Friday the 13th has all sorts of connotations and associations, so we thought we’d celebrate some of Vancouver’s spookiest places to check out, even if Halloween is still a couple months away.
There are many possible origin’s of Friday the 13th being more than just a simple spot on a calendar. Some go all the way back to Jesus’ last supper. But, we won’t bore you with the details now.
Even though all of Vancouver looks a little scary right now with the wildfire smoke, maybe a spooky distraction will take your mind off of things.
While Vancouver’s haunted history is pretty creepy at times, it’s also incredibly fascinating.
Without further a-boo, here are Vancouver’s most allegedly haunted and spookiest places.
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The Cambie House
The history behind this house that sits on the corner of Cambie and King Edward is intriguing, to say the least.
Stories suggest that a ghastly murder allegedly took place in the basement of the house that was here prior to the existing one that was built.
There have been multiple stories that when new residents moved into the home, they would experience strange happenings, like waking up to all of their unpacked luggage and boxes repackaged at the entrance.
In unfortunate news for ghost hunters, this house will soon become a major development with a condo currently in the works.
The Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown
The Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown is a spot that is almost legendary for its ghost stories, and, obviously, the spaghetti.
One of the most popular tales is that the former conductor of the actual train car that sits inside the restaurant (pictured above), still lingers in the establishment, like the smell of fresh marinara.
Hycroft Manor, now the home of the University Women’s Club of Vancouver, was once the home of Alexander Duncan McRae, a prominent businessman and war hero of the Canadian Army.
This house used to be party central for the fat cats in the area, located in the stunning neighbourhood of Shaughnessy.
However, this was also the neighbourhood where a young woman named Janet Smith was allegedly murdered. Smith was a nanny who worked on Osler Street close by. It has also been alleged that the well-off people who attended these grand parties were involved in her suspicious death.
There have been stories that Smith’s ghost, beautifully dressed as if attending a party, still lurks behind the walls of Hycroft Manor.
Deadman’s Island, which is located near Stanley Park and is now officially known as HMCS Discovery Naval Reserve, is a piece of Vancouver history that is not well known.
During a smallpox outbreak in the late 1800s, this island was used as a “pest house,” which essentially means people were sent here to quarantine. If they got cured, they could come back, but many never did.
There have also been stories passed down about a legendary and deadly battle that once took place here to fight for ownership of the island, which resulted in many deaths.
Mountain View Cemetery
The only cemetery in Vancouver, Mountain View has a rich and sometimes dark history. During the Spanish Flu pandemic, things got so bad that bodies were being buried on top of bodies.
The spooky stories are endless, including one about a man named Simon who was buried in the middle of the street at Fraser and 33rd. This was apparently because the wagon he was being carried on broke down in the middle of the road in winter, and the undertakers were too lazy to take him to his actual burial site.
However, there’s also a piece of history here that is worth celebrating.
You’ve heard of Joe Fortes?
Sure, there’s a restaurant named after him in Downtown Vancouver, but Seraphim Joe Fortes, the man, is actually a Vancouver legend and a prominent figure in our local Black history.
Fortes was a lifeguard, celebrated for saving at least 30 kids from drowning. Mountain View Cemetery is his final resting place.
24 Water Street
24 Water Street was once an antique shop, but its history is full of twists and the paranormal. Decades ago, the store’s owner claimed to have walked into the store and found pieces of furniture turned upside down.
The Vogue Theatre
The iconic Vogue Theatre, which sits prominently on Granville Street, has its fair share of spooky stories.
The most prominent tale is in regards to a dark-haired man who staff members have reported seeing in different areas of the theatre.
The Vancouver Art Gallery
Fun fact: the Vancouver Art Gallery used to be a provincial courthouse.
One of the cases that took place in the early 1900s resulted in a brazen murder during a trial related to the Komagata Maru incident.
According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, art gallery staff sometimes find their desks rearranged, but they don’t blame the custodian.
It also suggests that a ghost named Charlie walks the halls at night.
St. Regis Hotel
While the Fairmont Vancouver generally gets spooky fame when it comes to Vancouver’s haunted history, the St. Regis, a luxury hotel in downtown, has its own spooky past.
Many pointed the finger at well-known lawyer Fred Baker after the death of Janet Smith.
In April of 1956, Fred Baker fell from the second floor of his hotel room at St. Regis. His death was reported to be a suicide.
Some suggest that Fred felt guilty about whatever happened in the Janet Smith situation, which ended with him taking his own life.
The Kosberg Residence
Warning: This section contains themes that some readers may find graphic.
If you haven’t heard of Thomas Kosberg, fasten your seat belt. This might be Vancouver’s spookiest tale.
It was December 10, 1965. Most people in the neighbourhood had their Christmas decorations up.
To most, Kosberg was a nice kid. However, he struggled with psychological issues.
Thankfully, he was seeing a psychiatrist to help him.
One night, Kosberg was preparing a chocolate concoction for his family of six. However, the drinks were laced with sleeping pills. When his father arrived home, the family was already asleep. Unfortunately, there was some left for Kosber’s dad. He drank it, and fell asleep as well.
Kosberg retrieved an axe from his father’s tool shed, and the rest, as they say, is history. Five members of his family were brutally murdered, with only his six-month-old brother surviving.
Kosberg was deemed insane and was assigned to Riverview Hospital until its closure, upon which he was released. He died in 2016.
The murder weapon can actually be seen at the Vancouver Police Museum.
A new house has taken the place of the former residence just off Main Street in Vancouver.