I grew up in a small town that has lots of ghost stories. A few of them have inspired my novel Freaks & Grimm (will be released at some point). I also come from a family of storytellers and a good portion of those stories were about ghosts. When I moved to Toronto at the age of eighteen, the very first thing I did was dive into it’s haunted history. I bought books and eventually joined online communities. When I discovered haunted walks, I was in my element. Oh yes I was.
If I remember correctly, Bruce Bell was one of the first names I heard in relation to haunted Toronto. The other first for me was I dove deep into learning about Toronto and Canada’s Spiritualism history. It was a little harder to find information for Canada. There are lots of articles about the US, especially, the Fox Sisters. There were a lot of fraudsters and I often wonder if that embarrassment is why it’s harder to find information here. Nonetheless, I was able to find articles on Mary Melville and a few other spiritualists. To learn more, please click here.
It you want to learn more about Spiritualism or Occultism in Toronto, there are a few really good books at the Toronto Public Library and the Canadian Encyclopedia has a great article (see below). This is one of my favourites. The Secret City: An Occult History of Toronto
Spiritualism in Canada. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/spiritualism
Haunted Places Now let us move onto haunted places in Toronto. There are many haunted places in this city. There are also lots and lots of articles about it. Rather than rehash everything, I am going to link sources below. I was so incredibly obsessed with hauntings, that every time I moved to a new neighbourhood (that was a lot), I would investigate if there were any hauntings. At one point I had a book that I logged all of the information into, but it is long lost. I really wish I still had that book.
I currently live in the west end of Toronto and am very close to several cemeteries and well known haunted places such as Colborne Lodge, but I can also easily get to places like McKenzie House, Black Creek Pioneer Village (which holds a seance), Spadina House and the old Don Jail.
There are several books about Haunted Toronto, this one is by far my all time favourite. Haunted Toronto by John Robert Colombo
Haunted/Ghost Walks One of my favourite things to do when the weather is agreeable is go on Haunted or Cemetery walks. Unfortunately, due to Covid not many of these are happening right now. I have a few friends who run some of them and I will list any of the other ones I know about as well. Once they are up and running again, please join them!
The Haunted Walk: https://hauntedwalk.com/toronto-tours/
Ghost Walks of Toronto: www.ghostwalks.com
Toronto Ghost Walks: https://www.torontoghostwalk.com/
Haunted High Park. They do a walking tour every Halloween, but not sure about this year.
Montgomery’s Inn and the Islington Pioneer Cemetery also host haunted walks, but again…. who knows with Covid.
Cemetery Tours: Toronto also has some really cool cemetery tours. I kinda feel like Covid is ruining a lot of our fun so I’m going to stop repeating the phrase… due to Covid. Eventually, all of these cool things will be happening again.
Muddy York Tours: https://muddyyorktours.com/?page_id=57
Toronto Cemetery Tours: https://www.facebook.com/TorontoCemeteryTours/
For my birthday this year, I was going to do a haunted back walk, that of course included ghost stories…. but that didn’t happen. Next year?
If I’ve missed any, please post them in the comments below.