A while back, a user e-mailed us about phantom footsteps in Montgomery's Inn in Etobicoke. The location was new to us but the phenomena wasn't so as is our practice, we said we would (and did) keep it on file and see if another report would come in.
It took a few months (to the point where I'd almost forgotten about the site) and once again, a different person had written us about hearing a voice whispering directly behind them although there was no one there.
Well, unlike many of our other historical and museum haunts, to have reports of phenomena this far apart and from two separate and individual sources made us take a preliminary visit to the museum.
Sue and I accompanied by my sister went on a blustery Sunday to the museum.
The original structure was built in about 1830 and was the property of Thomas and Margaret Montgomery who ran the Inn (and bar which in itself is worth the visit to see... Sorry, they don't serve booze anymore but it's interesting to see a mid-nineteenth century bar as it looked "back in the day") and made quite a comfortable living doing so. The family business was in operations for twenty-five years and through farming the land and land speculation, Thomas had quite a bit of money and influence. He gave up inn keeping in 1855 when his wife Margaret died leaving him with five girls and two sons.
In 1877 when Thomas passed away, William Montgomery rented the land and inn to tenant farmers.
In 1946, the inn became the property of the Presbyterian Church who did extensive renovations to the inn to accommodate it's congregation and to hold a variety of meetings and functions.
Finally, after some turbulent times and an uncertain future, the inn was restored and opened as a municipally owned museum which as of the year 2000, is now part and parcel of the properties run by our friends at The City of Toronto Economic Development, Culture and Tourism Department, Culture Division, Museums and Heritage Services Section.
We went in and happily looked around the site. It's a beautiful restored Inn with many interesting features and a really well laid out self guided tour but museum workers are also on hand to assist you with learning about the items and the heritage of the building.
We were fortunate enough to have a gentleman on staff who was, as we say, "ghost friendly". When we introduced ourselves and told him about our reports, he immediately said (with glee) "Oh! Tell me about them!"
Sadly, we don't give out too much information as we do take our non-disclosure agreement very seriously but we did give him the practical gist of the reports. His response was more one of "Oh, I wish that were true." than "Nope, not here."
The guide shared experiences with us about places such as Old Fort York and Todmorden Mills but said that in the several years he had been working in Montgomery's, he couldn't claim a single sighting or report personally or via third party reports.
Now, as much as some may claim that this could be a subterfuge to not have us investigate the site, I would disagree. Our guide seemed very genuine and even offered some assistance on what it takes to rent the Montgomery's facilities for an evening event and even suggested some other places where he still occasionally works that might yield better reports and stories about Toronto's ghosts.
Still, is Montgomery's Inn haunted? Maybe. Maybe not. That's for the next few people who wander it's historic halls and stairwells to decide. We may revisit the site soon but to be honest, the best part of the place is an incredible selection of books for sale in it's mini-gift shop and a nice afternoon tea on Sunday... not to mention a wonderful step back into Toronto's history... and a historic bar.
It's worth the visit... maybe you may hear or notice something we didn't but regardless, you'll love the history!
Our apologies to the one fellow who sent in his report about the inn. Although we have not used it here in total, it is because when we wrote to you to request permission and extra information, our mail was bounced back. Please feel free to contact us using the link above if you wish to add or change anything.
Update July 2015
An incident that occurred to one witness at the inn many years back happened when the experient was on site late at night, they noted the sound "of a band playing music downstairs" in a room at the Inn facing directly onto Dundas facing north. The music was "foreign" to the witness who compared it it "to a type of ballroom music and there were other sounds including laughing and the people dancing." When the witness approached the room where they heard the sounds, "the music/sounds came to an abrupt end" with apparently no source for the music or sounds they'd heard.
Our thanks to the witness for contacting us and allowing for us to share their story.