Market Square, Johnson Street, Store Street and Pandora Avenue
The resident ghosts of Market Square are a draw to the historic Victoria landmark, and the businesses that occupy the area around Market Square have experienced close encounters.
Two of the popular ghosts are Belle Adams and Charlie Kincaid. It's believed that Adams, who was a prostitute from Seattle, killed her lover Kincaid by slitting his throat with a straight razor. While the details of the crime have been debated by historians, one thing can be confirmed: the ghosts of Kincaid and Adams are still in Market Square. It has been reported that they rattle the water cooler, knock on walls and Adams has even been heard cackling.
Discover the Past, Ghostly Walks
The Old Burying Ground (Pioneer Square), adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral, fronting Rockland Avenue and Quadra and Meares Streets
Cemeteries are the backdrops for many great ghost stories. Bodies laying buried for decades and even centuries, whose spirits have not always happily left this realm for another.
The Old Burying Ground, or Pioneer Square as it is now known, was the original burial ground connected to the Victoria District Church which was completed in August 1856.
One of the Old Burying Ground's most well-known ghosts is Adelaide Griffin who died during a typhoid epidemic in 1861. Her ghost was first seen shortly after her death, moving around the graves and tombstones. Adelaide’s ghost is sometimes the subject of spirit photographs, including some that are very distinct.
Bastion Square, downtown Victoria, View and Government Streets
There are few places in Victoria that have historic significance like Bastion Square, which is the original site of old Fort Victoria.
The Maritime Museum, which is part of Bastion Square, was at one time the city's courthouse and convicted criminals were hung behind the building. In addition to the ghosts left by Sir Mathew Begbie, the hanging judge, there are also stories about a lifeboat on display at the museum that is connected to a 1908 shipwreck where 135 people were lost.
The ghosts stories of Bastion Square are so many and so compelling that Adams actually wrote a book – The Ghosts and Legends of Bastion Square – about the characters that have been seen and felt there.
The Bent Mast Pub, 512 Simcoe Street
What is now a popular James Bay pub was originally a house built around 1884 for John Chandler, a factor with the Hudson's Bay Company. The building is believed to be home to at least three ghosts: an old man, an old lady and a young girl.
Despite the fact that many people don't believe in ghosts, Adams says many of the restaurant's staff avoid going into the building's basement which is believed to be inhabited by the old man. Even though he also ventures into the kitchen, the old man doesn't really do anything.
“He hides utensils and other objects in the kitchen, usually in places the staff would never think of putting them,” says Adams.
While the presence of the old man has been felt by many people, the most frequently seen ghost at the Bent Mast is that of an older woman. While many people imagine ghosts to be scary and negative forces, the older woman is described as positive and is thought to provide a friendly, calm ambiance in the restaurant.
“Staff sometimes see her standing on the rear porch looking away from the building,” says Adams. “However, when they look closer, she disappears.”
BCLiving chats with with John Adams, a Victoria historian and creator of the city's Ghostly Walks walking tours, to hear more about five of the capital's spookiest sites
The Victoria Golf Course, 1110 Beach Drive
Nestled outside of downtown Victoria near Oak Bay and the historic Highlands neighbourhood is the equally historic Victoria Golf Course. While it is most commonly known as one of oldest private courses in the city (established in 1893), it has also gained a reputation for having one of the most prolific and well-known ghosts in the city.
The ghost of Doris Gravlin has been experienced by people since her body was found in September 1936. John Adams, a Victoria historian and creator of the city's Ghostly Walks walking tours, says Gravlin was an English woman who moved to Victoria as a child with her parents. "Doris and her husband Victoria had a child, but things weren't working out,” says Adams. “Victor drank too much, so they separated.” Victor and Doris were reported missing after they got together for an evening walk in September 1936, and neither one was ever seen alive again.
“She had been strangled near Beach Drive and was dragged across the golf course and hidden under the logs," says Adams.
Since the murder/suicide of Victor and Doris Gravlin, witnesses have reported seeing a woman in white running across the golf course.
“She will cross the street in front of cars and actually enter them,” says Adams. “She sort of permeates the windshields and comes into the car, giving an awful sensation for people inside the car. She is probably one of the best known ghosts.”