Haunted Places in Toronto – Part III

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, the doors close on their own. The other presence at Osgoode Hall is that of a female seen gliding through the halls.

SOURCE
  • Haunted Toronto by John Robert Colombo (1996), Haunted Osgoode Hall
  • Toronto Ghosts: Osgoode Hall

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
  • Haunted Toronto by John Robert Colombo (1996), The Ghost of The Grange
  • Toronto Ghosts: The Grange

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)

Toronto’s beautiful jewel box theatre has had over 4,000 shows performed on its stage for more than a century. 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 at 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 Royal Alex’s legendary ghosts is a 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.

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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 historic architecture, including the Romanesque Revival style, 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. He was deeply dedicated to his work at the museum, staying into the wee hours of the morning with a radio playing music in the background. Mr Currelly would even stay overnight, changing into a nightshirt and sleeping on a cot in his office. He did this until his retirement in 1946.

After Charles Currelly died in 1957, staff began thinking he had returned to the museum. Nightguards have reported seeing an apparition of a man wearing a nightshirt and cap drifting about the East Asia exhibit. Those that have seen the spirit say it looks like the pictures of Mr Currelly.

Staff working late have sometimes heard vintage music playing off in the distance, but when they went to check where it was coming from, they only found empty halls and no music. However, when they returned to their work, the music would again begin to play.

SOURCE
  • Haunted Toronto by John Robert Colombo (1996), Mysteries of the Museum
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Apr 27, 1980, pg C12
  • Toronto Ghosts: Royal Ontario Museum
  • Haunted Walk: Campus Secrets and Spectres – University of Toronto Ghost Tour

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)

The former McLaughlin Planetarium is on the Royal Ontario Museum‘s south side. 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. Nicknamed “Celeste,” she was said to be about eight years old, have blonde hair in ringlets, and wear a long white dress. She would sit in the planetarium’s celestial auditorium; however, the little girl would vanish when staff tried to approach her.

When the former planetarium became the Children’s Own Museum in 1998, strange occurrences started to happen in other parts of the building. A museum staff member reportedly walked into a storage area, only to have a small toy doll tossed towards them as though someone wanted to play. A few years later, the Children’s Own Museum closed, and since that time, sightings of Celeste have lessened.

Today the former McLaughlin Planetarium is owned by the University of Toronto and is used as artifact storage by the ROM.

SOURCE
  • Haunted Toronto by John Robert Colombo (1996), Mysteries of the Museum
  • Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Apr 27, 1980, pg C12
  • CTV News Toronto: Ghosts stories, unsolved mysteries…
  • Haunted Walk: Campus Secrets and Spectres – University of Toronto Ghost Tour

Former Ontario College of Pharmacy & School of Performance at 44 Gerrard St E – built in 1887, with significant alterations in the 1940s

2020 - Former Ontario College of Pharmacy at 44 Gerrard St E
2020 – Former Ontario College of Pharmacy at 44 Gerrard St E

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.

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Church of St Mary Magdalene at 477 Manning Ave – built in 1888, completed in 1908

1982 - Church of St Mary Magdalene at 477 Manning Ave
1982 – Church of St Mary Magdalene at 477 Manning Ave (Toronto Public Library LOCHIST-PM-026)

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.

SOURCE
  • Haunted Toronto by John Robert Colombo (1996), The Grey Lady of St Mary Magdalene
  • Toronto Ghosts: St Mary Magdalene

Scadding House at 6 Trinity Sq – built in 1862

1960's - Dr Henry Scadding's Home at 6 Trinity Sq, its original location, looking northeast
1960’s – Dr Henry Scadding’s Home at 6 Trinity Sq, its original location, looking northeast (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1465, File 119, Item 146)

The heritage home tucked away on the west side of the Eaton Centre was once the residence of Reverend Dr 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 Scadding House.

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Gooderham & Worts/The Distillery District at Trinity & Mill Sts – founded in 1832

1834 - The Gooderham & Worts windmill - on the site of the Distillery District at Trinity St and Mill St
1834 – The Gooderham & Worts windmill – on the site of the Distillery District at Trinity St and Mill St (Toronto Public Library R-3242)

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.

From 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.

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Christie Mansion/now Regis College at 100 Wellesley St W – built in 1881

1972 - The Christie Mansion at 100 Wellesley St W
1972 – The Christie Mansion at 100 Wellesley St W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 56, Item 4)

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.

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