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It was opened as a relocated boys' grammar school in 1852, and its Victorian-era architecture is a testament to it’s historical value and aesthetic interest. William Tassie was the second headmaster of the school, beginning his tenure in 1853, and he continued to run the building until 1881. Tassie left in 1881 in protest when girls began to be admitted as students. Most of the teaching staff, student population, (and patrons’) left with him.

The school has received various additions and renovations over the years.

The forgotten rooms and discovery of historical artifacts have added to the mystique and legends surrounding the property. An abnormally large percentage of the student population served in World War I and II, of whom many did not return. When renovations were underway to change the cadet’s rifle range in the basement to class space, all kinds of artifacts and collectibles were found from the great wars. The halls are now filled with marble and brass tablets in honour of the fallen. Photos, rifles, and swords of past commanders are just some of the items that were discovered.

Many unexplained stories, and encounters experienced by students and staff, have circulated around G.C.I. for years. Although we are still compiling specific incidents and documenting such, we have started to hear of various incidents, such as:

  • One custodial staff member and various students have smelled pipe smoke in the corridors of the top floor of the building after school hours. This same story has been repeated as lore from previous staff; it is alleged this smell of smoke is from William Tassie, the first headmaster of the school.
  • One custodial staff member has heard the sound of boys talking/whispering in the corridor of the main floor of the building after school hours. It is alleged that these sounds come from past students among the fallen soldiers of the great Wars.
  • Custodial staff have had carts and supplies moved from their original locations while working. With no students or staff in the vicinity, these reports remain unexplained.

It appears any reported incidents, or stories all occur in the original constructed building.

We are currently looking for more information on the building, and any personal accounts from staff, students, or visitors of the premises who would wish to share their stories.

Reference: Site Visit - March 22 / 07

Our thanks to Eric, Teresa, and Lisa for compiling the above report.



One of our readers writes in:

I am a past student at this school. Its been 5 years since i have been there. I read this article and thought it was great, and also very very true. As students, we were always interested in what went on as far as ghosts. Some of the custodial staff had quit after fourth floor incidents happened. And some just wont work the night shifts anymore. One staff member, after school during the night shift had actually seen the smoke that you say in your article. A counselor walked into the washroom once,just after her school activities ended, and heard another female crying in the stalls. Counselor walked out, prepared herself in what to say, and when she walked back in. No one was there.

I would love, absolutely love to be able to be in that school late at night, even stay the night. I must see, hear, or smell the cigars of Mr Tassie himself.


Update November 2008

I was a student back at GCI in 1996 and I never did smell this smoke or heard any voices. Once I was at my locker on the fourth floor and school had just ended and my friends just went down the stairs to wait for me and I was just tapped on the shoulder.  I thought perhaps it was just one of my friends, but the closest person to me was all the way down the hall...I found that slightly odd, but didn't think much of it.

 Another occurrence was during an assembly in Tassie Hall...I was rather bored and was talking to my friend in the seat beside me, we got kinda loud and the teacher approached us and asked us to quiet down and when I turned around to respond to the teacher....I saw over his shoulder at the doorway what appeared to be a grey mist, perhaps smoke....but it clearly wasn't someone smoking.  From that day I knew there was something more to GCI then just the stories I was told....I really want to spend the night at GCI and do some investigating....I've also heard that the bell tower is suppose to be very haunted as well but I never did get up there.

A reader writes:

"I was in high school and working in the drama club.  I was waiting in the auditorium, Tassie Hall of Galt Collegiate Institue and Vocational School, for the rest of the group.  It was mostly dark, with only a few pot lights lit up and all of a sudden I felt really cold.  Well, it's an old building so I thought a draft had come up or a door was opened.  I went into the backstage area where the back door was and saw it was closed and when I turned to go on stage to see if the trap door was open and there in the seats where I had been sitting was a white misty was really really cold and no doors were open.  I stood in place and waited to see what would happen but then the rest of the group came in and the blob disappeared. GCI & VS was an all boys school at one point and there have been rumours of all kinds of things happening when it was a boys boarding school and Tassie hall is the oldest."

Our thanks goes out to the witness for sharing this experience with us. If you have had a similar experience or can add further information to this report, or have experienced something that you believe may be a ghost or haunting in the province of Ontario, Canada please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fill out our reporting form. Your privacy will be protected and confidentiality is assured.