Vancouver may not have a long history like some other well-known haunted cities (what's up, Edinburgh?), but it has its fair share of ghosts and gothic stories. Here a few of Vancouver’s creepiest haunts – some well known, some hardly known at all.
The former cinema-turned-music-venue has a long history with ghost encounters. Several people have witnessed a man dressed in white coveralls lurking about. One witness, who was performing at the time, reportedly saw the figure emerge from stage left, look up at the stage and dissolve in the air – right in front of an audience of over 1,000 people.
Writer and director Bill Allman had several close encounters with the ghost that supposedly haunts the Vogue Theatre when he worked there in the ‘90s, and it confirmed for him that paranormal activity does exist, even if its difficult to prove.
“I think people imprint a certain psychic energy on a place if they’re really attached to it,” Allman says. “I don’t have any firm thoughts on life after death but to me, it’s a level of perception that we’re maybe not educated it.”
The Stanley Park fine dining restaurant reportedly has one unpaid employee who continues to haunt his former employer. People have heard the sound of footsteps and the cries of a child, both of which echo late at night in this historic building. This story is featured in local "ghost writer" Robert Belyk’s book Ghosts: More Eerie Encounters.
Not generally known to be haunted, staff at the 102-year-old Sylvia have reported objects moving on their own. Room 604 is apparently the centre of the activity with one guest reporting some invisible presence sitting on her bed.
This branch has an extremely long haunted history that dates to the 1970s. Supposedly haunted by at least three ghosts that have been seen by employees and patrons alike. One of the most prominent “visitors” is a woman who plays the piano. A female bartender has reported seeing a man by the fireplace on the main floor.
One of Vancouver’s most famous haunted sites, the Shaughnessy Mansion was supposedly cleared of its ghosts by the Dalai Lama’s retinue, while they were visiting the mansion prior to the Dalai Lama’s own visit in 2009.
Not well known among ghost aficionados, teachers at this Catholic high school off Main Street have reported phantom footsteps pacing the halls and knocking on doors when the school is empty. One group of students, sitting across the street, reported seeing through the glass entrance a specter dressed in black robes floating down the stairs into the basement.
Now home to a naval base and closed to the public, this small island off of Stanley Park was apparently a burial ground for the Squamish people prior to Western settlement. In 1890, the island was used as a “pest house” during the smallpox outbreak. Witnesses have reported loud clanging ringing out through the night, hurried footsteps pacing along the floors and a woman sobbing.
© Vancouver Courier