Photo Courtesy of Darkling Ghost
One of the glamorous railway hotels built across Canada to promote traveling by train in the early 20th century.
This hotel was constructed between 1911 and 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. When it was completed it was the tallest structure in the city.
The hotel was originally to be named The Selkirk but it was decided to honour Upper Fort Garry which had once stood at the junction of the Red and the Assiniboine Rivers. A location that was the starting point when Winnipeg was laid out.
In 1979 the hotel was bought by a Winnipeg family and has been run as an independent hotel since then; albeit by different owners
The hotel doesn’t deny that it is haunted; although it doesn’t seem to be exactly thrilled about it either. There is no mention of paranormal activity on the hotel’s website but the staff doesn’t deny it if asked in person. If pressed for details, though, they become a bit more reserved about ‘rumours and innuendos’ of events that happened ‘before their time’.
The hotel will allow you to book and stay in the haunted room.
The most famous paranormal legend in the hotel is that of Room 202. The story is that in the 1910’s or 1920’s a newlywed couple stayed in the room. The wife sent the husband out to get some pills for her headache. While completing his errand he was tragically struck by a horse and carriage and killed.
The woman – torn by guilt – is said to have hung herself in the closet ending her own life. The hotel expressively denies she hung herself in the closet; that detail may be too much for guests staying in that room. Legend says she now is trapped in Room 202 for eternity; forever waiting for her husband to return.
In Room 202 guests describe hearing footsteps walking – the floorboards are said to creak - around the bed. Wet squishy footsteps are also heard coming out of the bathroom. The phantom sound of wire hangers scratching inside in the bedside closet is reported as well. The disembodied sounds of crying has been heard. Both the TV and the light inside the closet are known to turn on by themselves. A cloaked dark figure has been seen standing at the bottom of the king bed in the room.
The most chilling report is that of blood running down the walls in a scene straight out of the Amityville Horror or The Shining. Liberal MP Brenda Chamberlain stayed in the room and reported an eerie feeling and an invisible presence getting into bed with her.
Apparently, there is a woman who regularly books Room 202 and swears a woman in a white ball room gown visits her there. There is a no more classic ghost story than the woman in white.
Beyond the famous – infamous? – Room 202 is the lesser known legends of the hotel. The ghost of a singer in the Palm Lounge who is known for giving witnesses headaches. In the Broadway Room a ghost is seen still enjoying his meal; last meal?
Other Activity: objects moving on their own; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen presences; electrical disturbances; light anomalies; disembodied voices; cold and warm spots and feelings of uneasiness, being watched and not being alone.
Per Our Winnipeg Representative (Darkling Ghost):
When the hotel was being built the guy installing the elevator fell down the shaft to his death. His spirit has been blamed for the elevator acting weird, such as the lights rapidly flashing like the elevator is plummeting down but nothing happening. A nicer old lady was seen in the elevator striking up a conversation with a little girl then when the elevator opened the old lady walked out and vanished in front of the guests.
People have also reported a frightening old lady looking through the windows of the stairwells from the outside and when looking up she'll be looking down at you.
In the Fort Garry Hotel, the lady in white roams the first floor lobby, too. I've seen her in a mirror for a moment before she disappeared. Looked like she was standing against a wall waiting for the west side banquet hall to clear of people. Very pretty and not scary at all.
This is the mirror I saw her in, at this position. With how mirrors reflect the area in front of you when you're looking at it from the side, she would've been in standing just under that sconce. I saw her brunette ringlets and carrying a white fan, wearing a lacy white ballgown. She caressed a ringlet from her face. I couldn't make out exactly what her face looked like. The sense I got was that she didn't want any attention and felt I shouldn't mention it to anyone. I left keeping it to myself and didn't tell anyone for a year.
In 1973 the Health Sciences Centre was established by the Provincial Government uniting the Children's Hospital of Winnipeg and Winnipeg General Hospital (Winnipeg General Hospital will be the subject of a future article) as well as other smaller health facilities.
The amalgamation was done to group everything under one administration group; in 2000 the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority took over the operations of the medical complex. This hospital is the largest in Winnipeg.
This facility is also associated with the University of Manitoba as well as being used as a research centre and teaching hospital for residents of Northwestern Ontario and Nunavut and employs over 6000 people.
Apparitions of former staff and patients have been witnessed wandering the hospital. In a rarely used portion of the building there a phone inside an old elevator that makes calls to other parts of the building with no one on the other end of the line. The elevator has been examined many times when this happens but the phone is found still on the receiver and still covered in dust.
Phantom footsteps are heard in empty rooms that immediately cease once the living enter the room, these footsteps have also been heard echoing in empty hallways.
One couple had a woman beat them to the bank of elevators so they waited behind her for the elevator to come. When it did this woman entered and went straight to the back of the elevator. They decided to wait for the next one but the doors began to close they suddenly stopped and reopened like someone put arm up to block them. The couple then entered the elevator to find it empty with no sign of the woman they both watched enter.
This facility is located where the original the original Winnipeg General Hospital was located which already had numerous stories relating to the paranormal including: phantom footsteps; balls of light traveling through the halls; doors opening and closing on their own and unexplained noises from whispers to loud bangs.
According to staff here the 5th floor is the most haunted.
Per Our Winnipeg Representative (Darkling Ghost):
The Health Sciences Centre is just eerie. I didn't have my daughter delivered there,, but I heard mothers would hear phantom voices during their stay. My mom was there for surgery and she said she saw a man and a doctor talking outside her door and the man peeking in at her. But other nurses said no one was really there. She could hear the conversation. Now, she says it was the anesthesia, but it does inline with other's claims. I didn't want to scare her so I left her with her own explanation. These reports are not as rampant as other hospitals in the city.
The first Grey Nuns came to Manitoba in 1844 and lived with Bishop Norbert Provencher – one of the most prominent figures in the creation of the Province and the first Bishop of Manitoba – while this house was being built.
The Grey Nuns moved into the building in December of 1847 when the kitchen was the only room fully completed with a floor, 4 walls and a ceiling. The nuns lined the rooms with beaver pelts in order to survive the harsh Winnipeg winter.
Eventually the building became 2 floors plus a basement and an attic. The nuns not only lived here but also ran western Canada’s first hospital, an orphanage and a senior’s home in the building. Eventually a school for both boys and girls was run here as well. In the long run the school was become a boarding school for just girls.
In 1950 the St Boniface School for Nurses had to move into the building as well; as their school was flooded out.
In 1958 the Grey Nuns left the building, and it was nearly demolished in 1959 despite the Canadian Federal Government recommending it as a possible museum. Through the efforts of the municipality and historical groups the building was saved. It finally underwent massive renovations when the nuns leased the building to the municipality and the Federal Government for a period of 99 years in 1963.
In the summer of 1967 it was opened as a museum.
The museum underwent renovations in both 1990 and from 1993 to 1995. When it re-opened in 1995 an admission was charged for the first time.
Today the building is the oldest in Winnipeg and the oldest oak structure in all of North America.
The museum contains exhibits related to the Metis and French culture in Manitoba including Louis Riel and his failed rebellion against the Canadian Government.
The phantom sounds of monks singing as well as a nun’s choirs are often heard in the building.
The phantom sounds of children running, playing and laughing is also often heard.
Objects frequently move on the own including doors opening and closing and taps turning off and on.
Lights flickering and other electrical disturbances are also reported.
Other Reported Activity: disembodied voices; light anomalies and feelings of not being alone and being watched.
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Originally this location was a flagship store for the failed Canadian retailer Eaton’s and part of one of the many Eaton’s Centres in the major cities of Canada.
When Eaton’s went bankrupt, this store was cleared completely out by 2001. There were many plans put out for the old building but above all the people of Winnipeg wanted to keep the iconic building frontage.
After some resistance this dream came to an end when the building was demolished in 2002. It was decided to built a state-of-the-art hockey stadium to replace the very aged Winnipeg Arena; which was built in 1955. On November 16, 2004 the new arena was opened.
The first tenants of the stadium – which also hosts concerts and international sports events – was the AHL team Manitoba Moose (2004-2011) until the NHL Winnipeg Jets finally returned to Winnipeg; in 1996 the original Jets team had moved to Phoenix and become the Coyotes after facing serious financial issues.
On June 15, 2021 the naming rights to the arena were sold to Canada Life for 10 years.
It is thought that the hauntings as from back when the building was an Eaton’s store. This is not the only former Eaton’s store with paranormal activity which begs the question what was Eaton’s doing in their stores?
All reports of paranormal activity have been made by employees.
The apparition of a woman in black has been seen aimlessly wandering the arena – she seems to be unaware of the living.
Other Activity: disembodied voices including entire conversations between 2 or more people; phantom footsteps; objects moving on their own and other poltergeist activity; light anomalies; cold spots; people’s names being whispered in their ears and feelings of not being alone and being watched.
Per Our Winnipeg Representative (Darkling Ghost):
There were ghosts seen by security when this building was still an Eaton's store.
One thing about the location of the Canada Life Centre is that it's close to The Forks, which is an ancient trading and gathering site, as well as a sacred burial site all along that area. When the Canadian Museum of Human Rights was being built, the area that was being excavated, there were all sorts of Native artifacts that were found. When construction commenced unexplainable disruptions were happening reported by workers. It was openly deemed a cursed site, ironically.
Canadian Museum of Human Rights
Photo Courtesy of Darkling Ghost
In 1882 the Osborne Street Bridge was built over the Assiniboine River. This opened up access to St Boniface West (now known as the River-Osborne Neighbourhood).
In typical human fashion it was the rich who took advantage of this and crossed the bridge to build fashionable mansions. As the 20th century began, though, a new form of construction was beginning to compete with the mansions: the apartment building.
Unlike the concrete and glass monstrosities that we construct now the original apartment buildings were low rise and filled with large and generally lavish suites.
The Roslyn Court Apartments were built in 1909 at a cost of $205,000 ($6,740,000 in 2023 dollars) making it the most expensive residential building ever built in Winnipeg at that time. It was built in Queen Anne style – which would later guarantee it’s position as a heritage site – and of stone and concrete (due to building codes stating it had to be fireproof).
Many of Manitoba’s elite and famous have lived in this building including Lady Macdonald widow of Hugh John Macdonald a former Premier of Manitoba and son of Canada’s first Prime Minister and Dr Olive Cole the city’s first female dentist.
The design of the building is said to be a labyrinth of hallways combined with some unique apartment designs. Most apartments are massive suites with 2 or 3 bedrooms but there are a couple of tiny 1 bedroom apartments only 350 square feet albeit with 12 foot ceilings.
A large – six to seven foot tall – dark figure is seen stomping around the hallways, people’s apartments and in the laundry room. The figure has even chased people through the halls.
Many people believe this to be the ghost of the architect, William Wallace Blair, who is said to have gone insane while designing this building.
This shadow figure/apparition – unlike most similar phenomena – is said to appear quite frequently and most tenants in the last 50 years have at least 1 story regarding it. Whether they’ll admit that or not is a different story.
Other Reported Activity: unexplained noises; objects moving on their own; lights flickering on and off and feelings of being watched.
444 York Street
Status: Former Jail; No Public Access except for 2 Days a Year
Photo Courtesy of Darkling Ghost
When Winnipeg purchased Fort Garry and demolished it in the late 19th century Main Street could finally be extended. This also resulted in the city’s first courts and jail at Main and William Ave – which had become a dismal dungeon and all around hell hole – to be sold and the profits to be used to build a new jail.
The new Provincial jail was to be built on what was then the edge of the city behind the new courthouse.
The ground floor held 7 cells with the east wing being used to house the light criminals; the mess was also on this floor. The second floor housed the 7 female wards as well as the workroom and the hospital. The attic served as the dormitory for the prison staff.
The west wing was the maximum security wing. Only male prisoners and only those charged with robbery, rape and murder.
The basement was solitary confinement: no windows, no natural light and you were hung by chains attached to your wrists and ankles.
The north (front) wing was housing for the jailer (warden) and his family.
In the beginning the jail was dirty and gave little attention to prisoner comfort. The Province, however, actually made an effort to clean it up. By 1890 the jail was listed as being in good condition and having electric lighting installed throughout.
Renovations were in the 1909-10 period which included adding the cupola on the roof and extending the south wing.
The mentally and physically disabled were “stored” here and treated the same, if not worse, as the prisoners before they were transferred to the Selkirk Asylum.
The prisoners basically only did 2 things while they were awake: worked and tended to spiritual matters.
Before 1909 and new laws children were tried as adults and locked up in the same cell as adults. Children as young as 5 years old were incarnated in the jail.
In the beginning the public were sometimes allowed into the jail and treated it as a zoo.
There is a gallows in the courtyard. Executions by hangings first started on May 27, 1899 of 2 murderers. Actually, the contractor of the legislative building, Earl Leonard Nelson was hanged here, too. Thirteen people were hanged and buried in unmarked graves in Brookside Cemetery, 3001 Notre Dame Ave.
All executions were held at the new jail from 1930.
It's not open to the public most of the time, but once a year there's an event called "Open Doors Winnipeg”, where some locations make it public for a day for people to explore and there's historical tours. The Vaughan Street Jail being one of them.
The jail's use has been changed since 1930 and the top floors are deemed structural safety hazards.
Most of the cells have been removed but the solitary confinement cells in the basement are still there.
Per our Winnipeg Representative Darkling Ghost
When I was on the Muddy Waters Ghost Tour I took this photo and felt drawn to the 3rd window to the left, on the 2nd floor. After I took the picture the guide then told the group she once saw the silhouette of a lady with her hair up in a bun, like a prison warden would have, walking by that very window I was drawn to but not walk past the other windows.
Most of the reports of that old jail are feelings of being watched, run up on followed by phantom footsteps and blasts of air and phantom voices, feelings of being touched