Water-ringed and technologically-minded, Victoria is renowned for its old-world elegance and modern enhancements. But some believe, the historic buildings and ancient landmarks are more than just a beautiful place to stroll. Rumor has it, they’re also home to lingering spirits.
More than 100 years old, Hatley Castle was commissioned by James Dunsmuir. Money was no object and Dunsmuir didn’t let Victorian architect Samuel Maclure cut any corners. The interior boasts lavish appointments like a baronial fireplace and teak floors. And the exterior’s prominent notched battlement might make you think it was plucked from a storybook. The Dunsmuir family loved their home so much they still roam the halls.
Ross Bay Cemetery
Opened in 1973, this historic burial grounds at Ross Bay Cemetery are home to some of Victoria’s most prominent early-era women. Nellie Cashman – a nurse, entrepreneur, gold prospector, mining expedition leader and philanthropist during the late 1800's and early 1900's – rests here. So too does Lady Sarah Lindley Crease, a watercolour artist, and Isabella Ross, the first woman in BC to own land. Keep an eye out, you might see them strolling down one of the tree-lined carriageways.
Victoria’s historic storefronts and lavish manors aren’t just beautiful. The ornate, gingerbread-style designs hide tales of eccentric characters, hangings, and ghosts. Explore the haunted streets with a professional during a 2-hour Ghostly Walk.
While the Gates of Harmonious Interest are designed to keep evil spirits away, Victoria’s Chinatown is no stranger to ghosts (and a bit of havoc and mayhem). The second oldest Chinatown in North America, its colorful past is littered with opium dens, saloons, gambling houses, and brothels. Some believe these not-so-savory spirits still linger in Fan Tan Alley. Careful not brush shoulders with them. The alley spans just two feet in some places!
Perhaps the city’s most elegant landmark, the Fairmont Empress rests at the base of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Visitors have reported seeing a thin-mustached man walking the halls with a cane. Some believe this is Francis Rattenbury, the hotel’s architect.
Need a little comfort and security as you hunt for ghosts? A Ghost-Bus Tour is just the ticket. These two-hour, narrated tours wind through Victoria’s core and beyond into some of its most haunted neighborhoods.
Sleep with the Birds
What would Halloween be without a treat? Located in downtown Victoria, Roger’s Chocolates has been making decadent confections for decades. It’s rumored the ghosts of children can be seen trying to reach through the mirror for chocolate. Keep an eye out for their handprint.
What do you get when you combine a jail, courthouse, and gallows? Spirits with a lot of unfinished business. That’s exactly what you’ll find in Bastion Square. While the jailhouse and gallows have long since been gone, the echoes of shackled prisoners sometimes whisper across the cobblestone.
St. Ann’s Academy
Formerly a convent and boarding school, St. Ann’s Academy sits prominently behind a wrought-iron gate. Its massive white structure housed several nuns over the years, nine of whom still rest on site today.
When Parliament’s not in session, it’s said ghosts roam the halls. Is it to protect the buildings? No one can be sure, but one of the most famous haunters happens to be Francis Rattenbury – the buildings’ architect!