Halloween tours unveil the haunted history of Queen’s Park
In the spirit of Halloween, the Ontario Legislative Building is hosting its annual Ghosts of Queen’s Park tours where staff tell of their supernatural encounters and guests are invited to visit scenes of paranormal activity.
Otherwise known as the Pink Palace, Ontario’s Legislative Building is not only attractive to art and architecture enthusiasts, but to ghost hunters as well. In fact, the historic building at 111 Wellesley St. is often referred to as one of the most haunted sites in Toronto.
The heritage building is famous for its winding hallways, staircases, stained glass and marble arches designed by British architect Richard A. Waite. The interior of the traditional Victorian structure is decorated with an abundance of historically significant artwork and portraits.
The tour begins by giving guests a brief history lesson, beginning with the fact that the grounds used to belong to King’s College.
King’s College opened in 1842 as a teaching facility, but only survived seven years due to structural challenges. The establishment was then converted to the University of Toronto in 1850 and at the same time, the original building became the University Lunatic Asylum.
The asylum was used to shelter clinically insane women at a time when society had no understanding or compassion for the mentally ill. There are zero patient records and barely any documentation to prove the asylum existed at all. Legend has it, three patients perished upon demolition of the structure in 1873.
The Legislative Building that stands today has undergone numerous alterations, but was initially completed in 1892 and opened to the public a year later. Since then, it has primarily hosted the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Although 24 premiers have come and left Queen’s Park over the years, psychics believe that to this day, some members haven’t left.
There’s undoubtedly something creepy about the old parliament building — the abandoned rooms, echoing hallways and dim lighting seem to set people on edge. After all, the same limestone that once lined cells of ‘lunatics’ was incorporated into the basement walls.
Coincidentally, limestone is said to possess certain supernatural properties. In fact, there was a whole theory developed around the connection between crystals and spirits called the Stone Tape Theory. The premise is that emotional energy can be absorbed in quartz or limestone in a similar way to events being tape recorded. This theory explains why sensitive souls may experience a ‘playback’ when surrounded by trapped energies.
Many MPPs, government staff and workers report witnessing some paranormal activity during their time at Queen’s Park. Our guide pointed out several key paranormal hot-spots during the tour, including the chamber area, the attic, the Speaker’s Chamber and the basement.
He then described local ghosts that occasionally appear to the unsuspecting eye. Acclaimed psychic, Amanda Keays, was hired to validate the existence of the following six spirits:
A young lady in a white nightgown wails in the attic and only appears to men. She is aggressive and determined to find her husband who abandoned her at the asylum all those years ago. One constable reported being pushed down the stairs from the attic after sensing an overwhelming negative energy in the doorway.
An old woman with long white hair paces the halls to the Chamber and the grand staircases, screaming at those who stare back at her. A security guard swears he encountered her one night. He shudders at the memory of her piercing screech.
A third woman has been spotted walking through walls in the basement, weeping in great despair and occasionally with her skirt thrown over her head.
A former lieutenant-governor, dressed in red, is said to linger around his old office and the music room, where the psychic reported another couple resides. The grand piano has been heard playing itself during the wee hours of the night.
A previous sergeant-at-arms, Charles S. Rutherford, is said to guard the Chamber. He has spooked constables patrolling the public gallery. He is said to be one of the more friendly spirits, despite his misspelled name on the third floor hallway.
Hon. Richard William Scott is rumoured to haunt the first floor, near the current Speaker’s office. He served as Speaker for a short period during 1871 before being appointed to the provincial cabinet as Commissioner of Crown Lands. Apparently, he is to blame for constantly tearing down a banner across the hall from his portrait.
Other apparitions include men in old-fashioned military uniforms, women dressed in 18th century formal dresses and a soldier with a wooden leg. While none of the ghosts made an appearance during the tour, the building itself was a sight to see. Unfortunately, Halloween tours ended last Friday. However, there are plenty of options for tours at Queen’s Park all year-round. For schedules, reservations, or general inquiries, contact email@example.com.