Happy Hallowe'en! I have some material appropriate for the occasion today.
This particular house in the Glebe was well decorated when I passed by one day earlier in the month.
This was along a path in Gloucester.
These jack o'lanterns were outside a house in Centretown.
I came across this witch in a jewel shop window at Sparks Street.
Up the street, the Haunted Walk operates out of quarters near Elgin Street. Two signs stand outside, one more whimsical. The company offers walking tours of various places with a history of hauntings. I meant to go on a tour this year in the run up to Hallowe'en, but with MosaiCanada and the fall colours, I pretty much ran myself out of time.
The Chateau Laurier is close by, within site of the Haunted Walk's offices, diagonally across the War Memorial grounds, and a tour might make note of its spooky history. I captured it around sundown one day earlier this month. The figures you can see in silhouette in the foreground are the collective monument of military history called The Valiants.
A couple of days later I captured it at night. It's an appropriate subject for today, as the hotel has its own ghost stories.
The lounge just off the main entrance looks dramatic at night. Several portraits by Yousuf Karsh, who had his photography studio at the Chateau during the second half of his career, adorn the walls. The hotel has quite a history in its century plus of existence; the great and the good have stayed in the hotel, which first opened in June 1912. Along with its established history comes the supernatural: whistling by an unseen presence in stairwells, furniture moving in the night, and unexplained noises.
Doors have been known to open by an unseen force. A guest once fled her room because objects were moving about by themselves. People have mentioned the feeling of being watched by some unseen presence. Some guests have reported the sight of a little ghostly girl. Others have reported a spectral man in dated formal attire.
That might well be the man who commissioned the building of the hotel, haunting his crowning achievement. Charles Melville Hays was the president of the Grand Trunk Railway, and had the Chateau built along with the new main train station downtown (today the government Conference Centre across the street). His portrait hangs in the corridors within the Chateau.
In 1912, Hays and his family went to Europe to secure investments and to purchase furniture for the dining room at the Chateau, due to open in late April that year. The family booked passage to return home with their purchases in time for the opening. That passage was aboard Titanic. Hays reportedly made a prophetic remark about the competition of steamlines for passengers, saying, "the time will come soon when this trend will be checked by some appalling disaster." He, his son-in-law, and his personal secretary were among the dead in the disaster, and Hays would end up buried at Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal.
The opening of the hotel was delayed into June out of respect for the dead. It has been said that Hays still haunts his final project in life, having had not lived to see its opening. He's deemed generally a friendly spirit, glimpsed on occasion, still tied to a place that meant a great deal to him in the last months of his life, a life cut too short in the cold Atlantic one night in April 1912.