Trick or treating isn’t socially acceptable after the age of about 13 (FINE). But no matter how many days of the week we must wear pumps (or at least pants) they can’t take away our deep rooted joy in scaring ourselves stupid. Happy haunting, friends!
KEG MANSION (515 Jarvis St.)
Totally not just horrifying for vegetarians. This building has lived many lives, starting in 1868 when Jarvis Street was one of the wealthiest parts of the city and was home to large manors. In 1882 it was bought my Hart Massey (who financed Massey Hall). When the Massey’s left, the building was bequeathed to U of T’s Victoria College in 1915. It became home to The Keg restaurant in 1976.
CREEPIEST REPORT: The ladies bathroom is where most sightings occur. There have been locks sliding open and stall doors flinging open, and sounds of phantom children running and playing are heard in the upper floors and kitchen. The best known haunting though, is a maid who hanged herself when the Massey Family owned the house – supposedly her ghost appears sometimes in the oval part of the main foyer hanging from a rope.
COLBORNE LODGE, HIGH PARK (Colborne Lodge Drive)
Colborne Lodge was built in 1836 by John Howard, Toronto’s first professional architect, for himself and his wife. This house stood out as a classic example of Regency cottage style, and continues to stand out today. Howard’s wife fell ill, and most of the time she spent in the house was devoted to gazing out the bedroom window at the monument that was made for the couple. This monument overlooks Grenadier Pond, and is where Howard and his wife are buried today. Colborne Lodge is now a museum.
CREEPIEST REPORT: In the 60’s, a cop was doing rounds in the park and noticed a woman sitting in the upper window. He checked all the doors and windows, but they were all locked. So many similar reports comprise the motivation for the “Haunted High Park” event that the museum hosts at Harvest Festival.
ELGIN WINTER THEATRE (189 Yonge St.)
This joint is actually the last surviving Edwardian stacked theatre in the world. The Winter Garden theatre was hand painted and decorated like a forest, and showed vaudeville productions before it closed in 1928. By the time the 70’s rolled around, the Winter Garden was still closed and the lower Elgin theatre had been reduced to showing B movies and soft core porn. It was unused for 60 years before reopening in the mid 80’s.
CREEPIEST REPORT: After live shows reappeared on the stage of the Elgin, one producer reported seeing a bunch of rows of seats fold down as if an entire spectral audience took a seat simultaneously. A short while later, they all flipped back up again. Today, employees are familiar with Sam, the ghost of a musician who died when he fell into the orchestra pit in the 1920’s. He can still be seen and his saxophone heard from time to time.
THE GUILD INN (201 Guildwood Parkway)
Located on top of the Scarborough Bluffs, The Guild Inn was originally an arts and crafts style manor house containing servants quarters, a nursery, a library, grand stairway, six bedrooms, 3 guest rooms and a basement. Over the years it has been a missionary college, an artist’s retreat, a hospital (housing hundreds of patients up till 1947), and most famously a hotel. Now, it’s an abandoned building. My favourite part of this building is that there’s a network of underground tunnels leading from the bluffs that was constructed during the war. Read one adventurous journalists experience of staying the night at the Guild in 2008 here.
CREEPIEST REPORT: Previous banquet servers at the Guild Inn Restaurant report countless instances of hearing unexplained footsteps, random temperature drops, toilets flushing, and seeing the ghost of a young boy with one blue eye and one brown. In the 60’s, a closing server reported turning off all the lights and leaving the building at the end of the night to see all the lights simultaneously turn on as she walked away.
GOODERMAN AND WOORTS DISTILLERY (55 Mill St.)
This daunting structure has a sinister history. 2 years after its construction in 1832, Worts’ wife died during childbirth and he was so distraught he flung himself into a well on the property of the mill. At recent Doors Open Tours, some of the staff have divulged some of the ghostly sightings that followed Worts’ death – doors open and close without assistance, lights go on and off.
CREEPIEST REPORT: One time during dinner at the Boiler Restaurant within the Gooderman and Worts Distillery, a server reports witnessing a decorative wine bottle soaring off its shelf as if it was thrown.
~ Kait Fowlie