The province of Ontario, Canada has seen its fair share of war, murder and mayhem over the years. According to paranormal research groups like Haunted Hamilton and the Toronto & Ontario Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society, Ontario boasts a number of haunted locations. Some of Ontario’s most infamous haunted spots have rich histories that also include tales of witchcraft, torture and unsolved crime.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
The oldest landmark in Toronto, the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse was constructed in the early 1800s. The first lighthouse keeper, J.P. Radan Muller, worked there from 1809 until his sudden death in 1815. Local historians believe Radan Muller was murdered over a whiskey deal gone wrong, and speculate he cannot rest because his killers, although tried, were acquitted. Paranormal investigators visiting the lighthouse state they have seen ghostly apparitions roaming the grounds that resemble Radan Muller. Others report disembodied men’s voices, strange mists and footsteps going up and down the lighthouse staircase.
Carleton County Gaol
Built in 1842, this was Ottawa’s first combination courthouse and jail. Often called a “gaol,” the British term for jail, this former Carleton County prison is now a hostel, and guests report a variety of active spirits. The jail operated for more than 100 years and was known as a brutal and torturous environment. Thousands of natural and unnatural deaths occurred there during this period, and the jail was forced to close in 1972 due to the appalling conditions. According to the Toronto & Ontario Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society, the jail’s most active locations are the gallows, several cells and hallways, and a holding area nicknamed “the oven.” Visitors report screams, moans, footsteps, people talking, and cell doors closing on their own.
Once owned by the Massey family, this mansion is now a Keg Steakhouse restaurant; the Haunted Hamilton website names it as one of the most haunted locations in Toronto. Tragedy struck the Massey family when daughter Lillian passed away. Shortly thereafter, the family’s maid became so grief-stricken over the death, she hung herself in the main foyer of the house; modern-day witnesses claim to have seen her hanging in the foyer as they depart. Reports indicate that Lillian’s ghost manifests upstairs in both the bathroom and hallways. Others claim that doors become locked without explanation, and sometimes children’s footsteps are heard throughout the house.
The Peterborough Liftlock, constructed in 1896, is the tallest hydraulic boat and ship passage lift in the world. It is the site of several suicides and accidental deaths, as people have either fallen or leapt from the high pylons. In the early 1840s, Peterborough’s townspeople labeled a local woman a witch because of her profession; she was reportedly burned alive on nearby Armour Hill, a short distance from the lock’s future location. Paranormal investigators report ghostly apparitions in the area, and there are accounts of disembodied cries and screams at the site. Local residents believe the persecuted woman somehow coerces individuals into killing themselves to pay the town back for its unjust accusations.
Situated on Lake Ontario near Niagara Falls, Fort George was a divisional headquarters for the British Army during the War of 1812. The fort saw many bloody battles during this period and was burned to the ground twice by the Americans. Fort George visitors report ghostly activity during daytime and nighttime hours. Areas around the fort with the most reports of paranormal activity are the larger blockhouse, the perimeter of the defensive wall and the officer’s quarters. Thousands of soldiers, both American and British, were killed on this historic site; reports claim a number of residual ghosts may not realize the War of 1812 is over.