This Saturday is Halloween and Torontonians are in the mood for thrills and chills. But your options aren't limited to watching the new Scream series on Netlifx and trudging up to Wonderland for the Halloween Haunt. There are actually a number of reputedly haunted locations all over Toronto. Like, a lot of them. So many that, if all are to be believed, it's hard to imagine people aren't tripping over ghosts left and right. That is, if it's even possible to trip over a ghost. Whatever the case may be, here are ten locations with amazing ghost stories.
1. University College
University College is the alleged home of one of Toronto's most famous spirits; Reznikoff. Ivan Reznikoff and Paul Diabolos were masons who worked on University College at UofT during its construction in the 1850s. Reznikoff is said to have been a large, hard drinking man, with facial features one would struggle to call attractive. Diabolos was known to be a slighter and more subtle man. The two were not friends; one of the gargoyles Diabolos carved at UC is apparently modeled after Reznikoff's unpleasant visage. The two were, of course, in love with the same woman. Bae was apparently betrothed to Reznikoff, but had been wooed by Diabolos and agreed to run off with him --and to steal Reznikoff's money. Reznikoff caught wind of the plan and quarreled with Diabolos. An oak door at the college still bears the mark of an axe-swing thought to be from Reznikoff. However, Diabolos's dagger did the deed and Reznikoff's body was unceremoniously dumped in a pit on top of which a tower was built. It wasn't until an 1890 fire that led to the discovery of Reznikoff's bones - apparently without his skull. His remains were buried nearby, but sleep-deprived students still claim to hear strange sounds and noises. Café Reznikoff is named in honour of the burly ghost.
2. 1 Spadina Crescent
You can find many a visual arts student who claims to have experienced weird sounds and sights in 1 Spadina Crescent. However, this is not a case of creative minds over-explaining an old building's creaks and bumps. Since its construction in 1875 as a theological college, the building went on to become a barracks, a military hospital, and a research lab (which held an eye bank - a room full of human eyes). If this colourful history weren't enough to incite paranormal rumours, the building was also the scene of two tragic deaths. In 2009, Leah Kubik fell to her death on what was reported as a first date/urban exploration/ghost hunt. And in 2001, David Buller, a lecturer at UofT was stabbed death inside the building in what remains an unsolved homicide.
3. Ryerson Theatre School
Gusts of wind, flickering lights, cold spots, and repeated sightings of a ghostly young woman make the Ryerson Theatre School building a favourite of paranormal enthusiasts. The building's previous life as a pharmaceutical school replete with a "body chute" for cadavers strengthens these claims. Indeed, the Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society conducted investigations here in 2007 and 2008. Their investigation discovered odd muffled voices and bizarre sounds, but nothing else. Most chilling is the tale of a student who was rehearsing on stage before seeing something that caused her to leave and never reenter the building.
4. Old City Hall
Photo cred - The Star
Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas were the last two men sentenced to death in Canada. They received their sentences in Old City Hall in 1962. Both were convicted of murder and there are doubts about both cases, particularly Lucas, who many believe never got a fair trial simply because he was black. Both men were hanged from the neck until death. Unlucky Lucas had his head come right off, spluttering blood everywhere. The ghosts of the two men are said to roam Old City Hall, justifiably grumpy and annoyed. They are also said to haunt the Don Jail where they were hanged. No word yet on whether or not there's a special TTC discount for ghosts.
5. The Keg Mansion
The edifice that is now known as the Keg Mansion was built in 1868 by Arthur McMaster. It’s most famous residents were the Massey family. As successful and influential as the Masseys were, their lives were not without tragedy. After the death of Lilian Massey, one of her maids hanged herself and the image of her lifeless corpse is still periodically seen dangling in the vestibule. Ghostly children have also been spotted and the women's washroom on the second floor has yielded the most paranormal experiences.
6. The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre
The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre was built in 1913. After its initial run ended in 1928, it hit a rough patch, was used as a cinema (often showing adult films), and fell into disrepair. After the Ontario Heritage Trust purchased the building in 1981, the theatre has bounced back, but still has traces of its past. The world's last remaining stacked Edwardian theatre has been reported to be host to such paranormal events as a row seats of opening and closing on their own, manual operated elevators randomly going to various floors, and an apparition of a woman in Edwardian dress on the first floor. The theatre is also home to the last chair (which was shipped from Chicago) in which notorious gangster John Dillinger sat before he was gunned down by police.
7. The Royal Conservatory
The Royal Conservatory's home on Bloor Street , McMaster Hall, was the original home of McMaster University. It began life in 1881 as the Toronto Baptist College. Since then, it has been used by both McMaster and UofT, who used it as a medical facility. The reports of odd and unsettling events here are so numerous that the CBC covered a paranormal investigation a few years back. The expedition yielded a few unearthly sounds, like voices, on the audio recordings. Students and instructors here have reported hearing whispers, doors unlocking themselves, and a mysterious man in black who wanders the halls throughout the night in Victorian garb. On the bright side, these ghosts do not seem to be at all malevolent, but rather affable, easygoing types.
8. Queen's Park
Politics can be scary at the best of times. But Ontario's Provincial Legislature is extra spooky. The reason for this being the reported presence of no fewer than three spirits. One is honoured WWI veteran, Captain Charles Rutherford who served as the sergeant-at-arms from 1934-1940. Another is former Speaker of the House Robert Scott. Neither of these spectres seem evil or antagonistic and neither died at Queen's Park nor seem to have any unfinished business, so their presence there would be confusing. There are, however, other more troubling spirits said to inhabit this site. Before Queen's Park was built in 1893, there was another building at that location: an insane asylum. As such, many a person has claimed to see disturbed female ghosts moving erratically about the grounds.
9. Grenadier Pond
Photo cred - tumblr - 416 Pictures
The ghostly tale of this tranquil High Park pond is like a choose your own adventure story. The ghosts are said to be soldiers who fell through the ice and froze/drowned. Beyond that, everybody seems to have a different story. Canadian militia? British redcoats? American invaders? And when did they die? During the Battle of York? The Upper Canada Rebllion? A First Nations insurrection? All the stories have severe flaws. Nevertheless, park goers repeatedly have reported sensations of being watched from under the water and seeing ghostly apparitions. Perhaps these ghosts are the same ones said to be haunting Fort York and they just mosey on over to High Park each spring to check out the cherry blossoms like everybody else in the GTA.
10. St. Michael's Hospital
Of all the alleged ghosts in Toronto, none is better known or understood than Sister Vincenza. Ask anybody who was worked at St. Mike's for a length of time about Sister Vincenza and you're likely to get a casual response of, "Oh yeah, Sister Vinnie. She's around somewhere". Vincentia Mullen worked at St. Michael's Hospital from 1928 to 1956 as the supervisor of obstetrics. The obstetrics wing has since become home to the Heart and Vascular program. But despite no longer being the area of her expertise and her also being dead, Sister Vincenza is still there. Frequently, patients will ask hospital staff who is the lovely woman in white who was with them last night. The answer is always the same. "There was nobody else in your room last night". While many of the other ghosts of Toronto have suspicious or unknown intentions, Vincenza's are clear. She wants to do what she did in life; take care of people.
Photo cred - St. Michael's