Hunting out Canada’s haunted hotels

Original photo credits: Hosteling International

Photo credits: Hostelling International

Our country is home to thousands of haunted locales where you might stumble across a supernatural spectre. Here are a few reportedly haunted places you can close your weary eyes – if you dare.

Victoria, British Columbia

Claiming to be the most haunted city in the province, Victoria is home to the beautiful Fairmont Empress, one of the oldest and most famous hotels in the city. Built between 1904 and 1908, the Empress is home to more than just living, breathing, paying guests.

The apparition of thin mustached man walking the halls with a cane is thought to be of the building’s architect, Francis Rattenbury, while a maid has been seen on the sixth floor still cleaning after her death and a little girl is said to haunt a room. Guests have reported an elderly woman in pajamas knocking on their door, seeking help in finding her room. The helpful guests are led toward the elevator before she vanishes. She’s believed to be a ghost that once haunted the room she died of natural causes, but that room was demolished to make room for more elevators. During the 1960s, a construction worker working on the west tower’s top floor saw a shadowy form swinging from the ceiling; apparently another worker hung himself there a year earlier.

Ottawa, Ontario

Built in 1862 next door to the courthouse and connected by a tunnel, the Carleton County Gaol was the site of the hanging of Patrick J. Whelan in 1869. Now a hostel operated by Hostelling International, staff and guests have reported that Whelan’s spirit continues to roam the Ottawa Jail Hostel and will appear at the end of guests’ beds or in his death-row cell.

Outside the Ottawa Jail Hostel. Photo credit: Hostelling International

Outside the Ottawa Jail Hostel. Photo credit: Hostelling International

The hostel’s beautiful architecture, original stone and brick materials and authentic jail cell rooms make for an interesting place to stay while visiting the Ottawa region.

The old jail cell floor of the Ottawa Hostel. Photo credit: Hostelling International

The old jail cell floor of the Ottawa Hostel. Photo credit: Hostelling International

Montreal, Quebec

The Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, completed in 1958, is one of the youngest hotels in our list. A ghostly woman in white is rumoured to wander the halls, frightening guests. Reports of guests being touched and pushed by invisible presences, unexplained noises and mysterious knocks and footsteps abound. Though John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous Bed-in at the hotel in 1969, culminating in the recording of Give Peace a Chance, the former Beatle is not believed to be part of the ghostly inhabitants.

St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Built in 1889, The Algonquin, in New Brunswick’s charming town of St. Andrews by-the-Sea, is one of Canada’s most legendary resorts. This meticulously restored hotel offers elegant guest rooms, contemporary dining, indoor and outdoor pools, waterslide, a pampering spa, private beach, manicured gardens, golf course and yes, a few otherworldly guests, if the stories are to be believed.

Tales are told of a disappearing bellhop, a long-dead former night watchman walking up the back staircase and clanging his keys on the railing and an older lady who rearranges the table settings in the dining room late at night. A few rooms have special stories, including 473, 308 and 373.

Tens of thousands of visitors patronize these accommodations each year without incident – will you be the next to see a spooky guest at one of them?

Sarah Deveau
Sarah began freelance writing for the Calgary Herald at the age of 15. Since then, she’s written hundreds of feature articles, book reviews and business, restaurant and individual profiles for magazines and newspapers across Canada. Sarah has three daughters who sometimes accompany her on her travels, and she blogs at Doing All The Things. You can read some of her other travel pieces at http://sarahdeveau.wordpress.com/.
Found in Halloween, Travel
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