Wednesday, October 31st, 2012...1:32 pm

Haunted Presence: The Ghostly Past of U of T

Jump to Comments

‘Tis the season of spook, and on this particularly rainy eve before Halloween, a group of grad students’ enjoyed some eerie ghost tales on a dark night walk through campus. Brought to us by Grad Escapes and Muddy York Walking Tours, our host Candace shared with us some of U of T’s past that still has a…. presence. The ominous weather did nothing to prevent the shivers up my spine as I listened to the ghostly tales. Here’s a couple places on campus you may not have known are so ghoulish:

The rain, the night, the season — all factors beckon Bishop Strachan to make an appearance.


  • Trinity College: Find yourself in the Provost’s Office and you will find the grand portrait of Bishop Strachan, the first Anglican Bishop of Toronto, and a big name in U of T’s beginnings. Here his portrait’s eyes will follow you around the room — perhaps taking care to ensure his (supposedly) micromanaging presence at the College. Strachan was quite the stickler for things being done his way, and he is often sighted looming the hallways of the building on Hoskins Avenue, ensuring things at Trinity continue to run smoothly. Still a man of order, his apparition generally appears close to the anniversary of this death (November 1st) — making him due for a visit any day now.

  • University College: One of the oldest buildings on campus, University College is home to one of the more notorious campus hauntings. The story goes that Ivan Reznikoff, a stone mason working on the construction of University College, found his lover in the arms of another mason — Ivan Diablos. Fuelled with rage at the realization of betrayal, Reznikoff chased Diablos through the unfinished building, yielding and swinging an axe up into the unfinished tower. Unfortunately for Reznikoff, Diablos bought himself some time in the chase and managed to find a knife on the worksite. Hiding in a corner of the building with Reznikoff in hot pursuit, Diablos snuck up on the scorned Reznikoff and stabbed him to death. The tale goes that in order to cover up the bloody murder, Diablos hid Reznikoff’s body in the stone work of the building. The scary part? With the University College fire of 1890, a body was found within the walls, giving clout to the legend and explaining the poltergeist activity often reported around this building.
  • Soldier’s Memorial Tower: Part of Hart House and a memorial to fallen Canadian soldiers of WWI, the bell tower holds one of the more disturbing ghosts to be seen. Legend has it that a worker went up to polish the bells in the 1930’s. In a freak accident, he fell to his tragic death on the sidewalk directly under the tower. Reports have been made that people have seen this man repeat his death, falling from the tower and landing brutally on the pavement. The most disturbing part? This apparition appears to be a flesh and blood human being, until he disappears from the ground below.

I don’t know about you, but I won’t be spending much time in these locations from now on without wondering what’s behind my shoulder, or where that cool draft came from. Don’t believe in ghosts? That’s fine, I’ve heard ghosts like people like that.

Comments are closed.