Our beautiful city of Vancouver may look sweet and innocent at first glance.
The Stanley Park Seawall brings joy to bike riders, runner and everything in between. Granville Island is an artsy, quaint place to kick back and enjoy local artwork. And Deep Cove is the picturesque place to have a picnic while watching the sailboats on the water.
RELATED: The 10 Most Haunted Places In Canada
But imagine looking through a dark lens – one that transports you into the haunted past. A time where terrible things happened on the streets of your favourite neighbourhoods. You may have experienced your own chilling ghost encounters without even knowing it.
Myth or mystery? You be the judge. Just remember to always bring a friend with you if you plan to adventure around these places in the 604.
The Sylvia Hotel
Take a walk along Guilford Street in Vancouver’s West End and you’ll feel as if you’re living in another time. The neighbourhood is one of the oldest in the city and the buildings definitely reflect that. The Sylvia Hotel stands out amongst other buildings: it was built in 1912 and has an iconic neon ‘S’ at the entrance. Overgrown vines decorate the outside, giving it an undeniably creepy vibe. What makes this hotel so spooky? Stay in room 604, we dare you. Former guests have felt an invisible presence in the room with them. One guest even claims she was laying down and someone sat on her, but no one else was in the room.
Located in Vancouver’s upper class neighbourhood of Shaughnessy stands the Hycroft Manor. This 20,000 square foot home was built for politician and war hero General Alexander Duncan McRae, who has since died. It is said that McRae’s ghost has been seen wandering the halls in his war uniform, alongside his wife who also checks up on the mansion. Since the building was used as a hospital during the Second World War, it’s no surprise people have heard screams and seen apparitions of head nurses from that time. Apparently, when the Dalai Lama visited in 2009, he rid the mansion of all ghostly spirits.
Vancouver’s party district entertains more than just the living these days. With both the Orpheum and Vogue Theatre rumoured to be haunted, Granville Street is not a neighbourhood you’ll want to call forever home.
The Vogue Theatre, built in 1941, is notoriously known for the man in the tuxedo and bowtie who casually is seen sitting in theatre seats and enjoying the shows. Another ghost of a more creepy nature has been known to open and close doors in the downstairs dressing room area.
And The Orpheum Theatre, constructed in 1927, is haunted by a former acrobat who fell to his death during a vaudeville act – an act made up of a series of unrelated acts groups together by a common bill, like acrobatics, singing, dancing and even animal training all coming together in one performance. The fallen acrobat makes an appearance at the Orpheum every so often, mostly seen as an orb of light by staff and performers.
University of British Columbia
If you’re buried in your books studying your days away, you probably won’t even notice the slight hauntings that happen around campus. And with so many other students living around the area, this neighbourhood is fairly safe to reside in. But take a drive along University Boulevard on a rainy night, and you may see a woman hitchhiker waiting to be picked up. Sometime in the 1960’s, a couple started fighting while driving to the campus library. Apparently the woman got out of the car and began walking in the rain – only to be hit and killed by another car. Some men have claimed to have picked up the woman, who gives them a piece of paper with the library’s address on it. If the man is alone, the woman will get into the passenger seat and then vanish. Talk about a tease!
Gastown is home to some amazing pubs and restaurants, the iconic Steam Clock and cute touristy shops filled with trinkets and treasures. But it’s also one of Vancouver’s most haunted neighbourhoods.
We’re sure you’ve heard the stories of the ghost conductor at the Old Spaghetti Factory on Water Street. A decommissioned electric streetcar from the 1950s decorates the middle of the dining room, where the conductor has been seen on many occasions, even in pictures of the streetcar. Another ghost with a red head frequents the woman’s washroom and likes to give ladies a scare there, too.
Along the streets of Water and Cordova, other spooky ghosts are rampant. A man wearing a bowler hat has been seen at the Bodega Hotel. And another eccentric looking man in strange clothes was observed on a security mirror at the Hotel Europe. Both ghosts wore clothes that didn’t match up with our current trends. In fact, the haunters matched the clothes that would have been worn around the time of the Great Vancouver Fire of 1886.
Georgia Street houses the infamous Hotel Vancouver’s Lady in Red. This socialite mistress has been seen floating the halls of the hotel and sometimes walking the outside ledges. If your elevator makes a surprise stop on the 14th floor, you’ll see her wander by when the doors open. She’s harmless, though. The hotel even named a cocktail after her!
If you are in the navy, you may have called this place home. But you’ve probably needed earplugs while trying to sleep – it’s said that ghosts from the island’s past have been heard with chains clanging through the night. The island was once used as a “pest house” in the 1890s during a smallpox outbreak. The area was used as Vancouver’s first cemetery. However, nobody knows just how many bodies were actually buried at the island. To this day, many officers and Seaman have either heard strange noises (while being completely alone), heard voices and footsteps, and even felt someone’s touch. Most of the creepy business happens in Building No. 1, so try to avoid that area if you ever make a visit to the island.
For all of you suburban folks out there, you’ve most likely driven past this eerie hospital along Lougheed Highway many times. The building screams horror movie. The former mental hospital in Coquitlam opened up a special treatment centre, the West Lawn Pavilion, in 1913 which housed 300 of the region’s most troubled male patients. And given the time of the practices, rumour has it that some barbaric forms of treatment were used on the insane patients. Though no one has reported any specific ghosts of the area, just being around the decaying building is enough to turn most people away. Photographers who have entered the building, especially the West Lawn area, were too unsettled by the atmosphere of certain rooms to continue shooting photos.
The Old Keg Restaurant
New Westminster is the oldest city in Western Canada – so of course the surrounding area would make our list. If you’ve ever dined at The Keg along Columbia Street (now closed), you may have felt a strange presence while doing so. The building has been officially deemed as haunted by the Canadian Paranormal Society. After a tragic fire in 1898, many buildings were destroyed, except for a few – including the former CPR railway station that is now home to the restaurant.
People have claimed to hear footsteps when no one else is around, a woman’s face has been seen in a mirror behind a patron (yet no one was sitting there), and there have been ghostly sightings in the stockroom. You won’t be able to make a reservation there anymore, however, since the restaurant shut its doors due to structural issues in 2013.
Have you encountered a ghost in a neighbourhood or haunted area we forgot to mention? We’d love to hear your spooky stories in the comments section below!