Old buildings and ghost stories have long gone hand-in-hand and Victoria is far from an exception. Its alleyways, historical sites and old brick buildings are riddled with the footsteps of citizens and residents from long ago, some more so than others. Whether you believe the rumors or not is up to you. Here are a few of Victoria’s most haunted buildings and areas you may just want to avoid if you’re alone at night.
B.C.’s Parliament Buildings
Open in 1897, the Neo-baroque parliament buildings practically scream haunted. Considering the nature of the demise of their architect, Sir Francis Rattenbury, it comes as no surprise that he’s said to be seen wandering the corridors. He was bludgeoned to death in England by his wife’s lover and was then buried in an unmarked grave. Rumor has it, he haunts the halls of one of his greatest creations because he seeks the attention he was neglected by his anonymous resting place.
The Fairmont Empress Hotel
Another of Sir Francis Rattenbury’s designs, he has been seen pacing the halls of the elegant Fairmont Empress Hotel from time to time as well. Accompanying him are reports of a past maid who still cleans the sixth floor, and an elderly resident in her pajamas knocking on doors. When guests try to assist her to her room, she leads them down the hall and mysteriously disappears. If you don’t believe it, stay at the hotel for a night and try your luck at ghost hunting.
It is only fitting that Victoria’s most notorious castle should also be haunted. Although the establishment has notconfirmed the hauntings, rumors have prevailed – and there’s more than one. The most common include staff reports of a little girl seen running around the house, a maid still cleaning, a woman’s feet going down the stairs and haunting music from an unknown source. Some tourists have even reported a man’s legs ascending a hidden staircase that ends in a bolted door.
Shaking up the grounds of where Miss Victoria Jane Wilson and her family used to reside in a historic white mansion, the Chateau Victoria Hotel and Suites has experienced incidents of unexpected, extra guests since opening. A regular at the bar, staff has attempted to wait on a well dressed, albeit old-fashioned lady only to have her disappear in front of them. There have also been incidents reported of the elevators stopping at every single floor despite none of the buttons having been pressed. It’s said they were riding the elevator with Miss Victoria Jane herself.
St. Ann’s Academy
If you’ve seen the movie, The Conjuring 2 then maybe paying St. Ann’s Academy a visit will be scratched off the list. Built in 1858 as a Roman Catholic Cathedral, the academy was converted into a convent school in 1886. On site remains the original cemetery, within which nine sisters are buried. Whether or not they stay underground is the real question. Guests have reported seeing nuns wandering the grounds, as well as the ghost of famous Canadian painter, Emily Carr.
You can bet the second oldest Chinatown in North America is chock full of history… and ghosts. What used to be riddled with opium dens and gambling halls, Chinatown was frequented by all sorts of characters. Fan Tan Alley, especially, gives off a seemingly intense paranormal energy. Perhaps that has something to do with the frequent sightings of the ghost of a man fleeing down Fan Tan Alley – Chung murdered his girlfriend and made his escape through the narrow street. For a reprieve, take a break under the Gate of Harmonious Interest. It is decorated with symbols dedicated to driving away the forces of evil spirits.
This square is the starting point of Victoria as a city and has a reputation for being the most haunted area in the city. Bustling by day, the square tends to a different crowd as night falls. Nearly every building and the numerous alleyways that surround the square have had reports of some kind of paranormal activity. The old Supreme Court building resides on top of Victoria’s first gallows and jail, where many criminals met their demise and were buried on site. Matthew Baillie Begbie, “the hanging judge” has been seen wandering the area close to his old courthouse. He is said to also spend quite a bit of time hanging around the Maritime Museum as well.
Johnson Street and Market Square make for a pleasant sight these days. Its history, however, possesses a little less charm. Full of gambling dens, saloons and brothels, the area used to be the city’s infamous Red-Light District. Now, its 1800s brick buildings are brimming with the ghosts of the rough-and-tumble characters who used to frequent the area. Visit at night and there might be more than just the sound of your own footsteps echoing in the courtyard.
A National Historical Site on Government Street, Roger’s Chocolates’ owners were so dedicated they never left, even after they died. Charles and Leah Rogers founded the shop in 1885 and together ran the store and created the chocolates that have become a successful, privately owned and operated retail brand. They reportedly used to sleep in the kitchen, which is where they have been said to still haunt. Allegedly a child’s handprint also mysteriously appeared on a window high above the door.
Beacon Hill Park
Although a stunning park often flooded with hordes of people enjoying the trails, fountains and wildlife, there are darker tales and sides of Beacon Hill Park. Its twisted and extensive trails have been the site of many a duel, suicide and even murder.
The most infamous tale is that of the Screaming Doppelgänger: In the 1970s, a woman of dark complexion with long blonde hair was seen repeatedly standing on a rock in the park, right at the corner of Southgate and Douglas. Every morning for several months she stood, unmoving at the spot until eventually, people stopped seeing her. Suddenly, in 1983, a woman, this time of dark hair and light complexion, started being seen at the same location, unmoving, like the photo negative of the woman before her. She, however, appeared more phantom-like than her predecessor. On Nov. 15, 2983 a body was found in a shallow grave nearby the rock. It perfectly matched the description of the vaporous woman. Even to this day, visitors have reported seeing the dark haired woman sitting in what would appear to be meditation; until you notice her mouth is twisted open in a silent scream.