Well ladies and gents, the spookiest time of the year is officially upon us.
And believe it or not, it just so happens that Toronto is one of the creepiest cities in Canada. For centuries, our beloved city has endured decades worth of unsettling activities and the stories are still being retold today.
From murders and executions, to suicides and tragic accidents, these incidents have resulted in some very eerie occurrences continuing throughout the city.
And as Halloween approaches, we thought it would be a good idea to share a roundup of the (allegedly) most haunted places you can find in Toronto.
What: Built in 1913, The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre is one of the last operating, fully restored Edwardian double-decker theatres in the world and just so happens to be home to a few spooky residents. Years ago, a girl allegedly was stabbed in the Wintergarden washroom on the 5th floor. Shen then dragged herself to the elevator, but no one came to her rescue and she died on the floor. Today, staff have reported that the elevator will travel up to the fifth floor, the doors open and there is no one around as well as mysterious cold spots throughout the theatre.
Where: 189 Yonge Street
What: Before becoming a place to shape young minds, Humber College Lakeshore was home to a string of insane asylums, psychiatric hospitals and hospitals for the insane since 1890. While in operation, the hospitals would use a ‘cottage system’ to help classify the patients and used a series of underground tunnels to connect the various buildings. Today, there have been various reports of ghost sightings on campus and eerie experiences on the site. These spooky instances include sightings of the ghost of a nurse who allegedly hung herself on one of the apple trees and now roams the halls at night. Other stories include students and faculty smelling strong, unusual scents in the F building, which is where the morgue used to be.
Where: 2 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive
What: Come for a steak, and you could potentially stay for a ghost encounter. The historic Keg Mansion was once the private residence of industrialist Hart Massey and his family. Rumour has it, during the family’s residency one of their distraught maids hung herself over the staircase. Over the years, numerous Keg guests have claimed they spotted the maid’s body dangling over the stairs, as well as countless sightings of children playing and the sense of someone watching them in the washroom.
Where: 515 Jarvis Street
What: Home to Toronto’s first mayor William Lyon Mackenzie, the Mackenzie House has since been coined as one of the eeriest spots in the city. It’s been reported that he’s been spotted lingering in his old bedroom, in addition to the ghost of a mysterious woman seen roaming the hallways. A rocking chair in the basement has also been spotted rocking by itself and the in-house printing press operating on its own.
Where: 82 Bond Street
What: When William Christie, founder of Christie Brown and Company, died in 1900, his stunning Victorian home was passed on to his son Robert. The tale goes that Robert lived in the home with his wife, but also secretly kept a mistress hidden in a windowless room. The imprisoned woman was never allowed to leave her room, and over time her loneliness and despair led her to hang herself. Years later, the house was turned into a female residence for U of T students, and there have been reports of a spirit haunting the mistress’s hidden room. Reports say the bedroom door would slam shut and lock itself, trapping students inside.
Where: 100 Wellesley Street West
What: It’s no wonder visitors and staff have reported seeing ghosts at this Toronto location, Queens Park was formerly home to an insane asylum in the mid-nineteenth century. Over the years, there have been four reoccurring spirits reported on the grounds, including a sorrowful ‘white lady’, a woman covering her face with an apron, an angry-looking soldier descending the grand staircase, and a woman dangling from a hook in an underground tunnel.
Where: 111 Wellesley Street West
What: The home of John and Jemina Howard, the original owners of High Park, is said to be haunted by the ghost of Jemina, who passed away in her bedroom in Colborn Lodge after a tragic battle with cancer. It’s been reported that visitors have spotted her ghost standing in the window of her bedroom, while others have noted feeling prickly sensations on the back of their necks, and experiencing unsettling visions during their tour of the park.
Where: 11 Colborne Lodge Drive
What: This 200-year-old historic manor is now connected to the AGO, but it’s also home to a number of spirits who reportedly still haunt the manor’s halls today. Past visitors have claimed to have seen a man in a yellow velvet coat roaming the hallways, as well as a woman wearing all black hanging near a second-floor bedroom. Rumour has it that the spirits are past writers that used to live in the building, including Goldwin Smith and Algernon Blackwood.
Address: 317 Dundas Street West
What: Located in Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood, the Don Jail was built around 1865 and was in operation until 1977. The jail was known for being overcrowded, for having inhumane conditions, and for its public hangings. Two of the most known hangings involved inmates Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas. On December 11, 1962, Turpin and Lucas were not only hung side-by-side, but their hangings were Canada’s last executions before capital punishment was abolished. Today, it’s rumoured that their ghosts have been spotted around the old jail grounds.
Where: 550 Gerrard Street East
What: Over the years, a number of eerie occurrences have taken place at Old City Hall with judges frequently feeling mysterious tugs on their robes, as well as hearing footsteps in the building’s rear staircase and muffled moans coming from the attic. Word on the street is that Courtroom 125 (formerly 33) is haunted by the ghosts of Turpin and Lucas, who were sentenced and charged here for their separate crimes before being hung.
Where: 60 Queen Street West
What: This historic manor is not only known for its stunning grounds and rich history, but also for its supernatural appearances. Over the years, both staff and visitors have reported seeing grey, ghostly masses in private areas within the property. The strange part is that there weren’t any reported deaths at the residence in the past, so the reason for these sightings is unknown.
Where: 285 Spadina Road
What: The lighthouse’s first keeper was a man by the name of John Paul Radelmüller, who was gruesomely murdered and dismembered by soldiers from nearby Fort York looking for bootlegged beer. Over the years, there have been claims of visitors sighting Radelmüller’s ghost climbing the tower in search for his body parts. This October, you can head to the island for an evening filled with ghost stories as part of Spooky Lagoons: Murder at the Lighthouse, which includes retellings of true island tales as told by an 85-year-old island resident, Jimmy Jones.
Where: The Toronto Island
Where: Considering how many gruesome battles took place on these grounds, how could Fort York not be haunted? Visitors and staff have reported sensing the eerie feeling of being watched, as well as hearing off noises, and allegedly seeing a mysterious woman roaming near the Officer’s Quarters and what resembled a soldier wearing a red coat near the entrance of the grounds after dark. If you’re up for the challenge, visitors are welcomed to partake in Fort York After Dark, which is a guided lantern tour of the area in the dead of night. Paranormal enthusiasts regularly report an eerie omnipresence while touring the area.
Where: 250 Fort York Blvd
What: To many, the HHOF is an iconic landmark known for being the home of the Stanley Cup. But prior to housing the cup, the HHOF was formerly a Bank of Montreal branch, which has allegedly become haunted by the ghost of Dorothy Mae Elliott, a nineteen-year-old bank teller who shot herself in the washroom. It’s been reported that employees and visitors have encountered flickering lights, windows and doors randomly opening and closing by themselves, the sounds of a woman moaning, and the eerie feeling of being watched.
Address: 30 Yonge Street
What: Ryerson students will be thrilled to hear that there’s a haunted spot right on campus. Built in the late 1800s, the Ryerson Theatre School was allegedly used as the Ontario College of Pharmacy building. Today, students and faculty have reported strange things happening inside the building, most frequently in the McAllister studio. There have been reports of people spotting the ghost of an unknown woman, an eerily cold spot in the studio and unexplained winds while windows were closed.
Where: 43 Gerrard Street East
What: One of Toronto’s most beloved concert venues opened in 1894, and is home to a number of mysterious visitors. Today there are reports of ghost sightings in Massey Hall, including a mysterious man in old-timey clothes who wanders around the backstage area in addition to an elderly couple spotted among the aisles late at night.
Where: 178 Victoria Street