University College at 15 King’s College Circle – built in 1856
One of the University of Toronto’s most well-known legends is that about Ivan Reznikoff and Paul Diabolos. The two men were stonemasons during the construction of the Romanesque Revival style building. Rumour has it that Diabolos was in love with Reznikoff’s fiancé. It’s also thought that Diabolos carved two gargoyles depicting the two men – a revolting one of Reznikoff and the other of himself laughing.
The quarrel became so heated that Reznikoff chased Diabolos through the then under-construction building with an axe. When Reznikoff caught up to Diabolos in the tower, he swung the axe, missed and fell to his death. It’s said that Diabolos buried Reznikoff’s body in the building then fled Toronto. In 1890, after a huge fire at University College, unidentified remains were found there. Reznikoff’s ghostly presence has been reported to have been seen around the property.
In a tribute to the tale, the University has named two of its restaurants after the famous pair – Café Reznikoff and Diabolos Coffee Bar.
Toronto Stock Exchange/Design Exchange at 234 Bay St – built in 1937
While the heritage building was home to the Toronto Stock Exchange from 1937 to 1983, today it’s the site of the Design Exchange. The building is also home to a few spirits.
There are reports of taps turning on by themselves, hearing footsteps and the unsettling feeling of a presence. There’s also a rumour that a security camera recorded the image of an eerie being lurking about the old ticker palace.
Source: Toronto Ghosts
McMaster Hall/The Royal Conservatory of Music at 273 Bloor St W – built in 1881
The National Historic Site of Canada was originally known as McMaster Hall and housed the Toronto Baptist College. In 1963, the building was acquired by the University of Toronto and since that time has been home to The Royal Conservatory of Music. The world-renowned music education institution, with alumni that include Oscar Peterson and Sarah McLachlan, is rumoured to have a few ghosts lingering in the heritage building.
Musicians have reportedly seen an apparition of a woman wearing either a red dress or a red top in the second and third-floor hallways. Another spirit, also female, makes people feel as though someone has entered the room only to look and find no one there. A third ghost likes to hang around when musicians are rehearsing in a particular studio.
Lower Bay Subway Station at Bay St & Bloor St W – built in 1966
Itself considered a ghost station, Lower Bay Station was only in use for 6 months in 1966. The Lady in Red, a ghostly apparition without eyes and feet, has reportedly been seen gliding through the station and its tunnels by TTC workers and film crews.
The abandoned station is sometimes used as a NYC subway movie set. It’s directly beneath Bay Station.
Source: CityNews Toronto YouTube Channel
Mackenzie House at 82 Bond St – built in 1857
The stately Mackenzie House is considered one of Toronto’s most haunted houses. The ghosts of its famous former resident, William Lyon Mackenzie and his wife Isabel are said to be lingering in the city-operated museum.
After living in the house for only a couple of years, Mr Mackenzie, journalist, rebel and Toronto’s first Mayor died in the bedroom. The ghost of a man wearing a wig and frock coat has been seen around the house, particularly near his bedroom.
In 1873, Mrs Mackenzie also passed away in the home. Over the decades, the historic property went through a few hands and in 1960, was given to the City of Toronto. That same year, two different sets of caretaking couples lived in an apartment on an upper floor, rent-free. They both left quickly and when asked why they said they were so frightened by the strange occurrences, they could no longer live there.
According to a newspaper article, the caretakers mentioned the disturbing feeling of being watched or feeling they were not alone. While upstairs, they also heard Mrs Mackenzie’s piano playing from a parlour on the first floor and footsteps on the stairs. One of the wives said she saw the spectre of a woman wearing 19th-century garb hovering over her momentarily then vanishing only later to return to slap her on the face.
Source: The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Mar 8, 1962, pg 7 & Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Apr 27, 1980, pg C12
Colborne Lodge at 11 Colborne Lodge Dr in High Park – built in 1837
John Howard, Toronto’s first Surveyor and Engineer, along with his wife Jemima built Colborne Lodge five years after emigrating from England. They named their residence after Sir John Colborne, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. In 1873, the couple deeded the 165-acres of property to the City of Toronto under the agreement it remain free to use and be called “High Park”. Mr Howard retained the Lodge as well as 45 acres until he passed away.
It’s rumoured that Mrs Howard’s presence has been seen bringing vegetables she harvested from her garden into the home. The ghost of a woman has also been seen looking out from a second-floor window.
Today, the picturesque heritage site is the city-operated Colborne Lodge museum.
Toronto Athletic Club/Stewart Building at 149 College St – built in 1894
While today the historic building is now part of the University of Toronto, it was originally the Toronto Athletic Club, later the Toronto Technical School, Toronto Police Headquarters/Station and the Ontario College of Art & Design.
There are numerous reports of the building being haunted. Some security staff said they were apprehensive about walking through the basement hallway. Once the pool and bowling alleys for the athletic club, the cellar area gives off eerie vibes and odd noises have been heard.
On the third floor, students have mentioned hearing strange sounds and knocks on doors as well as the feeling that someone was watching them or being touched on the arm by a phantom hand.
North Toronto C.P. Railway Station/LCBO at 10 Scrivener Sq – built in 1916
For a little more than a decade, the magnificent building was Toronto’s central railway station. Competition from Union Station along with the Great Depression meant the end of the line for the station, and it closed in 1930. Over the years, much of the station’s grand interior was covered over. However, in the early 2000s, extensive restoration work began on the landmark property, and its inner beauty was rediscovered.
Today the former Canadian Pacific Railway station is a flagship store of the LCBO. It’s rumoured to be home to two kinds of spirits – the liquor kind and the ghostly kind. There’s a stairway that once led passengers to the Track 2 train platform. The ground floor door to that now hidden and capped stairway locks and unlocks by itself. Staff have also mentioned seeing apparitions in the building.
St Michael’s Hospital at 30 Bond St – established in 1892
St Michaels Hospital first began on the site in a former Baptist Church. The church building was purchased in 1876 by the Archbishop and was initially used for Sunday school, a men’s reading room and then a boarding school for young women under the supervision of the Sisters of St Joseph. At an urgent request from medical authorities, the building was converted into a hospital, St Michael’s.
From its inception in 1892, the steady stream of patients called for many additions to St Mike’s throughout the years. From a small 26-bed hospital, the “Urban Angel” has grown to occupy a City block.
In Ward 7B, there have been reports of a nun named Sister Vincenza making her rounds and turning lights on and off. However… Sister Vinnie, as she’s known by the staff, passed away in the 1950s.
Source: The Globe Newspaper Archives: Jul 10, 1926, pg 14, A Centenary History of St Michael’s Hospital by Irene McDonald & Toronto Ghosts
Ernescliffe Apartments at 477 Sherbourne St – built in 1914/15/16
This historic apartment complex is over 100 years old and these three architecturally significant buildings are on the City’s registry of heritage properties. For some time, there was a dark presence in the hallways however in recent years, the sightings have decreased. While it’s not known who the spirit is, in 1948, two engineers died when the building’s 1500-pound boiler they were working on exploded.
Source: The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Sep 4, 2015, pg G4
Massey Hall at 178 Victoria St – built in 1894
Toronto’s great concert hall, also known as The Grand Old Lady of Shuter Street, was donated to the City by industrialist Hart Massey. There have been reports of a male spirit wearing old-fashioned clothing haunting the backstage area of the historic venue. It’s thought to be the former custodian who once lived in an apartment behind the stage.
There are also rumours of a female opera singer making her presence known from a seat in the audience. “The Diva” makes loud noises when a soprano has taken the stage of Massey Hall.
If the Massey name sounds familiar with hauntings, the family once lived in the stately home we know today as Keg Mansion.
Christie Mansion at 100 Wellesley St W – built in 1881
With his fortunes from Christie, Brown & Company, Mr William Christie built the late Victorian style home near Queen’s Park. When Mr Christie passed away at home in 1900, his only son Robert inherited the business and mansion.
In 1910, Robert had the home reconstructed. There’s a rumour that Robert Christie had a mistress. She lived in a separate area of the Christie Mansion. The same mansion where he lived with his wife and children. The mistress had everything she would need including a butler so she would never have to leave the mansion. When Robert grew tired of her, she was heartbroken and took her own life. Some claim that his mistress’s body is buried in the area around Queen’s Park and that her ghost is haunting the mansion.
Today the mansion is owned by the University of Toronto and is the Regis College for the Jesuit School of Theology.
Gooderham & Worts/The Distillery District at Trinity & Mill Sts – founded in 1832
Toronto’s architectural treasure, the historic Distillery District was founded in the early 1830s by brothers-in-law, James Worts and William Gooderham. In 1834, just weeks after his wife passed during childbirth, it’s said that James was so distraught, he took his own life. He drowned in the distillery’s windmill well. The landmark windmill no longer exists however Mr Worts is rumoured to wander the buildings of The Distillery District, flickering lights and closing doors.
Beginning with a windmill to grind flour to setting up a simple still that converted excess grain into whiskey, two British immigrants founded what was one day to become the largest spirits producing company in the world. Gooderham & Worts helped propel Toronto from muddy York into a manufacturing centre.
The collection of over 30 Victorian industrial buildings which include the stone distillery (built in 1860), brick malt house, warehouses, kilns and more is a National Historic Site of Canada.
Scadding House at 6 Trinity Sq – built in 1861
The heritage home tucked away on the west side of the Eaton Centre was once the residence of Reverend Henry Scadding. The Church of the Holy Trinity’s first rector, he was also one of the City’s foremost historians, writing Toronto of Old. It’s thought that his tranquil and kind presence remains in the historically significant Scadding House.
Church of St Mary Magdalene at 477 Manning Ave – built in 1888, completed in 1908
Located in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood, there are rumours of an apparition at the historic church going as far back as the 1920s. Known as The Grey Lady, her spectre was seen on numerous occasions by the church’s organist/choirmaster while he was practicing.
Over the years, others in the congregation have reported seeing the elderly female ghost inside and outside St Mary Magdalene. It’s assumed that she could be the spirit of a former parishioner who has an appreciation for music.
Former Ontario College of Pharmacy & School of Performance at 44 Gerrard St E – built in 1887, major alterations in 1940s
The site was home to Canada’s first pharmacy school, the Ontario College of Pharmacy. In the 1940s, the building underwent significant alterations, which included a more modern façade. In 1963, Ryerson purchased the property when the University of Toronto moved its pharmacy program to the St George Campus.
Since then, the building has been home to various Ryerson departments, including Architectural Technology (from 1963 to 1970) and the School of Journalism (shared from 1971 to 1980). It was, however, the School of Performance for over 45 years, from 1971 to 2016.
During its time as a theatre school, there were many reports of cold spots, poltergeist activity and sightings of a female apparition.
Since 2018, the heritage building has been Ryerson’s Centre for Urban Innovation. To this day, parts of the original Ontario College of Pharmacy structure still stand.
Source: The Centre for Urban Innovation at Ryerson University Quick Facts & Toronto Ghosts