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31 Oct 2009


Canada an ideal Halloween haunt for ghost seekers

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The Don Jail, built between 1862 and 1865, is located in Toronto's Riverdale neighbourhood.

Sandie Benitah, ctvtoronto.ca

Canada may have the reputation of being a safe place to live, but that doesn't mean our country can't be downright scary.


According to some ghost experts, our country is a genuine Halloween haunt with stories that have baffled even the most skeptical among us.


Here are 10 places around the country, in no particular order, that boast terrifying tales of unexplained sightings, mysterious murders and even some friendly ghosts.


1. St. Francis Xavier University, Mount St. Bernard College, Antigonish, Nova Scotia

This institution is one of the most talked about haunted places in all of Canada. From phantom elevators to sounds of voices, everyone who has ever spent time in the building has a story to tell. Freshman entering university are often initiated by a forced encounter with the ghost of a nun who committed suicide by jumping off the fourth floor balcony. Many have reported seeing her ghost wandering the halls and keeping a close eye on students as they sleep. An apparition of a priest, who reportedly drove the woman to her death, has often been seen lurking around the school's spiral stairway.


2. Fraser Cemetery, New Westminster, B.C.

Of course, cemeteries are often popular sites for paranormal activities and Fraser Cemetery is certainly no exception. Grieving families who have gone to visit loved ones report seeing a young woman dressed in a Victorian-era outfit walking through the graves. She's a friendly ghost, often waving at visitors before disappearing, many have said. Others have reported feeling pushed towards graves. One woman said she felt a hand on her back giving a gentle nudge but when she turned around no one was there.


3. Fort Erie, Ontario

As the site of one of Canada's bloodiest battlefields, there are several stories of ghosts that haunt the area, many of which match each other in details. Perhaps the most popular sighting is that of a headless soldier and his handless comrade. Legend has it that one American soldier was being shaved by another when they were both blasted by a British cannon ball. The blast tore the head off the man who was receiving the shave and the hands of the friend who was helping him out. A recent archeological dig in the area found remnants of a decapitated man and one burial spot over a skeleton of a man whose arms were severed below the elbow.


4. Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta

The ghost story out of the Banff Springs Hotel is a chilling tale involving a bride who met her tragic death on her wedding day. Guests of the hotel will notice a blocked off stairway today. That is where the lovely bride, decked in her long white dress, tripped and tumbled, breaking her neck fatally. Several guests have reported seeing an apparition of the young woman, still in her dress, roaming the hotel. There are a number of other stories too, including the one about a bellhop who has made the hotel's upper levels his permanent home. These stories have made the hotel one of the most haunted places in Alberta.


5. Government House Regina, Saskatchewan

The sounds of babies crying and children laughing aren't usually too scary but at Regina's Government House, these noises are proof that the building is still haunted by its past. Staff have reported seeing strange images in mirrors and doors opening and closing mysteriously. Many believe the main ghost is none other than Howie, the former cook of Lieutenant-Governor Archibald McNab. Howie is not a scary ghost, he just likes things his way in the kitchen. Staff members say he moves things around in the kitchen and paces the back stairs.



6. St. Louis Ghost Train, St. Louis, Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan has many ghost stories to boast about but mostly everyone in St. Louis knows the one about the ghost train in their town. Passing through this quiet village at night, one can't help but notice some eerie looking lights along a dirt road that used to be lined with train tacks. There's no train in sight of course but nonetheless, the headlights continue to appear as if a train was approaching. Many believe the lights belong to the ghost of an old train conductor who is still looking for his head after he was decapitated on the job. The conductor is said to have been decapitated by a passing train while he was doing a routine check of the tracks.


7. Old Montreal, Quebec

Old Montreal is a popular spot for tourists which may be why there are so many unbelievable stories coming out of this area. Legend has it that the area is haunted by the spirits of people - particularly a young girl -- that were killed in a raging fire in the 19th century. Others tell a story of a wandering prostitute, killed and decapitated by a fellow prostitute in 1879, who comes back to haunt the spot of her murder every few years.


8. Queen's Road, St. John's, Newfoundland

This road is considered to be one of the most active paranormal sites in the entire country. The most popular sighting is that of a headless man, believed to be an old captain who was murdered in 1745 his lover's jealous boyfriend. As legend goes, the captain was decapitated just as he stepped out of the woman's home. It is said he roams the grounds looking for the man who killed him and managed to escape persecution.


9. Princess Mary Victoria, Victoria, B.C.

Some of Victoria's most popular restaurants are located in heritage buildings making them the ideal place for ghost sightings. The Princess Mary Victoria -- an old passenger ship turned restaurant -- is one such place. It is said that the wife of the ship's former captain committed suicide at the wheelhouse of an oil tanker that was later brought in as an add-on to the restaurant. The eatery's kitchen staff say they don't mind her ghost too much when they find dirty dishes unexplainably cleaned and stacked away. They do get annoyed however when the over door suddenly flies open and their utensils mysteriously show up on the other side of the room.


10. Don Jail, Toronto

Hauntings coming out of the old Don Jail will always be a part of the prison's troubled history. The most retold story out of the jail has to do with a female prisoner who committed suicide in her cell, according to Torontoghosts.org. Her spirit, people say, always appears to be angry and agitated. The jail is also said to be haunted by Robert Turpin and Arthur Lucas, the last two men in Canada sentenced to capital punishment back in 1962.

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