Haunted Places to Visit in Toronto – Part I

Massey Mansion/Keg Mansion at 515 Jarvis St – built in 1868

1912 - Massey Mansion at 515 Jarvis St
1912 – Massey Mansion at 515 Jarvis St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 3070)

The stately home has quite a history when it comes to ghosts. Once home to the Massey family, after Lillian Treble Massey died, a maid was so distraught that she hanged herself in the foyer. Her apparition has been seen suspended in the main entranceway.

There have also been sightings at the Keg Mansion of a young boy playing on the staircase and the sound of children playing upstairs. There’s a female presence in the women’s washroom too. Customers have said stall doors unlock and toilets flush all by themselves plus, they’ve had the eerie feeling that someone was watching them.

Source: Ghost Walks: The Keg Mansion in Toronto…, Vice: I Work In a Haunted Steakhouse & Toronto Ghosts


Queen’s Park & the Legislative Building at 111 Wellesley St W – built in 1893

1905 - Queen's Park & the Legislative Building at 111 Wellesley St W
1905 – Queen’s Park & the Legislative Building at 111 Wellesley St W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1568, Item 420)

While Queen’s Park and the Legislative Building has resided on the land for over 125 years, in 1842, it was home to Kings College. By 1850, the Kings College building became the University/Provincial Lunatic Asylum. It’s said that the building and grounds are haunted by three female residents of the asylum:

  • The Lady in White – with her long flowing robe, the sad spirit roams the halls.
  • The Maiden – in a gingham dress who hides her face with her apron.
  • The Hanging Woman – her apparition appears suspended from a hook in the basement tunnel.

Source: Toronto Ghosts


Old Don Jail at 550 Gerrard St E – built in 1864

1949 - The Old Don Jail at 550 Gerrard St E
1949 – The Old Don Jail at 550 Gerrard St E (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1152)

The notorious building with Father Time over its tall front doors is said to be haunted by many ghosts. They include those who have been executed, murdered or committed suicide. One ghost is said to be that of an angry female inmate who hanged herself in her cell. It’s rumoured that her apparition has been seen in the central rotunda.

In 2007, the skeletal remains of 15 people were unearthed behind the Old Don Jail. They were those of prisoners sent to the jail’s gallows.

Source: Haunted Places: Old Don Jail & The Globe and Mail: Human remains found at Toronto’s old Don Jail


Runnymede Theatre at 2223 Bloor St W – built in 1927

1942 - Runnymede Theatre at 2223 Bloor St W
1942 – Runnymede Theatre at 2223 Bloor St W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 147)

The former vaudeville and movie theatre is rumoured to be haunted by a young female spirit. She died on the Runnymede Theatre stage many years ago when a sandbag fell on her. Along with the theatre, the building has also been home to Chapters, today is Shoppers Drug Mart. There had been reports from former theatre and bookstore employees as well as customers about hearing a child crying, books randomly dropping off the shelves and feelings of uneasiness.

Source: Toronto Ghosts


Old City Hall at 60 Queen St W – built in 1899

1901 - Old City Hall at 60 Queen St W
1901 – Old City Hall at 60 Queen St W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 311)

Old City Hall is another Toronto building thought to be filled with ghosts. Courtroom 33 is rumoured to be haunted by the spirits of the last two men sentenced to capital punishment in Canada in 1962 – Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas. In a rear stairwell, there are reports of footsteps being heard plus, judges have felt tugging on their robes and hands on their backs as if someone was trying to give them a push down the steps.

Moans have been heard in the cellars of the majestic old building, which at one time was the holding area for prisoners.

Source: Toronto Ghosts


Fairmont Royal York Hotel at 100 Front St W – built in 1929

1930 - Fairmont Royal York Hotel at 100 Front St W
1930 – Fairmont Royal York Hotel at 100 Front St W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1499)

The majestic Fairmont Royal York Hotel, which was once part of Toronto’s skyline, is rumoured to have a ghost on the 8th floor. Guests have mentioned seeing the apparition of a grey-haired man wearing a maroon smoking jacket walking the hallway. Others have heard children laughing and playing in its historic halls only to look out to find no one there.

Source: Toronto Ghosts


Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 189 Yonge St – built in 1913

1988 - Elgin Theatre, now Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 189 Yonge St
1988 – Elgin Theatre, now Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 189 Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 428, Item 46)

Built in 1913 and originally called Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, the historic venue is not only home to two theatres but also a few spirits. Now the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre Centre, its most famous ghost is The Lavender Lady. While no one knows who she is, there’s speculation that she could be a rival actress of a jealous castmate or perhaps a jilted wife whose husband fell in love with a Vaudeville showgirl. When she does make her appearance, it is in the area of the grand staircase and elevators. Those that have felt her presence notice a drop in temperature and the scent of lavender.

She has also been known to call one of the 1913 manually operated cage elevators when she doesn’t feel like taking the stairs from the Elgin to the Winter Garden theatre. However, when the elevator door opens, the operator finds no one there except for a cool breeze and the fragrance of lavender flowers. This happens on nights when there are no productions in the theatres. The Lavender Lady is so famous that she was commemorated in 2016 on a Canada Post stamp.

Another ghost at the architectural treasure is Sam. In 1989, after the building restoration was complete, theatre volunteers and staff heard a trombone or trumpet playing. The strange thing was there were no rehearsals going on. Another odd occurrence was the seats in the theatre flipping down and then back up. The volunteers used a Ouija board to conduct a seance at midnight on the stage of the Winter Garden Theatre. The group communicated with a musician named “Sam”. He said he was a trombone player in a 1918 Vaudeville production at the Winter Garden.

In another ghostly incident, a staff member was doing a final walk-through the Elgin before closing. She heard someone calling her name twice. She looked around and found no one. The only other person in the building was a security guard at the entrance who she was too embarrassed to tell. She told no one at the theatre about the occurrence. A few months later, another staff member told her that he heard his name being called twice while walking through the empty Elgin theatre.

In 1984 during a rehearsal for Cats, some of the dancers noticed a man wearing a brown suit and brown bowler hat sitting in the second row. While they thought his attire was old-fashioned, the dancers thought it was allowed and could be a friend of the director or producer. After rehearsal, they asked who the man was sitting in the second row. The assistant manager proceeded to tell them that no one was there. You see, it was a closed rehearsal and only the assistant and stage managers were allowed to watch.

Source: Ontario Heritage Trust: Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre Ghost Stories

Source: Ontario Heritage Trust YouTube Channel


Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on Toronto Islands – built in 1808

1955 - Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on Toronto Islands
1955 – Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on Toronto Islands (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 536, Item 318)

According to the heritage plaque on the lighthouse, the grounds are said to be haunted by the lighthouse’s first keeper – J.P. Rademuller. He was known to keep a keg of beer on hand at his cottage to share with friends who were visiting.

Just north of the lighthouse was a blockhouse being guarded by soldiers from Fort York. Soldiers would often row or walk down from Blockhouse Bay to visit him. Legend has it that back in 1815 when three soldiers were visiting, Mr Rademuller cut them off since he thought they already had enough to drink. A deadly brawl broke out and Mr Rademuller mysteriously vanished. No one knew what happened to him and the story of his disappearance was passed down. Several decades later, the fourth lighthouse keeper, George Durnan, found human remains buried beneath the ground nearby the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.

Source: Landmarks of Toronto: Volume 5 by J Ross Robertson, Ontario Heritage Trust & Toronto Star: Ghost stories sill haunt Gibraltar Point Lighthouse


Bank of Montreal/Hockey Hall of Fame at 30 Yonge St – built in 1886

1900 to 1920 - The Bank of Montreal at 30 Yonge St
1900 to 1920 – The Bank of Montreal at 30 Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1568, Item 224-1)

Considered one of the finest 19th-century financial buildings in Canada, it operated as Bank of Montreal’s head office until 1949 and later a branch until 1982. Now the Hockey Hall of Fame, there are rumours of lights turning on and off as well as doors opening, closing and locking on their own.

There have also been reports of two female ghosts. One spirit, who is wearing an old-fashioned dress, makes her appearance by the vault and offices. The second, named Dorothy, could be that of a teller who in 1953, took her own life at the bank after a bad romance.

Source: Toronto Star Archives: Aug 1, 1982, pg H3 & Toronto Ghosts


Trinity College at 6 Hoskin Ave – built in 1925

1925 - Trinity College at 6 Hoskin Ave
1925 – Trinity College at 6 Hoskin Ave (University of Toronto Archives, 2014-71-1MS)

In 1851, Bishop Johannes Strachan founded the school. Its original location was on what we know today as Trinity-Bellwood Park on Queen St W, between Gore Vale Ave and Crawford St. Bishop Strachan passed away on November 1, 1867. Even though the school moved to its new location, every year around the date of his death, the Bishop makes a visit. His ghost has been seen roaming the halls of this historic building.

In the school’s Chapel, the Grey Lady makes an appearance from time to time. With her grey complexion, she has been sighted both in the pews and outside of the Chapel’s doors.

One of the scarier stories is that of the man in the tunnels. Between Trinity and St Hilda’s Colleges are steam tunnels that students once used to get to and from the buildings without having to go outside. Legend has it that a man who lives behind a section of the tunnel with unmatched bricks gets out just long enough to capture a student. For every soul he can steal, one brick is thought to be loosened and at some point, the bricks will be loose enough for him to escape.

Source: University of Toronto: What Ghosts Hide Beyond the Beautiful Facade of Trinity College


Osgoode Hall at 130 Queen St W – built in 1832

1890's - Osgoode Hall at 130 Queen St W
1890’s – Osgoode Hall at 130 Queen St W (Toronto Public Library r-5)

These beautiful old buildings are home to a few spirits. The first is a group that can be heard talking in one of the chambers. The doors of the chamber are usually open however when the speaking starts, its doors close on their own. The other presence at Osgoode Hall is that of a female seen gliding through the halls.

Source: Toronto Ghosts


Todmorden Mills at 67 Pottery Rd – built in 1800’s

2020 - Todmorden Mills at 67 Pottery Rd
2020 – Todmorden Mills at 67 Pottery Rd

Settled by the Helliwell family, the earliest surviving structures at Todmorden Mills date back to approximately 1838 to 1850.  The site has been home to a mill, brewery, riding stables and more. Today it’s a museum, arts centre and nature preserve.

Staff have reported a few ghosts at the historic property. In the Papermill Theatre and Gallery, staff mentioned seeing an older woman walking around the theatre while others have seen a grey apparition near the sound booth above the stage. Over in the Helliwell house, the voice of a woman has been heard speaking upstairs.

Source: Toronto Ghosts


The Grange at 317 Dundas St W – built in 1817

1907 - The Grange at 317 Dundas St W
1907 – The Grange at 317 Dundas St W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 304)

Now part of the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Grange was a home built for D’Arcy Boulton and his family. There are rumours of three ghosts in the house. The first two spirits are female – an unsettling lady in white in the kitchen and a lady in black who dawdles about in a second-floor bedroom. It’s unknown who these ghosts could be.

The third presence in the heritage home is a man. Wearing a yellow velvet jacket, he walks from east to west through the walls of the Conservatory. It’s thought that this ghost could either be a former butler at The Grange or Goldwin Smith, an author who once lived in the house or perhaps Mr Smith’s one-time assistant, Algernon Blackwood.

Source: Toronto Ghosts & Haunted Toronto by John Robert Colombo


Royal Alexandra Theatre at 260 King St W – built in 1907

1950 - Royal Alexandra Theatre at 260 King St W
1950 – Royal Alexandra Theatre at 260 King St W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1128, Series 380, Item 349)

For more than a century, Toronto’s beautiful jewel box theatre has had over 4,000 shows performed on its stage. Along with being Canada’s first air-conditioned playhouse, the Royal Alex was also one of North America’s first “fireproof” theatres. In the early 1960s, visionary Ed Mirvish saved the historic venue from demolition. In doing so, he started the rejuvenation of what we know today as the Entertainment District.

The theatre is rumoured to be home to a few ghosts. In a 1997 production of Jolson: The Musical, the cast mentioned seeing an apparition of Al Jolson seated in the audience. When Mr Jolson was alive, he played the Royal Alexandra Theatre ten times.

In Dressing Room 14, some have heard odd sounds and screaming behind its door, along with messages scribed across its mirror.

Many years ago, a stagehand was working high atop the theatre in the fly room. It’s said that he fell to his death after tripping on a chain. Since then, some have heard the sounds of chains dragging near the area.

One of the Royal Alex’s legendary ghosts is the beautiful lady wearing a long white gown. Several actors have reportedly seen her in the house left upper box while they trod the boards at the theatre.

Source: Mirvish Productions YouTube Channel: The Royal Alexandra Theatre Ghost Tour

Source: Mirvish Productions YouTube Channel


Royal Ontario Museum at 100 Queen’s Park – built in 1914

1930 - Royal Ontario Museum at 100 Queen's Park
1930 – Royal Ontario Museum at 100 Queen’s Park (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 3058)

Showcasing a collection of over 13 million pieces of artwork, cultural objects and natural history specimens, the ROM is Canada’s largest museum. The Toronto landmark combines historical architecture, including Romanesque Revival, with the contemporary Michael Lee-Chin Crystal.

The Royal Ontario Museum is thought to be haunted by the spirit of its first Director of Archaeology, Dr Charles Trick Currelly. Nightguards have reported seeing an apparition of a man wearing a nightshirt and cap drifting about the Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art.

Source: Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Apr 27, 1980, pg C12, Haunted Toronto by John Robert Colombo & Toronto Ghosts


Former McLaughlin Planetarium at 90 Queen’s Park – built in 1968

1993 - The McLaughlin Planetarium at 90 Queen's Park, on the south side of the Royal Ontario Museum
1993 – The McLaughlin Planetarium at 90 Queen’s Park, on the south side of the Royal Ontario Museum (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 179, Item 29)

On the south side of the Royal Ontario Museum is the former McLaughlin Planetarium. In operation from 1968 to 1995 and once part of the museum, staff used to report seeing the spectre of a sad little girl there on numerous occasions. Named “Celeste,” she was said to be about eight years old, had blonde hair in ringlets, and wore a long white dress. Today the onetime planetarium is owned by the University of Toronto.

Source: Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Apr 27, 1980, pg C12, Haunted Toronto by John Robert Colombo & CTV News Toronto: Ghosts Stories… (Apr 28, 2014)