Spooky Structures: 7 buildings to send a chill down your spine

In the spirit of the Halloween season we have compiled a list of some of the most spine tingling structures across the country.

Vancouver Waterfront Station

Trains come and go from Waterfront Station in 1920s Vancouver. – City of Vancouver Archives

From sightings of spectral figures to the sounds of phantom footsteps, be sure to keep the lights on during this read on the strange haunted happenings at these storied Canadian structures.

1. Fairmont Empress Hotel (Victoria, B.C.) 

The Fairmont Empress sits right on the water in Victoria and is an example of picturesque Château-style design. – Bobak Ha’Eri

This hotel is a favourite B.C. spot for fancy brunch dates and luxurious vacations. However, some say it is occupied by more than just mortal guests. Staff have reported seeing a slender man with a mustache holding a cane walking on the staircase to the lower lobby and down hallways. They believe it resembles the iconic hotel’s architect, Francis Rattenbury. It’s said he remains at the building so he can continue to hear visitors praise his design. Staff have also reported seeing a ghostly maid continuing to clean up, a young girl, and an elderly woman in pyjamas trying to find her room. 

2. Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame (Toronto, Ont.)

Formerly a bank, this building now houses the Hockey Hall of Fame. – Ian Mutto

The chill of an ice rink has nothing on this. According to the Toronto Star, the building was used as a Bank of Montreal branch for a century before it was home to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Residents and visitors have reported seeing a young woman that some believe resembles a former bank teller. 

3. West Point Lighthouse (O’Leary, P.E.I)

West Point Lighthouse
It’s been a long time since this lighthouse helped bring ships in. It now serves as an inn and museum. – Government of PEI

Does a lighthouse keeper’s shift ever end? Some believe that long gone keepers have been sticking around in P.E.I. There have been reports of flickering lights and images of bearded men roaming the rooms. While the building now serves as an inn and museum, could long lost souls still be trying to help ships find their way? 

4. Fairmont Banff Springs (Banff, Alta.)

At 129 years old, this building has seen a lot of history. There have been reports of a spectral bride who lurks the hotel’s halls. Legend has it she had a fatal accident on the marble steps on the day of her wedding and has never left. Staff have also reported seeing the ghostly image of a helpful bellman. 

5. Waterfront Station (Vancouver, B.C.)

This shot from 1972 shows Waterfront Station – a familiar sight for all who ride Vancouver’s SkyTrain. – City of Vancouver Archives

Eternity is a long time to wait for a train to arrive. Located right in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this historic station has seen millions pass through its doors. Passengers have reported seeing three women waiting for a train to arrive and a jazz-era flapper dancing the night away. 

6. Kingston Penitentiary (Kingston, Ont.)

While it’s no longer used as a prison, Kingston Penitentiary can be toured by the public. – Government of Canada

Is there something longer than a life sentence? This facility housed inmates for 170 years before it closed in 2013 due to aging infrastructure. Visitors and staff report hearing the jingling of keys or seeing angry inmates roam the halls. Some say they have seen the ghostly image of William Wentworth, a former prison staff member. While there are no more inmates, the facility is open to the public for tours. 

7. Bytown Museum (Ottawa, Ont.)

Bytown Museum
As Ottawa’s oldest stone building, Bytown museum has withstood the test of time. – Government of Canada

Some say this Ottawa structure is haunted by the ghost of Rideau Canal construction-era supply manager Duncan McNab. A former museum volunteer told reporters he saw a door begin vibrating and heard the sound of heavy footsteps. Other incidents include reports of crying dolls. Yikes!


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