In the spirit (tee hee, see what I did there?) of Student Life’s fifteen-minute leaf walks on campus—and also in the spirit of Halloween—I have decided to create a walking route of my own. Autumn leaves may be a tad more picturesque in terms of dead things you can observe on a walk, but ghosts are cool too.
Without further ado, I present to you my campus ghost walk!
- Start out on the north end of Queen’s Park, which used to house an insane asylum. Three of its patients are said to haunt the property, although they spend most of their time in the Ontario legislative buildings nowadays. There is also a phantom soldier in full regalia; he is fond of the main stairwell and the statue of King Edward VII.
- Walk north on Queen’s Park until you reach the south side of the ROM. Turn left here and you’ll pass by the Planetarium on your way to Philosopher’s Walk. Look out for the ghost of a little girl. Her name is Celeste; she used to love watching the shows in the Planetarium. The building now belongs to UofT and the plan is to demolish it. Poor Celeste!
- Turn left at Philosopher’s Walk and head south until you come to Trinity College. John Strachan, the college’s founder, is said to roam the halls every year on the anniversary of his death, but I was there on November 1st and I didn’t see him. Nevertheless, be sure to take a peak at some of the portraits hanging on the walls; they’re rumoured to follow your movements with their eyes.
- Head west on Hoskin and pass under Soldiers’ Tower. In the 1930s, a construction worker fell while he was cleaning the bells; sometimes he appears around the tower or a strange glow comes from the upper windows.
- Head south into King’s College Circle and wander University College, the site of UofT’s most famous ghost story. Two stonemasons, Diabolos and Reznikoff, were both hired to help with the construction of UC in the mid-1800s. They were also both courting the same Torontonian woman. When Reznikoff found out that Diabolos was going to run away with her, he chased him through the UC buildings, swinging an axe at him all the while. When they got to the top of the then unfinished tower, Reznikoff lunged at Diabolos with an axe. Diabolos dodged and Reznikoff fell to his death. Diabolos hid the body by burying it in UC’s foundation. After the fire in 1890, a man’s remains were found. Creepy, huh? Reznikoff is said to haunt the building to this day, as miserable and broken-hearted as ever.
- Keep heading south along King’s College Circle. Just north of Knox College, you’ll find the MacDonald-Mowat House, which is the former residence of Canada’s first prime minister. It’s now used as a student services building for the School of Graduate Studies. Members of staff and caretakers over the years claim to have seen Sir John A. MacDonald’s ghost on the second floor, rocking his trademark frock coat.
That concludes our tour! If you want to learn more about the ghosts of UofT, or Toronto hauntings more generally, check out this awesome website! It’s where I learned all about the different hauntings at UofT. The site includes extensive information on the ghosts of the city and even a forum where you can share your own experiences or read about the experiences of others.
While the places you’ll encounter if you follow my route are definitely spooky, let’s not forget the #1, without-a-doubt, scariest place on campus:
I’d take a run-in with a ghostie over an exam any day! So get out there and take a walk, UofT. Let me know if you have any spooky sightings in the comments below.