Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Fortress For National Revenue

Happy Fourth of July to my American readers! I have a post for the occasion up at my writer's blog, so go and have a look!

The Connaught Building is one I've featured before in the blog, but always the exterior. It's been a regular fixture in Doors Open for years. Designed by architect David Ewart, who also designed the building now housing the Global Centre for Pluralism that I showed you earlier in the series, as well as the Royal Canadian Mint and the Museum of Nature, it looks very much like a castle. Opened in 1915, it was named for the Duke of Connaught, a son of Queen Victoria and a governor general of Canada from 1911-16. It is in modified Norman style, with elements of Tudor and Gothic along the way. First used as a customs examining warehouse by Canada Customs, it has been extensively renovated, and today is the national headquarters for the Canada Revenue Agency, which has thousands of employees across the country. It is a designated National Heritage Site.

Doors Open allowed for members of the public to go inside on a guided tour with a member of the staff. Lions flanked the entrance lobby. 

The staff guide took us up to the top floor conference room, which has a view across to Parliament Hill, which can be glimpsed in the window.

He also explained that the building has a ghostly reputation. Mr. Ewart had himself a mistress, it seems, and he promised her that when this building was complete, he would leave his wife for her. He didn't, and she took her own life. Unexplained occurrences have happened here since. Staffers working alone in the evening hear someone at their door, but no one is in the hall when they open it. Cold spots can be felt. Motion activated lights come on when no one is in that particular part of a floor. And people have caught sight of the fleeting glimpse of a woman's dress turning a corner in hallways before they can get a look at who's wearing it. And there's the matter of a cubicle on one floor that is no longer used, as misfortune such as deathly illness has come on everyone who has previously been assigned there. If the ghost makes any spot in the building her home, it must be that cubicle.

I came back a few days later for some more exterior shots of the building.


  1. If I hadn't had a couple of experiences with "entities not present" I'd say it was made up to tell a good story. But with or without a ghostly visitor this is quite an impressive building.

  2. ...such a wonderful stone fortress.

  3. What an interesting ghost story. I think I'd be nervous about working there alone.

  4. Hello, what a lovely building. The ghost story is interesting. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day and the week ahead.

  5. I love the way you capture interior and exterior.
    I forget your profession. Are you a journalist? You have such an eye for detail.


  6. The Connaught building is magnificent William, even more so knowing it has a ghostly resident! ☺

  7. P.s. I meant to say Happy 4th of July William.

  8. The Connaught building is well known across the country. Thanks for the tour.

  9. @Kay: I've had a couple of odd occurrences myself.

    @Tom: it certainly is!

    @Sharon: you don't expect such tales out of government accountants!

    @Eileen: it's a fitting tale for such a building.

    @Janis: among other things, I'm a writer and editor. A lot of attention to detail goes into that, and it seems to transfer over into photography.

    @Grace: it is quite a landmark.

    @Francisco: thank you!

    @Red: you're welcome!

    @RedPat: it fits the building!

  10. I love the ghost story in the house.

  11. Ghost story makes this place very interesting :-)

  12. i really enjoy all the windows and those doors. nice! ( ;

  13. Another beautiful building. Love all those art deco details.

  14. Reminds me a lot of the architecture at Duke University.

  15. A wonderful stone building. I love that ghost story, makes you wonder.

  16. Another very impressive building!

  17. @Orvokki: I did too.

    @Klara: it does!

    @Cloudia: it's quite a building.

    @Beth: thank you!

    @Halcyon: it really is.

    @Revrunner: I can see that.

    @Bill: it's quite a tale!

    @Denise: definitely!

  18. Quite the imposing edifice and complete with its own ghost!

  19. I love the architectural details!

  20. An impressive building both outside and inside. The ghost story makes the building more interesting.

  21. I love a spooky tale! Our kids have visited a castle in Scotland this week. No ghost reports, so far!

  22. Wonderful building again, the ghost story gives it something extra.

  23. @Beatrice: they're good stories.

    @Linda: so do I.

    @Nancy: it does, yes.

    @Norma: I do too.

    @Jennifer: I have one or two of mine.

    @Jan: it does, yes.