Halloween is fast approaching. It kind of snuck up on us, no? Are you ready? Do you have your plans set and your costume planned? If you are like me, you’ll wait until the last minute and find something from your closet to throw on. If costume parties aren’t for you, maybe you like to stay home and watch a scary movie or hand out candy to the neighbourhood kids. If none of the above suits you, maybe being spooked by your friendly or not-so-friendly ghost is right up your alley. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 haunted places in Vancouver, in no particular order. Brace yourself!
1. Deadman’s Island
Once a First Nations burial site and labelled as one of North America’s most haunted islands, Deadman’s Island had to make the list. The island is closed to the public, however, this didn’t stop the stories of strange phenomena. Some of the rumoured noises heard are footsteps walking back and forth and an apparent wail of a young woman.
2. Penthouse Nightclub
An installation in Vancouver’s night scene since the 1940’s, the Penthouse Nightclub is sure to have its fair share of scare stories. Celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald were once visitors to this previous hot spot.
The Penthouse’s resident ghost, who is a modestly dressed woman, is known to open and close windows after the doors are closed to scare the staff.
3. The Vogue Theatre
Located at the south end of the Granville Mall, the Vogue Theatre originally opened its doors in 1941. It shut down temporarily between 1988 and 1991 when it then opened has a landmark music venue in Vancouver.
The theatre has attracted a resident ghost said to be in his mid-thirties and dressed in a cream-coloured dinner jacket. He is known to play the drum kits at night and re-arrange stage props.
4. Sam Kee Building
Situated on Pender Street, the Sam Kee Building owned by Jack Chow Insurance is renowned as the “narrowest commercial building in the world”. It was built in 1913 as a coffee house. The original building was much larger however the City of Vancouver decided to take some land to widen Pender Street. The owner of the building, Sam Kee, was left with a narrow strip of land and rebuilt his business on the remaining land.
There have been reports of ghosts ‘pushing’ people from behind when in the area of this building.
5. Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Known has one of Vancouver’s luxury hotels, the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver opened in 1939 for the royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother). This hotel is probably one of the better-known haunted landmarks in Vancouver with the Lady in Red.
The Lady in Red is a friendly ghost and is embraced by hotel staff and visitors. She was once a frequent guest of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, who’s real name is Jennie Pearl Cox. She was killed in a fatal car accident in the Stanley Park causeway in 1944 and has since taken residence in her favourite hotel.
It is said that she hovers in the hallways, rides the elevators, and steps out onto window ledges.
6. Waterfront Station
As one of Vancouver’s busiest transit hubs, it’s also one of Vancouver’s busiest ‘ghostly’ hubs. There are so many stories of apparitions and hauntings at the station as it’s known to be the most haunted landmark in Vancouver. Night security guards claim to have seen paranormal activity in the grand halls, including one woman from the 1920’s who dances by herself. Many guards and cleaning staff have claimed to hear music from the depression era, which doesn’t come from the sound system.
7. Vancouver Rowing Club
Before Stanley Park became Stanley Park, it was once the site of a Chinese burial ground around the late 1800’s. Years later, many of the dead were dug up and their bones shipped back to China. The bone collectors lived in small buildings where the Vancouver Rowing Club is now located. It wouldn’t come as a surprise that the staff of the current building has accounted for some spooky tales.
8. Old Spaghetti Factory
The Old Spaghetti Factory is located at 53 Water Street in Vancouver’s historical Gastown area. Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. It will be no surprise to hear ghost stories from the area.
There are a few ghosts at the Old Spaghetti Factory. One of the most famous ones is a train conductor who apparently died in an accident which happened underneath the current restaurant. Others believe the ghost came with the installation of the tram in the restaurant.
9. Hycroft Manor
Hycroft Manor is an early 20th-century mansion located in Shaughnessy owned by the University Women’s Club of Vancouver. There have been numerous reports of ghostly encounters over the years. In fact, there are seven resident ghosts who occupy the 20,000 square foot, 30-room mansion! Two of the ghosts are the original owners of Hycroft, Mr. and Mrs. McRae.
10. Orpheum Theatre
Located the next block up from the Vogue Theatre (see Number 3), the Orpheum Theatre is also an iconic theatre for artists to play and perform. Rumour has it that the men’s bathroom in the basement has the ghost of a former attendant haunting those who dare enter. The Main Hall apparently has seen the most activity with a woman who has been seen standing to applaud the acts that play at the Orpheum.