The Sign Outside Malabar's - Photo by M. Didier
A favourite haunt during its sales, this theatrical costume house also boasts a ghost of its own...

An elevator man was killed tragically while repairing the lift in this old building during the 1960s. Since then, the elevator has been a place of apprehension for employees, as a feeling of fear pervades the machine. No "old fashioned" poltergeist activity has been reported, but it is funny that even during my visits there, I have always favoured the stairs.

UPDATE After visiting with a documentary maker, the staff reported the "spirit" of the last of the Malabar family makes her presence felt especially near their photocopier. There is a portrait of the matriarch above the copier and occasionally, when the machine refuses to work, the staff have occasionally asked Mrs. Malabar for assistance and, according to the one's we've spoken to, it does seem to help.

Also, a storage area on the third floor, a "white" lady has been seen flitting about the clothes. No one is sure who this apparition is but she has been seen several times.

UPDATE (Nov 2002) Recently, we received a correction and information from an interested reader. They wrote to us...

"The matriarch, Sara Malabar, founded the costume company in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her son Harry subsequently founded the Toronto establishment. While it is correct that she is the matriarch, she is by no means the last of the Malabars, and not even the last of the Malabars to be involved in the family business. There are quite a few direct descendents of Harry Malabar alive and well."

The reader went on to say...

"I emailed Tanyss Malabar, daughter of Harry, and showed her your page on the Malabar haunting. Here is her reply to me:

"Fascinating.....but all untrue! It was not an elevator repair man, but a manager of the Men's wear that was accidentally killed in the elevator. It was an old "pull" type of freight elevator, and he stuck his head in to see where it was....and unfortunately it came down on him. This happened in the 50;s not the 60's. The whole family knew him well. Also, never heard about my grandmother's to me!!!!"

Our information was based almost solely on a visit to Malabar's in the year 2000 with a film crew doing a documentary on cinemas and theatrical ghosts as well as our consultant, John Robert Colombo's work. We do apologise if our work was hasty.

Also for the record, our wording on this story above may have been very poor. Although a 'presence' was reported near the photocopier, the 'ghost' of Sara Malabar most likely is not the presence in question. It is simply that the staff do ask her portrait for assistance and usually say that it helps. Again, we apologise for any misunderstanding.

We received the following from Tanyss Malabar directly sent to us...

"There are quite a few direct descendents of Harry Malabar alive and well, and also Harry's brother Jim, who ran the Winnipeg store. Unfortunately no Malabar runs the family business but, the grandson of Jim does run a costume store in Winnipeg, and a granddaughter in Vancouver also had a costume store....but neither of these was under the name Malabar"

"My Grandmother Sarah would love what is said about the photocopier.....she was very superstitious!...and would get a big kick out of helping the copier to work!"