Discover These Haunted Sites in the Outaouais!
According to some legends, the Outaouais is haunted—and not just one night a year! The region has its share of places known for scary secrets and mysterious phenomena that some might call supernatural.
The spirits of the Mackenzie King Estate
William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874–1950) is a fascinating figure in Canadian politics. He was Canada’s longest-serving prime minister, serving three terms. He bequeathed his beloved estate and property, which are now part of Gatineau Park, to all Canadians. Many prominent dignitaries have visited there, including Winston Churchill and Yousuf Karsh.
Mackenzie King is said to have often talked to himself, and to have sought advice from long-dead relatives: his grandfather, William Lyon Mackenzie; his mentor, Wilfrid Laurier; and his mother. He also reportedly often talked to his three dead dogs, called Pat (yes, all three were named Pat!).
Some visitors have mentioned sensing a presence while visiting the cottages (now museums) at the Mackenzie King Estate. It has been reported that objects have been seen moving around in an empty, locked room in Kingswood Cottage.
Visit the site and museums on your own or join a haunted walking tour of the estate. Check the schedule: tour dates are added frequently, the museums are open until the end of October, and the grounds are open year round.
The legend of Lac des Fées
Located in the heart of Gatineau Park, Lac des Fées (Fairy Lake) also has its own legend. Until the 1950s, it was known as Christie Lake; the name change is due to an Algonquin legend.
Many moons ago, a beautiful young woman was being courted by two warriors, but she was unable to choose between her two suitors. During an enemy attack, the two men found themselves on the battlefield and unfortunately were killed. Broken-hearted, the young woman threw herself off the cliff and plunged into the icy waters of the lake.
Legend has it that the spirits of the two young men still lurk around the lake at night, looking for the young woman. As for the young woman, because she refused to choose between the two men, she is condemned to watch the warriors search for her while remaining invisible to them. Some people claim to have seen the maiden lying at the bottom of the lake, dressed in white.
A tragic death at the Symmes Inn
In 1831, Charles Symmes, the founder of Aylmer, built the Aylmer Hotel to house his family recently arrived from Boston. Today, the building houses the Symmes Inn Museum, a regional history museum that’s a listed historical monument and a designated National Historic Site of Canada. It seems that back in Charles’s day, he was in the habit of hiding one of his daughters in the attic of the hotel during social events. The story goes that the girl had an intellectual disability. She is said to have frozen to death in that room during a party on a particularly cold winter’s night.
Today, some of the staff report hearing footsteps on the second floor. Take a tour of the museum and listen carefully—you might hear someone walking around!
Supernatural goings-on at the George Bryson House
Apparently, you can sense presences and even see ghosts at the George Bryson Cultural House. “I never come in here alone,” admits Sandra Armstrong, the president of the historic site, which was built in 1854.
It seems that if you sit in the tea room on the ground floor, you can hear footsteps in the basement, but the strange thing about that is that it’s locked.
One fine day, a cable technician ventured into the basement of the building, equipped with his flashlight and tool belt, to do some repair work. Suddenly, the lights went out and the technician’s screwdriver fell to the ground several times for no reason. The last time, he felt it spinning in his belt before it hit the floor. He was so spooked he refused to finish the job.
Visit the museum and take a tour. You may witness some of the strange things that happen there!
A mysterious presence at the Bristol Pine Lodge
A team from Bytown Paranormal conducted some supernatural investigations at the Pine Lodge Resort. One of the team members sensed a presence in a room on the third floor of the hotel. Using modern equipment, they recorded a significant drop in temperature, from 15°C to -3°C in a matter of minutes … Apparently, a sharp drop in temperature is a clear indication that spirits are present.
The rooms of the establishment are available for rent. Book your stay or organize your event now. Who knows? Maybe the ghosts will join you!
A haunted tour of the Pontiac
Aventure Outaouais runs an all-inclusive Pontiac Haunted Tour: transportation by minibus from Gatineau and Ottawa, a guided tour, pie and hot cider. Accompanied by a local storyteller, visit four historic locations in the small town of Bristol that still carry memories of the past: Pine Lodge, Haughton Bay, Starborn Farm, and Coronation Hall Cider Mills. You’ll hear many amazing stories about this area, including Canada’s first registered poltergeist, an unexplainable paranormal phenomenon involving unexplained noises, movements, and objects appearing and disappearing.
Reserve your seat on the bus today. Tours take place every Tuesday evening until the end of October. Something to spice up your Halloween celebrations with friends!
A haunted former jail
Across the Ottawa River, ghost stories abound! The former Carleton County Jail in Ottawa, now converted into a hostel known as Saintlo Ottawa Jail, is one of the most haunted buildings in North America. Some hostel guests report seeing a ghost sitting at the foot of their bed. Overnight stays won’t resume until spring 2023, but you can take a haunted tour of the building.
It was here, in 1869, that Patrick James Whelan was imprisoned and hanged for the murder of Canadian politician Thomas D’Arcy McGee. The prisoner maintained his innocence right up until his death and was buried on the prison grounds, beneath the hostel that stands there today. People say his ghost still wanders Death Row.
In the basement of the hostel are the original gallows used for public hangings. It’s enough to give you goosebumps!
For more legends and strange stories in the heart of Canada’s capital, the Haunted Walk of Ottawa runs several tours on different themes. Check their schedule, as some tours are available only for a limited time.
When you get home, don’t forget to check under the bed and leave a light on. ?
Find out about the special activities organized for Halloween in the Outaouais.