According to the local people in Victoria, “Victoria is the most haunted city in British Columbia.” This claim is supported by the Tourism Victoria website. Do you believe in ghosts? This might be the best place to find out. The boom of international people who built this great city on Vancouver Island, also have a significant host of individuals who don’t want to rest in peace. Wander the streets of downtown Victoria and see what ghosts appear before you.
Bastion Square, a buzzing and active block in downtown Victoria on View and Government Streets, is alive with restaurants, bars, and cafes. This square is reported to be one of the most haunted locations in the city due to the history of the buildings. After the sun sets, almost every building and alleyway has a ghost lurking in the shadows.
The city’s first jail and gallows lie under the site of the former Supreme Court building. Many of those who were hung from the tree beside the building remain buried under the foundation.
One of the jail prisoners died in Helmcken Alley after being beaten by a guard at the jail in 1885. To this day, a man in old prison attire with shackles on his wrists and ankles follows visitors down the alley with heavy footsteps.
Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, known as the hanging judge to locals, is said to haunt the Maritime Museum in the Square, along with several former prisoners. The museum no longer offers Ghost Tours as they are no longer in the same haunted building, but that doesn’t have to stop you from exploring this area for ghostly hangouts.
Beacon Hill Park
The 200-acre (81 hectares) park is a popular playground for locals and visitors to Victoria with bridges, footpaths, lakes, and gardens. Established in 1882 to serve as a beacon for mariners approaching the inner harbor, the park also has a ghostly reputation.
The Screaming Doppelganger, the ghost of a murdered woman, is said to appear on an outcrop of rocks situated near the corner of Douglas and Superior Streets, especially at sunrise. This woman was often spotted by her friends standing with her arms outstretched and face to the sky on a large rock outcropping close to St. Ann’s Academy. She always denied being there and frequently had alibis to confirm she wasn’t there when one of her friends mentioned seeing her that morning. One morning she went missing and was found murdered at the base of the rock outcropping. Her murder was never solved.
St. Ann's Academy
St. Ann’s Academy is a former convent school now owned by the Canadian government. Built in 1858, this was Victoria’s first Roman Catholic Cathedral. Many have reported seeing nuns wandering the grounds, especially in the early morning. It is rumored that Thomas Hooper, the Academy architect, killed people and poured them into the foundation to give his building “souls.” Many people report “unrest” when simply walking by the building. The original cemetery also remains on the grounds; nine sisters are known to have been buried here.
The ghost of Emily Carr, Victoria’s most famous artist and writer, is also reported to haunt the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy along with several other locations around the city. Her home on Government Street near the James Bay Inn is also haunted by her.
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Located prominently on the grounds of Royal Roads University and Hatley Park, is Hatley Castle. The castle was completed in 1908 and is used as an administrative center by the university.
Hatley Castle has been used in film and television, most prominently featured in the X-Men series. The castle is reportedly haunted by the Dunsmuir family. University staff have reported some ultra spooky incidents including a white figure moving through the building, a woman tugging at the blankets of sleeping cadets and pots banging in the kitchen.
There’s also this image of an anomaly captured by a tourist a few years ago. (Photo of photo displayed in Hatley Castle — photographer noted only as a tourist). You can visit Hatley Castle from Monday – Sunday 10 am – 5 pm.
Rogers’ Chocolates, located on Government Street, is a National Historic Site and Victoria’s oldest and most haunted chocolate shop.
Charles “Candy” Rogers moved from Massachusetts to Victoria in 1885. He originally operated a green grocery across the street from the current chocolate shop location. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, he also sold chocolates imported from San Francisco. He married a local, Leah Morrison, a few years later.
Tourists and locals bought up the chocolate as fast as the couple could get it on the shelves, so Charles decided to start making the sweets himself. He became Canada’s first chocolatier. Together, Leah and Candy established a thriving business. The business still runs today as a privately owned and operated retail chain.
Leah and Candy haunt the location. They have been seen sleeping in the kitchen. A child’s hand print has mysteriously appeared on a mirror high above a door, thought to belong to the young child of the couple.
Built between 1887 and 1890, commissioned by Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune in Vancouver Island coal, the castle sits on a hill overlooking Victoria. Robert died in 1889, leaving his estate to his wife, Joan. The couple had two sons and eight daughters.
Visitors report seeing a little girl playing throughout the castle; perhaps this is one of the family daughters. The apparition of a maid in the main stairwell and a woman’s feet running down the back stairs have also been reported. Strange music has been heard playing throughout the castle, especially around the holidays. It appears there are many unsettled ghosts wandering this castle!
Tours of the castle, both self-guided and hosted, are available year round from 9AM – 4 PM. Admission is 8 USD (10.5 CAD) but discounts are available with the Victoria City Pass (a pass to several local attractions).
Ross Bay Cemetery
Naturally one would expect to find ghosts in a cemetery. But this beautifully landscaped cemetery with winding pathways, amazing trees and magnificent marble headstones also boasts a spectacular view of the mountains and ocean.
Several resident ghosts have been reported looking toward the view. Isabella Ross, was the first woman in British Columbia to own land; her farm was located where the cemetery is today. David Fee, who was murdered on the steps of St. Andrews Cathedral in 1890 on Christmas Eve, is reported to regularly walk the grounds. A mysterious elderly couple dressed in fancy Victorian attire has also been reported gliding along the western side of the cemetery in the late evening. An annual ghost walk, free of charge, takes place every October to visit the inhabitants.
Walk with the ghosts in Victoria
Whether taking a tour or self-guided walking tour, Victoria is sure to chill your lust for ghosts and haunted locations.
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