Vancouver may be one of the youngest cities in the world, but it is not without its share of macabre stories and legends. Many have come to an untimely end in the West Coast, only to return from their graves to haunt their place of death. Some of the more notorious haunted homes and buildings still get visitors from the other side.
The Water Street Café at 300 Water Street takes up the first two floors of a tiny four-floor building. A few years back, staff heard loud thumping on the vacant fourth floor, and then the sound of bodies being dragged across the floor. Creepy!
The Moore’s on 540 Granville Street is also suspected to be haunted in the upper floor. The Beatty Street Drill Hall has had its share of apparitions, producing invisible footsteps and flying books.
Spirits from more sinister circumstances include the ghost of Century House. Back when this heritage building was a bank, a young teller was shot to death during a robbery. It is said that she still haunts the building to this day, often moaning with sadness. A clumsy architect mysteriously fell to his death down the stairs of the Dominion Building, on the day of its opening. His ghost now haunts the 7th and 8th floors.
Then there are places that were once synonymous with death: Gaolers Mews in Gastown, on 12 Water Street, was Vancouver’s first jail. It used to be a place of executions and in the late 1800s over 40 people were hanged here. The infamous Blood Alley next door is where they were marched before execution. The ghosts of some of those dead are said to still lurk in the premises. I am happy there during the day but all year round find it a bit spooky at night!
Other haunted spots include the Fairmont Hotel, where elevators are said to make unscheduled stops on the 14th floor to make way for a mysterious lady in a red dress. Also, the Old Spaghetti Factory has a ghostly visitor in the form of a conductor and an impish red devil that bothers people in the ladies washroom. Security guards have spotted ghosts at Waterfront Station. The Burnaby Art Gallery was once the home of a cult, and supernatural events haunt the location even today.
If you are buying real estate in Vancouver, make sure you have a realtor with local knowledge. The last thing you want to find out when you spend your first night in your new home or office is that it is haunted by ghosts or possessed by evil spirits. This is what happened to the owners of 108 Ocean Avenue in New York. They realized that their house was home to the Amityville Murders. When that address recently went up for sale, it sat on the market for 70 days without a buyer, only to go for a fraction of its asking price. It’s never advisable to get stuck with a home that is suspected to be haunted, that is, unless you enjoy the company of the undead.
It’s a classic case of buyer beware. Sometimes the true value of a property is more sinister than the culmination of location, square footage and number of rooms. It pays to have in-depth local knowledge when buying real estate in Vancouver, or elsewhere. Digging deeper than the unbelievable price may just unearth a few graves.
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