Hall. Staff and students now refer to her as the Blue Nun. It’s believed she haunts the halls and residences of the Campus, turning on taps, knocking on doors, knocking over books, and on occasion, she has been known to appear!
2. Dunvegan Provincial Park, Fairview, Alberta
The site of one of Alberta’s very first fur trade posts, Dunvegan Provincial Park, is believed to be home to many paranormal goings-on. One of the most common reports is the ghost of a woman, who is believed to have frozen to death one fateful night whilst out searching for her husband during an unrelenting snowstorm. Many eye witness accounts report the sighting of a lantern seen flickering in the distance, right where the woman’s body was found.
There is a common sighting of a priest who’s seen sitting at a desk in the rectory. He’s also been seen by passers-by standing up looking out of a window. A common claim at the park is the feeling of being watched throughout, in particular around the Dunvegan bridge, where the ghost of a woman dressed in a long white hooded cloak and bare feet has been witnessed. Her figure has also been spotted around the mists coming in from the river.
3. Ottawa Bytown Museum, Ottawa, Ontario
Situated on the Rideau Canal’s lower locks on the Ottawa River, the museum was originally built way back in 1827 by the British military to store coins and supplies. It wasn’t until the 1950s when it was converted to what is now Ottawa’s premier museum, gallery, and historic site.
The reports from this location center around two male spirits, Duncan McNab and Colonel John By, respectively. Many a report points to the spirits of both men competing for the spot of the top ghost! The apparition of a man has been seen wandering the rooms, with the male figure taking a shine to groups, often appearing at the back of the room only to disappear into thin air as soon as he’s seen. The staff has often reported the distinct sounds of two men arguing with some conviction. One of the most famous hauntings of the museum surrounds the dolls, which have been known to move positions by themselves at night!
One particular report stands out from one of the volunteers at the museum. He believed that McNab’s ghost was the most prominent male spirit, though this theory was tested one particular night when his computer’s power went off by itself. When it rebooted, he witnessed the words “Lt. -Col. John By,” repeatedly written all over his screen!
4. Government House, Regina, Saskatchewan
One of the most infamous Canadian haunted houses – recently refurbished to its original 1890’s grandeur, The Government House was the residence of the former lieutenant governor of Saskatchewan. Guests today can take a tour and take in its history and its distinctive architecture for themselves. If you’re lucky (or unlucky), you might bump into one of its resident ghosts. One ghost who goes by the name of “Howie” may be waiting for you, as his apparition has been seen on many occasions, mainly in the kitchen. He is believed to be the ghost of the former cook of Archibald Peter McNab, who was the lieutenant governor of Saskatchewan from 1936 to 1945. Howie is also known to be the source of disembodied footsteps, repeatedly opening and shutting doors, and moving objects.
Other reports within the building include people seeing faces in the mirror next to their own and the mysterious sounds of children laughing and babies crying in the dead of night! Unexplained cold spots are often experienced mainly in what was the nursery wing of the house.
5. Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, Toronto, Ontario
Toronto itself is a hotbed of paranormal activity, and one location that never fails to disappoint is the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, located on the inner harbor of Centre Island. Visiting this eerie-looking structure and you may witness the ghost of the lighthouse’s very first keeper, John Paul Radelmuller. Muller is reported to have died back in 1815, 7 years after the lighthouse was built, but not much is known about the cause. It is believed by many that Muller was a bootlegger, and one night a group of Fort York soldiers wanted to enjoy some of his booze, but he allegedly refused and, already drunk, the soldiers murdered him. They apparently dismembered his body, leaving parts of it all around the lighthouse. His ghost has been seen dashing up to light the beacon during stormy weather and wandering around the grounds accompanied by moaning sounds.
6. Tranquille Sanatorium, Kamloops, BC
This sanatorium near Kamloops, BC, was built in 1907 to house patients suffering from tuberculosis. The building was closed briefly in 1958, reopening again a year later with its primary focus on those who have a mental illness. It remained open until 1983, when it eventually closed again. If you visited this abandoned building today, you’d likely witness any number of paranormal reports. Those brave enough to investigate have often witnessed what looks to be the outline of figures standing at the windows. People have also claimed to hear children’s crying from the eighth floor (once the pediatric wing) and floating orbs throughout.
7. Fairmont Empress, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BCSTAY HERE
Our next stop on this whirlwind display of real Canadian ghost stories brings us to the Fairmont Empress Hotel. The Fairmont Empress is a luxurious Victorian hotel situated in the heart of Victoria. Listed as a National Historic Site of Canada due to its national significance and playing host to royalty, movie stars, and many famous people, the hotel is also known for guests of the ghostly variety!
Guests and staff alike have reportedly witnessed the slender apparition of a man strolling down the halls, sporting a mustache and carrying a cane. He’s believed to be the former architect Francis Rattenbury. There is a maid who’s decided to stay beyond death to carry on the job she loved so much during her life. Guests often see the ghost of a young girl in one particular room.
Another story comes from way back in 1960 when a construction worker working on the buildings’ west tower claimed to have seen a black shadow form then begin to swing from the ceiling. It’s reported that this could have been the spirit of another worker who had hung himself in the same location a year earlier!
8. Seal Island, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia
This island in southwestern Nova Scotia is apparently the home of the ghost of Annie Lindsey, who is believed to have died when her lifeboat overturned after the ship she was on (SS Ottawa) was shipwrecked off the island in 1891. Her body was buried in the East End Churchyard, and visitors can still see her grave marker to this day. Local legend says there was evidence she was buried alive after her coffin was disinterred years later. Her ghost can be seen wandering the churchyard and surrounding areas.
9. Ottawa Jail Hostel, Ottawa, OntarioBOOK NOW
Serving as Ottawa’s jail for over 100 years, the jail closed in 1972. A year after that, it reopened as a hostel and has served as an ideal stopover for budget travelers from all over the world. Due to its past use as a jail, there’s been a lot of individual turmoil, including three executions, including the infamous hanging of Patrick J. Whelan, who was sentenced to death after being found guilty of murdering Thomas D’Arcy McGee, one of Canada’s Fathers of Confederation.
Guests and staff have witnessed so much activity at this location, including disembodied voices, being touched by unseen hands, and apparitions. One of the apparitions is said to be Whelan, who has been known to appear throughout the building but most unnervingly of all, at the foot of guests’ beds!
You can still book to stay at the hostel, with rooms coming in the three-by-nine variety (including modern comforts, of course).
10. Peggy's Point Lighthouse, Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
The site of the famous landmark, Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, Peggy’s Cove is also the home to the spirit of the lady in blue. Local legend tells the story of an immigrant woman who moved to the area whilst her children still lived in Europe. Although she had remarried in Canada, she missed her children massively and would often walk down to the rocks to gaze out to sea. On one particular night, she walked down to the rocks together with her husband, and in an attempt to cheer her up, he danced for her on the slippery rocks – though he tragically slipped and fell to his death. She would return a short time later to the spot where he died, then proceeded to walk into the water where she disappeared, her body never to be seen again. Many people have witnessed her ghost, dressed in blue, walking across the rocks and standing as if ready to jump, only when she’s approached her apparition disappears into thin air!
11. West Point Lighthouse, O'Leary, Prince Edward Island
The famous black and white stripes of the West Point Lighthouse are a popular site for many tourists worldwide, though what lies within not many people know. The ghost of the original lighthouse keeper, William McDonald, haunts its halls and the surrounding grounds. The lighthouse also caters to guests as it operates as an inn, with past guests reporting his apparition standing in their rooms in the dead of night. You may also be able to catch the apparitions of flaming ships that have been known to pass by the shoreline here.
12. Bastion Square, Victoria, BC
Situated downtown, Bastion Square is the center of the hustle and bustle in Victoria. If you want to find a great place to eat or for some retail therapy, then this is the area you want to be in. However, when the sun goes down, the place takes on a whole new persona, with many people believing it’s the most haunted place in Victoria. This statement certainly carries weight as it reportedly has the highest concentration of ghosts in all Victoria.
The site of the city’s old Supreme Court was built on the same spot that the city’s first gallows and jail once stood. The tree that stands beside it was believed to have been where the hanging rope was situated and where many people died. Many of the men who had their lives ended here are buried beneath the buildings’ foundations.
The Maritime Museum is another of the haunted buildings in the square. It’s reportedly home to the spirit of Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, “the hanging judge.” It’s also a popular spot for many ghost hunters, with regular ghost tours running here on the build-up to Halloween.
13. Plains of Abraham, Quebec City, Quebec
The Plains of Abraham is the site of one of the most famous battles in Canada’s history. Fought over a period of 3 months in 1759, it was a battle between the British forces of Major General James Wolfe and the French forces of Major General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, who were barricaded in Quebec City. Being a location of such historical significance, it’s little wonder that there have been so many paranormal reports, with a common occurrence being the sighting of ghostly soldiers appearing and then disappearing throughout the area. Both Major’s died during the battle, and many believe they are still waging war against one another, even after death.
14. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, BC
Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC – widely believed to be one of the most haunted houses in Canada. Situated atop a hill overlooking the city, the mansion was built over a period of 3 years from 1887. It was financed by a wealthy Scottish immigrant named Robert Dunsmuir, who had accrued his vast wealth from Vancouver Island coal. Robert died before its completion in 1889, leaving his estate to his wife, Joan, who would go on to live here with their two sons and eight daughters.
Rumors of the castle being haunted have been going strong for years, but the current owners do not give the reports any credence, instead choosing to deny the place being haunted whatsoever. Many visitors have reported seeing the apparitions of a little girl and a maid. Another bit of activity reported multiple times is that of a pair of disembodied feet running up and down the stairs. Strange music has also been heard several times too. A visitor has also witnessed the apparition of a man ascending the stairs!
15. The Old Spaghetti Factory, Vancouver, BC
Next on our foray into the most haunted places in Canada is the Old Spaghetti Factory. Constructed in 1912, the Old Spaghetti Factory in Vancouver has gained quite a reputation for not only being a great place to dine out but a hotspot of ghostly activity. At least four ghosts reside here permanently, who knows how many others. Set right in the middle of the restaurant is a British Electric streetcar from the 1950s, and with it, the spirit of the conductor who once called it his workplace before dying in a train crash. The other three spirits tied to the restaurant include a red-headed man who likes to surprise women in the washroom, a chatty girl holding a balloon, and a young boy named Edward.
16. Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa, OntarioSTAY HERE
The Fairmont Chateau is a grand hotel based in Ottawa. Its past guests stretch back over 100 years, including everyone from world leaders to the showbiz elite. If grandeur and a haunting or two are what you like to see in a hotel, this is a great place for you to hit the hay!
The most well known of the ghosts residing here is the hotel’s former owner, American-born Charles Melville Hays. Unfortunately, Hays wasn’t alive to see the hotels’ grand opening on April 26, 1912, as he was a passenger on the ill-fated ship, the Titanic. He’s believed to have returned to the hotel after death to oversee its development and make sure it is exactly as he had wished it to be. Staff state he comes across as mean, as he’s been known to break objects and opens doors when he pleases. If you’re lucky or unlucky, depending on which way you’re inclined, he may appear whilst you’re walking down the hallways.
17. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, AlbertaBOOK NOW
The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel – perhaps the most popular of all Canadian hauntings and regarded by many as the most haunted of all the haunted locations in Canada! The Fairmont Banff Springs claims to have a ghost whom they refer to rather affectionately as Sam the Bellhop. So attentive to guests whilst alive, he has carried on this dutiful nature even after death. In his full 60’s uniform, he has been witnessed helping guests into locked hotel rooms, turning on room lights, or even helping guests with bags. He’s often seen on the 9th floor, and if you try and conversate or tip him, he’s known to vanish before your eyes.
In addition to Sam, the hotel also plays host to several other ghosts, including the apparition of a bartender, a bride dancing in the ballroom, and apparitions outside of a secret room.
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