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Discover The Haunted Past Of Vancouver’s Deadman’s Island

Deadman's Island

Photo: chefon2wheels / Instagram

It may not appear haunted from a distance, but Deadman’s Island in Coal Harbour is one of the spookiest places in the province.

For one, its legacy is steeped in bloodshed. In fact, the island was originally a tree-burial grounds of the Squamish people. As such, many of the island’s trees had corpse’s tethered to, or leaning up against them.

Further, it it was described as “dead ground” by Chief Capilano. It had been the scene of a bloody battle between rival tribes and roughly two hundred warriors were killed.


Nevertheless, the island was converted into a cemetery for settlers. Afterwards, it was a quarantine site for victims of a smallpox epidemic as well as burial ground for those who died from the illness.

With plagues, war, burial grounds, murder, and more, it isn’t hard to fathom why the island is famously haunted.

RELATED: Road Trip To British Columbia’s Most Haunted and Abandoned Places

People say they’ve heard everything from a woman sobbing in the darkness to hurried feet scampering around a seemingly deserted area. In fact, people claim to have heard chains clanging in the utter darkness – scary.


Deadman's Island
Photo: Vancouver Archives

Deadman’s Island


Located just South of Stanley Park, the island seems unassuming from afar. Yet, it was the centre of a police dispute, which involved the first reading of Vancouver’s riot act.

“This small islet again became the site of conflict when Theodore Ludgate leased the island from the federal government in 1899, to the chagrin of the mayor and other civic officials who assumed that it was included in the original Stanley Park land grant. Mayor James Garden, with police accompaniment, tried to prevent Ludgate from clearing the land by reading the first ever Vancouver riot act after a showdown between Ludgate’s men and the police,” reports Wikipedia.

Afterward, Ludgate escaped arrest, and subsequently cleared the land in order to build a sawmill; however, he wasn’t able to build it before the legal proceedings determined that he did meet the terms of his lease.

Following this, officials planed to create a park on the, but it became a naval station in 1944 instead.

Want to learn about more of Vancouver’s spooky places? Be sure to check out the history of the massive tunnel that used to run beneath the city. Also, make sure that you also check out the history of this mansion that is considered one of the most haunted places in Vancouver.


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