by Allison Crawford
It’s no secret that a city like Edmonton has its fair share of haunted places. With its rich history, this city has more than just a few local scary spots, and with Halloween just around the corner, there’s an added interest in local ghost tours. Whether you want to take a tour of your own or go on a guided one, may you have a spooktacular time!
One of Edmonton’s oldest buildings is home to a ghost or two of its own. Formerly known as McKay Avenue School, the brick school was built sometime in 1904-1905. Not only did it serve as one of Edmonton’s first brick schools, but it was also the home of the first two sessions of the Alberta Legislative Assembly. It is now known and used as the Edmonton Public Schools Archive and Museum. As legend has it, it is haunted by a construction worker who met his untimely death by falling off the roof in 1912 during renovations. The spirit of the worker is believed to be trapped inside the bricks of the school and unable to cross over onto the other side. Some reported incidences include chairs being knocked over and moved, and maps and other archival documents being strewn around on the floor in the basement with the file cabinet door left open. McKay Avenue School was operational until 1983, and during its years as a school, students and staff reported numerous incidents of strange shadows and feeling some sort of presence watching them when they were alone. McKay Avenue School is located at 10425 – 99 Avenue downtown. Go and take a peek if you dare.
The Princess Theatre, Edmonton’s oldest surviving cinema, is also home to a ghost of its own. Built during the 1900s with additions made in the 1920s, the theatre included a rooming house above its main level. It is said that a soon-to-be bride committed suicide there due to a broken heart caused by her fiancé leaving her for another woman. The other woman is thought to be her friend who was having an affair with her fiancé. The bride lurks around the top of the grand staircase and can be seen at times, hovering about in the projection room. There have also been several accounts where moviegoers have seen an apparition of a young lady in the theatre lobby. To see if you can have one of these experiences yourself, the Princess Theatre is located on the popular Whyte Ave in the historic district of Old Strathcona.
Last but not least, a hidden gem among Edmonton’s haunted places is Concordia University of Edmonton. That’s right, you read it correctly – that is your one and only Concordia University of Edmonton! Formerly known as Concordia University College of Alberta, Concordia was founded in 1921 as a college for young men to prepare for ministry work in areas of preaching and teaching. A ghost of a professor from the 1960s calls Concordia home; he roams the hallways of the school, slams doors closed unexpectedly, makes room temperatures drop significantly, and jiggles doorknobs. In addition to the teacher that never sleeps, it has been noted that you can hear, at times, a men’s choir coming from the walls of the boys’ dormitory. Some of these dorm students have had their own spooky occurrences of seeing shadows and hearing unexplained noises. Do you dare to walk among the dormitory hallways at night?
One company that offers haunted tours is the Edmonton Ghost Tours company. They offer several types of different ghost tours ranging from an Old Strathcona tour to haunted pub tours. If that isn’t enthralling enough, the City of Edmonton offers tours of the city’s three oldest cemeteries – Edmonton Cemetery, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, and Beechmount Cemetery.
May you all have a Happy Halloween! Remember to ask yourself, are you truly afraid of the dark?