..By the way, while I'm on the subject of hauntings, I recall another story of a haunted pub, told to me by an ex-girlfriend a few years ago. You may want to add it to your North York file.
It has to do with the Frog & Firkin pub, on the west side of Yonge, just north of Sheppard. I was raised from the age of about 2 in this neighbourhood, and about 20 years ago, a pub opened up, called the Victoria and Albert. It was about three doors north of the old funeral home (I don't remember the name any more, but I'd recognize it if I heard it), and about four doors from the old Dempsey's hardware store - a landmark in the area, it had stood on the same site for well over 100 years.
In any event, the V&A changed hands, became the Frog and Firkin around 1994. But apparently during the changeover, not all the building's occupants left. My ex worked as a waitress at the Frog just after the changeover, and she told me that one night, after closing, the staff had finished their cash outs and were readying to leave.
The manager was in the basement office, tallying up the night's take. He returned to the main floor, and just as he reached the top of the stairs, the burglar alarm went off.
He went back to investigate. This downstairs office (though I've never seen it myself) is apparently towards the end of a very short, dead-ended hallway. No two people could possibly pass one another without being seen. The manager maintained that after he'd checked to make sure no one was in the office, he turned to lock the door and re-set the alarm, when he became aware of a feeling (we've all experienced it) of someone watching him. He turned quickly - quickly enough to have caught a glimpse of anyone passing him the hall. There was nothing but an empty, dimly-lit corridor. He swore someone had passed behind him, someone who could not physically have escaped his notice once he'd turned to look, given the logistics of the hallway.
He returned to the main floor, plainly spooked, according to the remainig wait staff, and didn't relate any of his experience until some weeks later.
A footnote: My ex also mentioned that the kitchen staff, who worked on the main floor, were mainly Sri Lankans. She knew one chap, a former guerilla who'd apparently fought with the Tamil Tigers: He was no shrinking violet. And yet he related to her a similar experience after going into the basement to retrieve some supplies. According to my ex, this man refused from that day onward to go into the basement, because he'd maintained that something unseen had been staring at him. And she added that several of the other Sri Lankan staff also would not descend the staircase. They too had felt someone watching them who couldn't possibly have been there.
The author of this story has given us his "ex's" name and we will be following this up (if nothing more than for a pint!) The pub in question is a popular place for people in Matthew Didier's office (his day job is as a technician for a large company) so we can safely guarantee some kind of follow up.
It has also been pointed out to us on more than one occasion that we should point out that the Tamil Tigers are, depending on your views, a "gang of mobsters", a "violent youth gang" or "guerilla soldiers". It's almost been as much a debate on them as on the ghosts! Please, we aren't here to debate other's views on people but on ghosts. If you wish to discuss this group, I'm sure there are better forums than this one.
Below is the most recent account of things at the Frog...
You know, I could not resist having dinner there once I read this story.
I dragged my sister with me downstairs to the laidies room to see if anything would occur while we were exploring. It didn't.
I could not help making a comment to the very nice waitress that served us that night, though. In response to my question 'So, have you ever seen the ghosts?', see got very animated.
She was shocked to hear that anyone else knew of the goings on after hours at the pub. She added that she could not seem to get a cleaning crew that was willing to stay for more than a couple of weeks at a time. The last comment by the crew that had quit about 10 days prior to us going for dinner was that they would not stay because 'There are too many ghosts around'.
Update June 2002 Here is another new report recently submitted to us by one of our readers...
It was a fairly busy Friday night in the winter of 2002 at the Frog & Firkin.
After a few pints I left my seat at the bar and proceeded toward the stairs that leads to the bathrooms downstairs. When I approached the top of the stairs I noticed a man at the bottom of the stairs. I thought it quite unusual when he turned left toward the ladies room instead of right towards the men's room. I assumed he was new and didn't know his way around.
When I reached the bottom of the stairs I expected to run into him as by this time he would have realized he had gone in the wrong direction. However, no one was there! The only other door goes to a storage closet which was clearly locked.
I proceeded into the bathroom with caution as I knew there was no where else he could be. I assumed he was drunk and disorientated and had gone into the ladies room unknowingly.
When entering into the ladies room I saw no one! I bent down to look under the stalls for feet! No feet!
I had this terrible feeling that I was not alone in there! Where did he go? The only way out was passed me and he definitely did not go passed me! The whole situation gave me creeps so bad I decided not to go to the bathroom after all.
I stopped to brush my hair at the vanity counter and it was then that I heard the toilet flush! Not once, but twice!
I ran so fast that I almost broke my legs getting up the stairs. When I returned to my seat and told my boyfriend what had just happened he told me I was crazy and making up stories for attention!
Thanks for the story regarding the Frog & Firkin. I feel a lot better now knowing that others have also had similar experiences.
I never mentioned to anyone other than my boyfriend what transpired that night.
Update February 2003 More reports are still coming in from the pub...
On your website I read up on The Frog and the Firkin Ghost story. This made me very curious, so my boyfriend and I decided to go check out the bar. When we first got there I went to sit at a corner table, while my boyfriend went to the washroom. My boyfriend said that while he was "doing his business", he felt as though something was breathing down his neck... as though some one was watching him. He looked behind him, but no one was there.
Later that night I too had to visit the restroom. When I was done, I tried to turn the lock on the stall door but it wasn't moving. So I tried turning it the other way, but it still wasn't moving. I started to panic. I began to BANG on the door, but the door still was not opening. So I decided to calm myself down and try again. I tried the lock to the right one more time, like I did before, and this time the door unlocked. At this point I was almost in tears, running towards my boyfriend whom was waiting for me outside the washroom door. He asked what was wrong, and I told him.
He then told me that while I was trapped in the stall, he heard a flush come from the Men's bathroom. Curiously, he went to the Men's bathroom, and looked under all the stall's to see if anyone was in there. No one was in site.
Earlier that evening, I asked our waitress if the bar was haunted. Her mouth dropped and she then asked how I knew that. I told her about your website. She then told us one day how she opened the bar, and when she walked in, it was raining inside (maybe a plumbing problem?!?). She also said things would go missing behind the bar, and how her manager had to hire a new cleaning crew every other week. This was also mentioned in the other story.
A month later I decided to go back with a few friends. We felt brave, so we went into the washroom. I noticed that the last stall has a small door on the wall, the lock was broken off, and when I opened it, I stuck my head inside and it seemed that there was enough room for me to walk through the wall sideways. I decided not to take that chance.
Update - November 2006: One of our readers writes:
I've been living in North York for about 15 years, and I go to The Frog & Firkin quite a lot since it's only about a 2 or 3 minute walk from where I live. I consider it my fave local pub. Anyway I dropped in about 2 weeks ago on my way home from work ordered a beer, and went to use the washroom, As I went into the men's room I could have sworn I saw someone out of the corner of my eye, but i was the only one in the washroom. I have also felt that I'm being watched when I'm in the basement.
Our thanks to the witness for reporting his experience to us.
Update - November 2008
A reader writes......
Last month, in the spooky month of October/08 at the Frog & Firkin on a Saturday night. I came in near midnight. I usually sit at the bar but at the time only the table in from of the bar was available so I put my jacket around a chair and sat down. When a spot at the bar became available I moved over, but forgot my jacket (unbeknown to me at the time). I left after awhile for home, and once I got there realized that I had forgotten my jacket. I phoned the Frog & Firkin and talked to the bartender about the jacket she looked, but said she could not see it there.
The next morning at 10:00 am I went over there and outside met up with the manager and another person, Craig, who is very familiar with the Frog (since it was the Victoria & Albert some years ago). I told Craig of losing my jacket and he entered the Frog & Firkin with me to look for the jacket, asked me where I was sitting I proceeded to tell him “I was here first and then moved over to the bar”. He suggested that maybe someone took it off the chair and placed it on one of the hooks available close by. At that point I looked straight at the hook immediately behind the chair I was sitting and so did Craig and we both saw nothing.
Thinking the jacket was lost I went home and returned at approximately 9:00 pm and got a beer and something to eat. At 10:00 pm the manager came in and asked me about the jacket and where I was sitting etc. He walked over to the hook and said “Is this your jacket”? Well, yes there it was hanging on the hook by the loop inside the jacket. I pumped the manager, asked him if he had known it was there all along, but he insisted he knew nothing until he had walked over to that hook.
Both Craig and I had looked right at that hook and saw nothing in daylight at 10:00 in the morning.
It must have been the Frog & Firkin Ghost that moved the jacket that night before and replaced it the following evening, maybe for my protection. I have no other explanation, but I’m grateful that the ghost must like me and that’s how I recovered my jacket.
Our thanks to our reader for sharing this experience with us.
April 2013 - Just an FYI from one of our readers: In reference to a funeral home at Yonge & Sheppard near the old Victoria and Albert that the gentleman writing the excerpt could not remember the name of, it was the Kane Funeral Parlour, now on the west side of Yonge Street just south of Steeles.