Vancouver’s Most Haunted
People often ask me where Vancouver’s most haunted places are. This is a tricky question to answer, however. Exactly how can we determine whether somewhere is “most haunted”?
Do we measure it by how many ghosts are in a location? Or by how many people have had spectral encounters there? Or should it also be based on how spooky a place feels?
I take two things into account to answer the most-haunted question. The first thing I consider is how many ghosts haunt a place. The second is the number of separate sightings or other weird things that have happened there. Add it all up, and the higher the number of ghosts and incidences the more (or most) haunted a place is.
My Top-10 List of Vancouver’s Most Haunted Places
With the calculation done, the following is my top-10 list of Vancouver’s most haunted places:
- Riverview Hospital – This old psychiatric hospital is in Coquitlam, but it’s within the boundaries of Metro Vancouver so it counts. Its decaying buildings are awash in negative energy and riddled with ghosts. It’s currently a location for movie and television productions. Crew members and security guards see shadow figures, apparitions of former patients and staff, a phantom dog, strange lights, and objects moving on their own. Some hear disembodied footsteps and voices, doors and windows banging, and patients’ bells ringing in empty wards.
- Waterfront Station – It was here on the Ghosts of Vancouver website, over 10 years ago, where I first declared this location as downtown Vancouver’s most haunted place. At least eight ghouls haunt this magnificent building. Security guards and other people who work there have regular encounters with them. There are probably other ghosts in residence at the station, too, but it’s hard to say how many.
- Burnaby Art Gallery – The gallery is in an old mansion that used to be a summer residence, a priory and, later, a schoolhouse for a nefarious cult. The ghosts include those of its former owners, a monk, and several traumatized children.
- Hycroft Manor – There haven’t been many reports of paranormal activity in this beautiful, big old house in recent years. But six spirits still roam its hallways and make noisy disturbances.
- Old Spaghetti Factory – Of all the haunted places featured on the Ghosts of Vancouver website, the Old Spaghetti Factory gets the most page hits. This is for good reason – this restaurant has been a Gastown fixture for nearly 50 years and is a favourite among tourists. It’s lavishly decorated inside with an old trolley car and many other historical artifacts. At least four spectres haunt the place. One regularly spooks the restaurant’s staff members, especially after closing hours.
- Hotel Vancouver – We all know about the ghost of the lovely Lady in Red who haunts this venerable old hotel. But do you know about the spectre of a man who is seen on the upper floor? Or how about the guest room so frightening you won’t ever get to stay in it?
- Seaforth Armoury – I’m privileged to have had an inside tour of this historic military facility. Several ghosts of soldiers haunt the armoury, including a regimental bag piper. He plays a sombre tune throughout the building. Over the years, many brave regimental members have had strange and terrifying experiences there.
- J.W. Horne Block – A long-time anchor tenant of this wedge-shaped building – Salmagundi West – went out of business in 2018. This is a shame because that curios shop stocked some of the most intriguing antiques and nick-nacks in the city. Many ghosts were attached to the used jewellery and other old items that were for sale there. Staff members and customers regularly encountered the spooks. I haven’t heard whether the current tenants – a teapot store and an antique shop — have had any paranormal encounters. Time will tell.
- HMCS Discovery – When will we ever learn to not disturb native burial grounds? This Canadian-military base sits on top of an old First Nations grave site. Burial boxes once rested on trees branches and, later, cholera victims lay buried in the ground. Many personnel have had frightening experiences in and around the base.
- Stanley Theatre – While the Vogue Theatre is Vancouver’s best-known haunted performance venue, the Stanley Theatre has more ghosts – three to be exact – who get up to more hi-jinks than at the Vogue. Many staff members have experienced weird things at The Stanley, mostly after-hours.
Buy my book to learn more about these places. All the locations are featured there except Riverview Hospital, which I’m working on for a future edition.