These Are Some of the Most Haunted Places in Canada
With Halloween less than a week away, the most ghostly night of the year will soon be here. For many, the perfect way to get into the festive spirit is to get spooked, and there’s no better way to do that than by checking out some of the most haunted places in Canada.
As it turns out, Canada has hundreds of buildings and public spaces where spirits are said to wander and give all who visit the creeps for real. At these places, it’s typical for disturbing things to happen, including visitors hearing eerie sounds, having incomprehensible visions, and even unexplained emotions when they walk into a room. And chances are, that there’s likely one of these places not far from where you are now.
Regardless of where you call home, there are ample opportunities across the country to take the night’s scare-factor up a notch via visits to these (allegedly) haunted places.
From historic homes and restaurants, to hotels and lighthouses, Canada is home to several creepy and supposedly cursed destinations, and we’ve listed our top picks for you below.
Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC
This Victorian-era Craigdarroch castle was built for Robert Dunsmuir, a coal-miner, and his family in the 1890s. However, Dunsmuir died before its completion, and the castle remained in his family’s possession until the death of his widow. Today, there are rumours of a mysterious piano that plays by itself as well as sightings of a ghostly woman in white that have frequently been reported.
Tranquille Sanatorium: Kamloops, BC
Located just outside of Kamloops, the Tranquille Sanatorium was originally built in 1907 as a treatment centre for tuberculosis sufferers and later served as a mental institution before ultimately being abandoned in the early ’80s. After sitting empty for decades, people have reported feeling a penetrating eeriness when they visit the site, which is home to multiple buildings and even mysterious tunnels that connect underground. According to some reports, visitors have said they’ve seen a mother crying for her child on the sixth and eighth floors, while others have reported hearing the voices of kids playing in the children’s ward or seeing bright orbs near the main entrance. Tranquille Farm Fresh now operates on the site and has given tours in past years, but due to COVID, the tours are currently closed.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel: Banff, AB
The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is known for being one of Canada’s most well-loved hotels, but it’s also rumoured to be one of the most haunted places in the country. Built in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the landmark hotel is the site of numerous terrifying ghost sightings, including an entire family murdered in room 873, a bride who allegedly died falling down the hotel’s marble staircase, and a retired head bellman named Sam McAuley who died in 1976 and is said to wander the hotel dressed in full uniform while helping guests with their luggage.
Darke Hall: Regina, SK
Darke Hall, the music and arts venue at the University of Regina, opened in 1929 and was formerly a military storage unit and a schoolhouse, where students and children were quarantined and died after a typhoid epidemic. Today, it’s still a go-to place to watch musical performances, but rumour suggests that the ghost of Francis Darke, the building’s namesake, likes to sneak into concerts and disappear when the show is over. Many people who have performed have claimed to spot Darke wearing a top hat sitting in the same seat.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse: Toronto, ON
Legend has it, this lighthouse on the Toronto Islands is haunted by its first keeper — John Paul Radelmüller — who was reportedly murdered here, gruesomely, in 1815. Soldiers from Fort York came searching for bootlegged beer on January 2 of that year, the tale goes. After too much drink, a fight broke out, resulting in Radelmüller’s murder and then dismemberment.
The Keg Mansion: Toronto, ON
Come for the steak, stay for the rare ghostly encounters. “The sound of phantom children running and playing is heard in the upper floors and kitchen,” says torontoghosts.org. This may be because a small child reportedly fell down the stairs and died in this home many years ago. One of the mansion’s inhabitants, Lillian Massey, allegedly fell sick and died here, which led to a maid hanging herself. The latter’s apparition can be seen dangling over the main foyer, according to the stories.
Chateau Laurier: Ottawa, ON
Business tycoon Charles Melville Hays commissioned the Fairmount Château Laurier, located in downtown Ottawa. However, he never saw the completion, as he died tragically aboard the Titanic just days before the hotel’s grand opening in 1912. It’s been rumoured that Hays’ spirit has been seen roaming throughout the property, and many hotel employees and guests have reported strange noises and ghost sightings since.
Plains of Abraham: Quebec City, QC
In 1759, French and British soldiers fought for control of New France on this historical field, now called Battlefields Park. Marquis of Montcalm was the commander on the French front, and James Wolfe was the commander on the English front. Both of these men died during the battle and 658 English casualties and 650 French casualties, totalling over 1,000 perished souls in just one day. Today, there have been numerous sightings of ghostly soldiers appearing throughout the fields and tunnels and smells of cannon smoke.
The Five Fishermen Restaurant: Halifax, NS
What is now a popular and well-known seafood restaurant was once Halifax’s first morgue for bodies recovered from two horrifying events: the Halifax explosion and the Titanic. The old embalming room has since been converted to a private dining room. Both employees and guests have reported seeing glasses fall off of shelves, dropping cutlery, sounds of footsteps, flickering lights, taps mysteriously turning on, and a woman crying. A little girl has also been spotted in the women’s washroom.
West Point Lighthouse: O’Leary, PEI
Known for being Canada’s first lighthouse inn, this famous site and popular PEI tourist destination is said to be haunted by the first keeper of the lighthouse, William MacDonald. Following his death in 1934, rumours have swirled that Willie haunts the West Point Lighthouse Inn, located next door. There are also stories about phantom ships on fire that have been seen off the coast. Legend has it that one is a pirate ship whose sailors are ill-fated to sail the seas forever.
Main image via bruce.ikenberry.photography