We’ve all encountered the feeling — some goosebumps, a draft of cold air, and the dreadful feeling of being watched — when you know you’re the only one in the room. Do you believe in ghosts? These ultra spooky ghost stories of haunted hotels in Canada might make you a believer. And if not, we dare you to spend a restful night! Eerie and alluring, their halls are rife with unsettled spirits who might make it difficult to get any shut-eye.
For all our fellow wannabe paranormal investigators or Mythbusting non-believers, here are the most charming yet haunted hotels in Canada. Happy hunting for hauntings!
The Hanging Men of HI Ottawa Jail
It should come as no surprise that a former jail runs rampant with bad vibes. The centrally-located HI Ottawa Jail Hostel was founded during the 1860s as a reformation prison for criminals who were supposed to be returned to society after they had done their time. It may sound modern, but the facilities were awful with prisoners enduring darkness, extreme temperatures, isolation and filth day after day. A mere year after it closed in 1972 it became a budget hostel where the original three-by-nine foot cells served as overnight quarters for travellers. Remnants of the olden days still linger. The ghost of Patrick James Whalen, who was hung for the assassination of one of Canada’s Fathers of Confederation, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, is said to lurk at the foot of the bed of sleeping guests. They awake to the cold of his presence. Bodiless cries and whimpers are heard around dark corners. I, for one, wouldn’t open my eyes all night for fear of spotting something skulking around.
The Crying Lady of The Algonquin
The iconic Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, NB is charmingly old-fashioned and despite its ghostly repertoire, it has not been the site of any disturbing events. Rather the opposite has occurred–the resort has been so beloved by staff and visitors alike that some have refused to pass on to the next world. Among the stubbornly devoted staff is a helpful bellhop who disappears into thin air after offering his services. A former maid sets tables in the dining room and sometimes disembodied noises like footsteps or the jiggling of keys will make you wonder whether you’re hearing things. In Room 473, the spirit of an abandoned bride can be heard sobbing.
The resident ghosts are so famous they’ve been the stars of Canada’s own ghost show, “Creepy Canada” and many return guests can attest to their own unsettling experiences. Intrigued? The resort has a special weekend paranormal package with a ghost tour and breakfast for two included in the one night stay.
Room 202 at Winnipeg’s Fort Garry Hotel
It all began in 1913 with the construction of the Fort Garry Hotel as part of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Fast-forward to a century later, millions of guests have spent the night, but some outright refuse to depart from the grand railway hotel. At the heart of the hauntings is Room 202 where the spirit of a woman who took her own life while longing for her dead husband has manifested in form of blood dripping down the walls and lights flickering. Even worse is her penchant for crawling into the bed of sleeping guests. She is the most famous of Fort Garry’s ghosts but others are also said to roam the halls: the night security guard once found 10 candles shaped into a star in the ballroom after no one had entered it all night.
Galloping Hooves in the Hallway of Edmonton’s Fairmont Hotel MacDonald
Another jewel of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, the eighth floor of the landmark Fairmont Hotel MacDonald is littered with spooky ghostly activity. A frightened horse who dropped dead while slaving to pour the concrete foundations in 1914 can be heard galloping away from his plight. The Executive Suite wingback chair is occasionally occupied by the spirit of a pipe-smoking sailor. Sometimes rooms at this Edmonton five-star hotel are found bolted from the inside and night managers have braved many room calls from unoccupied quarters. The Fairmont brand has acquired a fair few haunted hotels in Canada– the Fairmont Banff Springs, the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Royal York, and Quebec City’s Fairmont Le Château Frontenac are all home to their own spooky permanent residents.
The Naughty Children of Kingston’s Hochelaga Inn
The Hochelaga Inn was built in 1879 and for years hosted travelling Bank of Montreal employees up until it was converted into a B&B in the 80s. Don’t let its quaint appearance deceive you as the spirits of a few roguish children wander the property freely in search of visitors to spook. Television sets have been known to turn on and off at whim. Some guests report hearing giggling and seeing objects launched across rooms. The sombre dark figure of a woman sometimes appears at the foot of beds. While the creepy ghost stories have no known legends around the ghostly perpetrators, the incidents have made the inn a stop on the Kingston Ghost Tour.
A Ghost Avenging a Murdered Lover at The Bedford Regency Hotel in Victoria
Today visitors would describe the Bedford Regency Hotel as spic, span and sophisticated. But back during its days as the Churchill Hotel in the 1960s, it was known for its beer hall brawls and seedy atmosphere. One night following an escalation at the beer hall, a man was brutally beaten to death on the steps while his horrified lover watched from nearby, unable to intervene. Aghast, she ended her life and resigned to haunt the hotel to avenge his death. She’ll appear at the corner of your eye as you look into mirrors– while it’s not doing much to requite his death, it’s unnerving to endure as you brush your hair. She’s not the only apparition to avoid; Lady Churchill, the wife of the former owner, has been known to linger among the shadows as well.
The Lecherous Seafarer of The Churchill Mansion Inn in Yarmouth
The tale of the Churchill Mansion Inn is chilling, straight down to the bone. The famous seafarer and original owner, Aaron Churchill, was a creepy guy even whilst alive, harassing any female within his vicinity. Sadly, his behaviour drove his niece and wife to suffer mental breakdowns. The restless spirits of the women linger at the Inn, moving rocking chairs and roaming the halls in unmistakably old-fashioned nightgowns. Some say it’s the Captain’s wife, waiting for her husband to return from sea but it’s more likely she’s aghast of enduring his lecherousness. The Inn is reputed to be one of the most haunted buildings in Nova Scotia with plenty of inexplicable cold spots and phantom noises to the delight or fright of the inn’s guests.
A Dedicated Owner Keeping an Eye on Business at the Hume Hotel & Spa
When the Hume Hotel originally opened in 1898, it was the pinnacle of modernity in Nelson, BC with electric lights, steam radiators and an eye-catching facade. The owners J. Fred and Lydia Hume were proud–and rightly so! The hotel is as fabulous today as it was at the turn of the century. Yet something is amiss– the feeling of being watched have guests and staff hypothesizing that Mr. and Mrs. Hume still linger on the premises. At the centre of these rumours was Room 335, although now no longer in existence following a renovation. Many have seen a well dressed, bowler-hat topped man on the property, checking in to ensure hotel standards remain high. This particular kind of ghost is known around the Kootenays as a ‘caretaker ghost’. Hotel staff also complain of TVs randomly turning off and on and taps dripping even after they’ve been repaired.
Is that Emily Carr Hanging Out in the Men’s Room of Victoria’s James Bay Inn?
The James Bay Inn is the third oldest hotel in Victoria and has spent the last century building up a solid repertoire of ghost stories. The most famous of the ghosts is iconic Canadian artist Emily Carr who can be found sulking in the men’s room of the pub, understandably annoyed that the last room she occupied is now a toilet. Sometimes her sour spirit wanders up to the first-floor bedrooms. She can’t be blamed for all the havoc, however– additionally, phones ring without anyone being on the other line and that chilling feeling of being watched while you sleep causes many a guest to keep their eyes firmly shut through the night.
A Tale of Bad Romancing at the Red Coach Inn in Niagara Falls
The tale of the Red Coach Inn is particularly macabre with more than one sad story to account for its restless ghosts. Before it was an inn, a wicked fire destroyed the entirety of the horse stables on the land. Among the charred remains, they found the body of a small girl. She’s not the only one to blame for the weird activity plaguing the inn. You’ll wake in the middle of the night annoyed that the room above you is having a party. Following your complaint to staff, you’ll receive an unsettling answer: there is no one staying in the rooms above yours. You may even encounter a woman who walks the halls in a strange white lace dress and then inexplicably disappears. The inn was at the centre of the 19th-century honeymoon boom in Niagara Falls but one newlywed couple didn’t fare so well. The bride was found dead the following morning having been bludgeoned with a candlestick.
The Case of the Moving Objects of Windermere House
Originally built in 1870 as a boarding house by a Mr. Thomas Aiken, the current owners of Windermere House have endured a hard time getting him to pass the management reins. Despite having been entirely rebuilt following a horrific fire in 1996, Thomas is micromanaging the Muskoka, Ontario property from beyond the grave. After all, who else could be responsible for objects being moved to their original place, the knocking on doors, empty footsteps pattering down the hall and rocking chairs back and forth on the veranda? Windermere House has another regular visitor from beyond: guests have awoken to see a young girl standing next to their bed who quickly disappears as soon as they’ve had the chance to sleepily rub their eyes.
Have you had your own haunted hotel ghost story? Let us know below if you dare!