(Qualicum College)(Qualicum Heritage Inn)
437 College Road
(Also Listed as 427 College Road)
Qualicum Beach, British Columbia V9K 1G4
Status: Former Private Boys School; Former Hotel; Formerly Abandoned; Completely Demolished
The original Qualicum Beach School was founded in September of 1935 in a rented house with only 9 students. In 1937 the school was relocated to the position it occupied until 2021 on a gorgeous 17 acre ocean front campus.
In 1949 the name was changed to Qualicum College.
By the early 1960’s enrollment was up – 70 students – but both irrelevancy and the great strides made by public schools were already leading to it's eventual downfall. The school only exceled in public education in 2 areas British Literature and Rugby. The continued use of corporal punishment and the cane didn’t help the public’s view of the college.
In 1970 the College was closed were good. It’s huge athletic fields were subdivided into residential housing and the building itself became a hotel called the Qualicum College Inn.
In the mid-70’s the building was as a filming location for a made for tv horror movie – It Happened at Lakewood Manor or Panic at Lakewood Manor – while it continued to be used as a hotel.
It is unclear when the building was abandoned as a hotel – called the Qualicum Heritage Inn at that point – but in 2007 it was declared a Heritage Property. Then the land developers came in 2012 and originally agreed to convert the buildings to high end condos.
Construction permits expired, finances ran low and the building, stripped on the outside. was never really renovated.
Then 2021 came and, assumedly, the right palms were finally greased and the building lost it’s heritage status. By the summer of that year the building was completely demolished to make way for modern condos.
As of yet, it is unclear what the demolishment has done to the paranormal activity. Based on other haunted buildings that were demolished the short answer is – probably not much.
The reports of paranormal activity begin in the 70’s after the conversion to a hotel. Although, it is highly likely they began while the college was operating, but were quickly hushed as haunted activity doesn’t make parents want to enroll their sons.
The 4th floor was said to be the most haunted with unexplained sounds of a woman crying, boys moaning and chanting. Room 453 – later 459 – was said to be the most haunted with the disembodied voice of a man, blankets being yanked off guests and the furniture moving about the room on it’s own. The bed also often had a rumbled look as if someone had slept in it when the room was empty.
Throughout the hotel there were 3 apparitions often reported: 1) a man in a full military uniform, 2) a small boy and 3) a woman.
Other Activity: lights turning on and off on their own; phantom sounds of people running as well as reports of people feeling someone unseen going running by them; the phantom sound of doors slamming; light anomalies; a ghost the staff nicknamed “Buddy” who would mess up rooms and cause issues with the phone systems and electronics – disembodied boy’s laughter was often heard after these issues and feelings of being watched.
Runs Between Government and View Streets and Wharf Street
Status: Former Colonial Fort; Former Courthouse and Jail; Execution Spot; Heritage Area; Public Alley
This site got it’s name from being the where the original Fort Victoria and bastion established by the Hudson Bay Company was built.
Previous to European colonization the Aboriginal peoples who lived in what is now Victoria’s Inner Harbour believed the land occupied by the square was cursed and filled with evil spirits.
The former courthouse and jail once occupied this area and executions by hanging were held here.
In the 1960’s a group of downtown Victoria businessmen got together and transformed the square into a shopping area for Victorians and tourists alike; which it remains today.
It is considered the heart of the haunted downtown as nearly every building bordering it has at least one story of a ghost. Many of the buildings are considered some of the most haunted in the city.
Haunted Locations and Paranormal Activity
When I was a teenager Bastion Square was known as the place where Satanic cults and those practicing Black Magick would recruit new members. Sounds like an urban legend but I was approached after dark by more than one sketchy individual looking to bring people into a cult practicing the dark arts.
It is also said to be frequented by vampires looking for willing victims to feed or turn.
The Former Courthouse
This building was also formerly the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.
Completed in 1889 this building was the British Columbia Supreme Courthouse until 1962. The gallows for hanging criminals was located just outside.
The executed inmates who weren’t claimed by family were buried on site. Their remains are under the square near the courthouse to this day.
The ghost of the city’s infamous hanging judge - Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie - is seen gliding down the main stairway. Visitors have also reported unexplained bangs and crashes; disembodied voices and screams; phantom footsteps and the feeling of not being alone.
Garrick’s Head Pub
A Victorian style pub that’s been at the Government Street end of the square since 1867. In the good ole days many people stopped in for a drink before attending public hangings nearby.
The pub is said to be haunted by Michael Powers – a former owner of the pub that was murdered over a century ago (the case remains unsolved) – he is most often seen near the fireplace on cold winter nights. There are rumours of other ghosts but no details about them that we could find.
Wind Cries Mary Restaurant
This restaurant – which has amazing reviews and a better reputation – is said to be haunted by 2 ghosts. A man named Brady and a woman named Lady Charlotte or Churchill were supposed to meet at the restaurant, but Brady got in a fight on the way there. His opponent smashed a bottle and slashed Brady’s throat killing him.
Both of them now are said to be spending eternity together at the place that brought them happiness. They are said to announce their presence by the strong smells of cigar smoke and perfume. Much more rarely there have been reports of seeing their apparitions in the restaurant.
Legend says a guard was escorting a prisoner through this alley in the 1850’s – this was before the courthouse was built but apparently there was already a jail – and decided to teach the inmate a lesson in respect. He beat the prisoner to death.
Since then, people have reported seeing the apparition of a man in shackles walking through the alley. The phantom sound of chains being dragged is also reported.
Photo Courtesy of Nadelene N
Photo Courtesy of Nadelene N
In 1887 on the original plot of land of 28 acres (9.3 hectares) the coal baron Robert Dunsmuir ordered construction on this Scottish Baronial castle to begin.
In April of 1889 Robert died before the castle was completed. His sons completed the house moving in Robert’s 3 unmarried daughters and 2 orphaned grandchildren in 1890.
Robert had verbally promised his sons the entire company and wealth would be transferred to them. Instead – per his will – he transferred everything to his wife, Joan. It is 7 more years before their mother would transfer ownership to her 2 sons.
Unfortunately, the youngest son – Alex – died on his honeymoon almost immediately after his mother finally relents and transfers ownership of the last colliery to her sons. This leaves William – the eldest son – in sole ownership of the family’s entire wealth and holdings.
Joan immediately began a lawsuit against her remaining son that went all the way to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London – which was the equivalent of the Supreme Court of Canada today. William had become the Premier of the Province of British Columbia by this point assuring this lawsuit became the equivalent of a celebrity trial in modern times.
After Joan’s death her daughters – who were still living in the castle but it was all that remained of the family fortunes still in their control – sold it. The castle was then given away in a raffle but lost to the bank in 1917 over unpaid debts.
In 1919, after being heavily renovated, the castle was opened as a military hospital. It was then used as classrooms for Victoria College until student numbers became too great for the structure. Then it was converted into office space and used by the Victoria Board of Education.
In 1959 a Heritage Society was formed to save the castle for history which finally gained access to the castle in 1969. However, any efforts to restore the castle back to it’s 19th century were stalled by having to share the castle with the Victoria Conservatory of Music.
In 1979 the Conservatory moved out needing more space and the city sold the reminder of the castle to the Heritage for one dollar.
They converted it to the museum it is today.
The apparition of Joan Dunsmuir is seen walking down the main staircase in a full ballroom gown. She is very particular about her haunting as she is never seen anywhere else on the stairs or even ascending the stairs.
The apparition of a young girl – who many think was Robert’s second daughter who passed away shortly after he did – is seen in the basement. Strangely enough she is almost always seen staring angrily at the floor. She is never seen for long as she will fade away should anyone enter the basement and witness her ghost.
The apparition of a maid in a Victorian uniform is seen throughout the house.
Other Reported Activity: objects moving on their own; phantom sound of a young children crying; rooms suddenly dropping in temperature and cold spots that move around the house; light anomalies; disembodied whispers; phantom smell of candle wax; the sound of a piano playing in the dining room when no one is in the room – there is also not one single piano in the house but there was 30 of them when the Conservatory of Music was in the building; electrical disturbances and feelings of being watched.
Opening on January 20, 1908 this Inner Harbour hotel is one of the oldest and most beautiful in the city. It was built by Canadian Pacific Hotel a branch of the Canadian National Railway (CNR). It was originally designed for visitors and business people to stay in upon reaching the terminus of the railway.
Although the CNR would discontinue passenger service to Victoria, the city was becoming a major tourist destination by the 1920’s. The grand hotel switched gears to providing 5-star accommodation to these new tourists very quickly.
Its hard to believe now; but in 1965 there was a debate as whether to keep The Empress or tear it down and built a new modern hotel. There was a large outcry from the public and the media – it seems the people of Victoria had fallen in love with their hotel in the harbour.
In June of 1966 the owner of the hotel confirmed it would not be demolished but rather receive a $4 million renovation and refreshment.
In 1989 the hotel received another refurbishment – this one costing $45 million – updating all the guest rooms and adding a health club, indoor pool and new reception. The long known urban legend that there is a tunnel between the hotel’s basement and James Bay – that is accessible at low tide – was officially confirmed. It is thought it was once part of the hotel’s sewage system.
I've been in this tunnel. It is rather creepy, very wet and not the place to get caught at high tide as the tunnel fills with water.
In 1999 all Canadian Pacific Hotels were rebranded as Fairmont.
The ghost of the original architect – Francis Rattenbury – still wanders the hotel. He is a slender man with a moustache and has a cane. He is most often seen in the hallways and lower lobby.
On the 6th floor the ghost of an elderly woman in pyjamas who knocks on guest’s doors asking for help in finding her room. She leads people toward the elevator before suddenly disappearing. Her name was Margaret and she was found dead of natural causes in her room in the late 1940’s.
The hotel continued to use Margaret’s room for guests until the reports of continued – and possibly increasing – paranormal activity made that impossible. The room was locked and remained unused after that; which is one of the reasons an elevator was installed here during renovations.
Also, on the 6th floor a maid continues to be seen cleaning despite the fact that she died in 1909. Her name was Lizzie McGrath – she lived on site as most staff did at the time – and she had a habit of sitting on the fire escape stairs but they had been removed for a renovation and she fell to her death just to right of the hotel’s main entrance. Lizzie’s apparition is also seen where she landed; often clutching her rosary.
While working on the top floor of the west tower a construction worker saw a shadow of someone hanging from the ceiling; right at the spot where an employee had taken his own life.
A little girl is said to haunt the room she died in but we were unable to track down that room number.
Other Activity: apparitions and shadow figures; cold spots and unexplained breezes in the building – no open windows or AC in the area; movement in the corner of people’s eyes; disembodied voices; electrical disturbances; phantom footsteps; light anomalies and feelings of being watched and not being alone.
This hotel was built in 1911 and has continually functioned as a hotel until modern times except for during the period between 1942-45 when it used as a priory. It is the third oldest hotel in the city; only the Fairmont Empress and the Dominion Hotel were built before it. All 100 rooms face outside and each floor has an open-air balcony with a view of Beacon Hill Park.
When the hotel functioned as a priory run by Mother Cecilia’s religious order it had its most famous guest; Emily Carr a very famous Canadian author and artist. Ms Carr passed away in the building on March 2, 1945 succumbing to a fatal illness.
The ghost of Emily Carr is frequently seen in the hotel especially in the room in which she passed away in which is now the men’s washroom for the pub. Perhaps she is unhappy with the current use of the room in which she spent her final days.
There is also a legend that anyone who criticizes her art is cursed to spend eternity as a ghost in the hotel.
Phones ring in the rooms in the middle of the night. Upon answering it guests find no one on the other end and the front desk has no record of a call being placed to the room.
There are also numerous reports of people feeling as if they being watched and of unease both inside and outside of the building.
By <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/people/32093297@N04">Brandon Godfrey</a> from Victoria B.C, Canada - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/32093297@N04/3964626728/">Ross Bay Cemetery: Fall colors</a> Uploaded by <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:PDTillman" class="mw-redirect" title="User:PDTillman">PDTillman</a>, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
This cemetery was opened in 1872 with its first interment being Mary Pearse; the wife of Benjamin Pearse who was one of the first public servants when BC first joined the Dominion of Canada.
It was named after the owner of the land – Isabella Mainville Ross – the first registered female landowner in the Province. She and her son are both buried in the cemetery.
In 1911 the sea wall was built to stop the ocean erosion from destroying the cemetery.
The cemetery was designed to be a Victorian garden and park as well as a burial yard.
There are over 27,000 people buried here including some very famous figures from the Province’s earliest days.
The apparition of Isabella Ross herself is seen looking over the ocean from the cemetery grounds.
The ghost of David Fee who was murdered outside of St Andrews Cathedral on Christmas Eve, 1890.
The apparition of an obviously agitated woman who runs around looking at the gravestones. It is thought she is looking for the burial spot of her child.
A ‘woman in white’ who walks the pathways of the grounds.
A couple dressed in Victorian clothing also wander the grounds.
Other Activity: disembodied voices, laughter and crying; unexplained mists; poltergeist activity; possession; shadow figures; misty white figures have been seen dancing among the tombstones; feelings of being watched and not being alone; light anomalies and touches by unseen presences.
There is also urban legends including the statue of a nun who if kissed at a certain time will kiss you back and a weeping statue of an angel.
I have experienced the sudden unexplained mists that will form as well as see through white figures dancing the mist; one even came close enough to physically bump the car I was in. I also had a friend become possessed in this cemetery.
And yes, I've kissed the nun at midnight; and yes, she kissed me back.
The first building on this site was the St Ann’s Chapel in 1886 – originally the St Andrew’s Cathedral but it was moved from another location – it was Victoria’s first Roman Catholic Church. The Academy itself was founded in 1880 by the Sisters of Saint Anne from Lachine, Quebec as the St Louis School but it was located in another area of the city.
The Sisters added the convent in 1887 and the school was moved here in 1910 as a girl’s boarding and day school from grades 3-12, a boy’s school from K to grade 3 as well as residential school for Aboriginal girls and orphans and a novitiate - where girls went to school to become nuns.
In 1973 the Sisters deconsecrated the site and sold the buildings and property to the Provincial Government. The Government used it for offices briefly but had to vacate due to a large number of repairs that needed to be done just to make the building safe.
As with most heritage and historically significant structures there was endless debate and no one wanted to spend any money to save the site. Luckily this site’s ownership was transferred to the Provincial Capital Commission a Government corporation that saves heritage properties in the Provincial Capital.
The entire interior of the building was gutted and rebuilt – bringing it up to the new earthquake safe laws – and brought back to what it looked like in the 1920’s. The BC Ministry of Advanced Education took over a lot of the building while the chapel can now be rented for weddings. The rest of the building is open as an interpretive centre and can be rented for private events.
The grounds of the site have now been annexed into neighbouring Beacon Hill Park.
The ghost of Emily Carr - one of the most famous Canadian painters - is often reported both in the building and on the grounds. She grew up in a house nearby and went to school at the Academy as a girl. This is one of three places where Emily’s ghost is seen in Victoria; she is the city’s most famous ghost.
Emily is also seen in the chapel tower; curiously with a monkey.
Emily Carr also haunts her childhood home and the James Bay Inn (see above).
Apparitions of nuns are seen wandering the grounds; they are, perhaps, searching for their former gravesites which have been moved from the grounds to the Saint Ann private plot in Ross Bay Cemetery. The nuns are described as always looking concerned.
The ghosts of the nuns are most frequently seen in the early morning hours just before the sunlight peeks over the horizon.
Near the building people report a powerful sense of unease. Legend says this is due to the architect, Thomas Hooper, who murdered people and disposed their bodies in the foundation of building. This is said to have given the building souls.
Shadow figures are also reported in the building; they usually are seen lingering in doorways taking full advantage of the natural shadows.
Phantom singing is reported in the building at night. This thought to be a student’s choir although its unknown why it only happens at night.
Other Reported Activity: apparitions of former students and nuns; objects moving on their own; electrical disturbances; disembodied voices; unexplained noises and mists; phantom footsteps; light anomalies and feelings of not being alone and being watched.