Halloween is one of my favourite holidays and since it’s only days away, I thought a post about paranormal sites, stories, and legends would be fitting. Luckily, since I live in the Niagara Region, I don’t have to wander too far to hear a good ghost story.
Niagara has an abundance of sites and attractions that are said to be haunted, and the small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is often referred to as one of the most haunted towns in Canada. The Niagara Peninsula was the scene of the War of 1812 (between the United States and Britain) and major battles took place on what are now popular tourist spots, like Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls and the Old Town in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
For every major historic event that took place during the War of 1812, there seems to be a ghost story to go along with it.
Drummond Hill Cemetery – Niagara Falls
Drummond Hill is the highest peak of Lundy’s Lane and was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the War of 1812. The Battle of Lundy’s Lane resulted in heavy casualties, so it’s no wonder that Drummond Hill Cemetery is one of the most haunted cemeteries in the region.
Locals and visitors have reported seeing apparitions of soldiers- some dressed as Royal Scots and others donning the uniforms of the British Redcoats- walking or limping around the cemetery. Some have even heard the sound of men running and shouting, and gunfire in the distance.
Address: 6110 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls
The Olde Angel Inn- Niagara-on-the-Lake
The Olde Angel Inn is a historic pub and inn built in 1789 and was then rebuilt in 1815 after American forces burned the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake to the ground.
Legend has it that a Canadian militia officer was killed here in 1813 and still haunts the inn to this day. Captain Colin Swayze was given orders to flee Niagara-on-the-Lake, but instead, he stayed behind to rendezvous with his sweetheart. He was caught by surprise when American soldiers arrived to search the inn, so he hid in an empty barrel in the cellar. The invaders used their bayonets to check every corner and barrel until Captain Swayze was eventually found and fatally wounded.
Guests of the inn report hearing noises in the ‘Colonel’s Suite’ and in the empty dining room. They have also seen the table settings mysteriously rearranged and many unexplained occurrences have taken place here.
Apparently, as long as the British flag flies over the inn, the ghost will remain harmless.
Address: 224 Regent Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake
The Prince of Wales Hotel – Niagara-on-the-Lake
The Prince of Wales Hotel was established in 1864 was renamed in 1901 in honour of a visit by the Duke and Duchess of York.
During the War of 1812, an American soldier was ordered to search a house that was located on what is now the hotel grounds. He opened the bedroom door on the second floor of the house and saw a figure standing near the window. Thinking it was a British soldier, he raised his bayonet and ran toward the figure. It turns out, he had accidentally killed an innocent woman named Molly McGuire, who stood near the window every night awaiting the return of her husband.
Room number 207 is located exactly where Molly McGuire’s room once was, and strange occurrences are known to happen here. The shower will turn on and off by itself and guests have reported hearing voices and footsteps in the empty hallways.
Address: 6 Picton Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Fort George – Niagara-on-the-Lake
Fort George served as the headquarters for the British Army and was the site of many battles of the War of 1812. In May of 2013, the Americans invaded and captured Niagara-on-the-Lake and much of Fort George was damaged or destroyed.
Along with sightings of soldiers, a little girl (who is thought to be a soldier’s daughter) has often been seen following tour groups around the grounds of the Fort. Strange noises and knocking sounds have been heard in empty buildings, and many people have seen a woman with long hair dressed in clothing from the 1800’s in the Officer’s Quarters.
Address: 51 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Tours: Ghost Tours of Fort George run from May to November and you can find dates and prices here.
There are several other haunted sites in Niagara-on-the-Lake, including various hotels, the old Courthouse, and the Apothecary Museum. Niagara-on-the-Lake Ghost Walks offer a 90 minute guided tour of the haunted sites around the Old Town most of the year.