"Official" links to these sites can be accessed by clicking on their name above the photos... our stories are linked, when available, in the brief write up below the photos. (Credit all images to The City of Toronto - Door's Open)
#1: Black Creek Pioneer Village
One of Toronto's premier tourist/historic sites and a place most Torontonians hold rather dear to their heart with childhood memories of school visits or trips with parents or family, BCPV has a few tales to tell about it's ghostly lore... (Link Here.)
Even the most ardent ghost enthusiast would be utterly forgiven for missing a discussion on Pioneer Village's ghosts with so much to take in! The staff really swing from "belief" to "disbelief" to understandable confusion (not knowing) about the site's paranormal stories and reports... so be careful speaking to them... especially during events like Door's Open where ghosts might not be the primary concern of the day's agenda!
#2: Casa Loma Stables and Potting Shed
If you read the notes on our site about Casa Loma, (link here,) you'll notice that historically and even via witness data and testimony, it does seem to lack a reputable ghost story... well, except the stables where, indeed, I had to eat a bit of crow! (Thanks to Austin Seton-Thompson, reports of "ghostly horses" in the tunnel may not be as far-fetched as we initially thought!)
To be honest, Casa Loma is currently in a bit of flux, with the recent sale of the property to The City of Toronto (from The Kiwanis Club) and although one curator (the most recent and probably the last through Kiwanis,) said that there is much "ghostly" to discuss, previous management were not of the same mind... so it's difficult to say whether the staff would be open to ghostly questions or comments or not. Use your discretion... but regardless, it's an amazing site to visit!
#3: Colborne Lodge
The original story of the ghost of this house is indeed on our site (link here,) but it was getting a note from a police officer (retired) directly involved with that first report that for us, made it a special story.
The staff are not exactly warm to their ghostly lore... but they don't cringe either. Chances are, you'll be going for the in-person and historical experience only, but it's well worth it... and any reason to stamp around High Park is a good one!
The former Toronto Stock Exchange has a rather interesting feeling about it... and is home to some interesting experiences. (Link here.)
Now, I can't say this as a coverall, but the staff we spoke to were quite forthcoming about their ghostly reports... although that was a while ago so who knows? Use judgment if asking about them... and just enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of this amazing space!
#5: Distillery Historic District Denaturing Room
What an honest treat of a site in Toronto... this despite a rather sad (though interesting) ghost story. (Link here.) One of Toronto's most amazing areas and a personal (family) historic site for your's truly! (The Torontoghosts link tells why...) Either way, "Building 47" is open to the public... and if you like neat neighbourhoods, amazing eateries, and a little bit of history, well worth the visit!
I am not sure how the folks who will be tending "Building 47" are in terms of their ghostly lore, but overall, our experiences have been amazingly pleasant and nice and yes, indeed, many staffers and all there have talked about the resident ghosts. Feel free to ask, no doubt, but do understand with Door's Open if they would prefer to hold off on ghostly talk until Halloween...
#6: The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
A breathtaking and amazing site and building with a fantastic history and more than it's fair share of ghostly lore and kooky history! (Link here.) Honestly, for sheer beauty and presence... and yes, ghostly tales, there's maybe only three sites in Toronto that are in league with this place... Very much worth the visit.
Although our own Richard Fiennes-Clinton does occasionally offer ghost tours through the theatres, at Door's Open, you will have the normal staffers and volunteers... so there's a CHANCE they'd be happy to talk about their stories and resident ghosts, but remember, they may not for this event.
#7: Fort York National Historic Site
If you were to say to me, "Where's the MOST LIKELY spot I might bump into something paranormal?" , statistically, it would have to be Fort York... specifically, the centre blockhouse and the officer's quarters... BUT... there's also been MANY experiences outside and in and around the fort's buildings and grounds! Ounce for ounce, it's still the site we get the most reports from... and with it's history, it deserves it! (Link here.)
Staff at the fort run luke-warm and cold to their ghostly lore... most of them feel it's nonsense although there are some notable exceptions. All of them will tolerate questions about their ghosts as a rule, but are far more interested in pointing out the site's history... and it's worth listening to these tidbits as indeed, they can be quite... something!
Two words almost always spring to mind with Gibson House... "Elegant" and "Charming". Haunted really isn't a big one, but none the less, there does seem to be "something" to the house... though that might indeed be in the eye of the visitor only. (Link here.)
I can honestly say that we've never had a chance to speak to the staff of the house (more's the pity for us!) as our everytime someone on our team has tried to make a date to visit, SOMETHING always seems to get in the way! (No, not a curse... sometimes it was good stuff!) So, I can't speak to the staff's friendliness towards the paranormal, but I have visited as a "history buff" and for that alone, well worth the visit!
#9: Lambton House
I wish I could tell you about Lambton House... but I can't... yet... and perhaps never. I can say that it's been brought to our attention on two occasions and that we are interested in having a peek in and speaking to the staff... which we will be doing come "Door's Open". So, no link... maybe not ever... we will see!
This said, I can say reading about the place and it's history has Sue and myself rather excited for our visit... which will be our first... but we are historians as well as paranormal enthusiasts, so even if we come out saying, "Nope, just a lovely historic site!", we will be VERY happy!
#10: Mackenzie House
It can (and has been) claimed that the ghost stories of Mackenzie House are Canada's most famous... and they well might be... (link here...) but if you've only ever gone there for "ghostly" things, take a few minutes to find out about the man and the publisher who made this his last home. It's QUITE the story... and well worth learning for ANY Canadian!
Staff are INDEED friendly about their ghostly lore here... though some - not-so-much. There is a decent book or two available in the gift shop and as for an environment, well, again, that's up to the visitor... but I've always enjoyed it!
#11: Old City Hall
Toronto's MARVELLOUS Old City Hall has always been home to the courts... and of course, the long lost (changed number) Courtroom 33... (Link here.) There is a genuine "air" to this place... granted, it's still a functional court house... so lot's of emotional history has been played out in it's rooms and halls.
An amazing building and previously, staff would indeed discuss the ghosts... but usually with a giggle and a scoff... so use your judgment when discussing things and really, just "enjoy"(?) the atmosphere of the place.
#12: Ontario Legislative Building (Queen's Park)
Other than being haunted by Tories past, Grit's present, and Dipper's future, this wonderful (and spectacularly beautiful inside and out) building is home to some rather interesting ghostly stories... and a rather unique past... (Link here.)
Overall, I've found MOST staff pretty happy to share about their ghostly lore... but again, this may not be the case at Door's Open, so use judgment...
#13: Parkdale Arts and Cultural Centre
I have (oddly enough) ABSOLUTELY no ghost reports from this building... or it's surroundings, despite being a quite well preserved bit of our city and in this particular case, a building with a unique address! (1313 Queen Street West)
Why it gets a mention here is because I have been to more than a few interesting exhibits at the site, it's across the street (almost) from possibly Toronto's best roti shops, and they have had some really cool and creative Halloween events in the past! I'd recommend not only poking your head in the centre, but have a look at some of the unique buildings and structure, especially in the first 1/2 block due South of the place.
#14: Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
Once not too long ago, we used to ask staffers at Toronto Museums which site they felt was haunted... and a surprising amount (at the time, the majority of them we spoke to,) pegged Todmorden Mills... Spookier yet, one of the stories on our site had a complaint from someone about "us" using "their" story... and we hadn't... there were enough differences to realise the same thing had happened to two people at different times. An amazing little site full of things to wander about and look at... and indeed, some interesting tales... (Link here.)
I'll be honest, we knew two staff members "on site" who were EXTREMELY forthcoming about their resident ghosts... and several who thought it was harmless bunk... so it's another "Caveat Emptor" in terms of discussing the paranormal with the staff... and remember, again, during "Door's Open", it may not be the right time...
#15: Regis College
Otherwise know as Christie Mansion... which indeed, has a very spooky (and in some ways, genuinely tragic and scary,) bit of folklore attached to it. (Link here.) A nice rare treat for the general public to have a walk-about in and a marvellous looking edifice to be certain!
I honestly have NO idea of how staff, volunteers, and/or students feel about their ghostly legend... so this one is another "Play It By Ear" situation if you wish to discuss things. I can say that some former students and staff STRONGLY believe in the tales to one degree or another, and others have let us know it's complete rot. This is another site that's really up to the visitor, I suppose...
BONUS: The Toronto Necropolis and Crematorium
Oddly enough, we don't have a single, recurring, historical report of a ghost in this cemetery... which is Toronto's oldest still going non-sectarian burial ground. It's not listed here for it's own ghosts, however, but for the history of the site... and perhaps it's permanent residents who might be lingering about in other locations (most notable, William Lyon Mackenzie, who's house is mentioned above...) Cemeteries are NOT really bastions of ghost stories, as most reports come from places where people lived, played, worked, and died... not where they're interred... but none-the-less, I love the history and quiet calm of a good burial ground... and between The Necropolis, St. James, and my personal favourite to wander through, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, it's rare I don't have a place to walk through for a bit of peace and reverence to muse at some funerary and memorial art... and indeed, absorb history.
Whether it's history, architecture, or "ghosts", there is something for everyone in these sites... and all the sites open for Door's Open!
Click here to learn what other buildings are open during this event... because there are others listed there that are on our site... but honestly, my fingers could only take so much typing in one night!
Please Note: This website nor our group is officially involved with Doors Open Toronto... This is simply a wee guide to places we've mentioned that will be featured at the event. All images used above are from The City of Toronto's Website for Doors Open 2011.