Toronto opens its doors to ghosts

Toronto opens its doors to ghosts


Like a good spooky strange story? If you’re in Toronto this weekend, you have the perfect opportunity to check out any one of the 155 places with a hidden story to tell as part of the city’s annual Doors Open event. And the best part is it’s free.

For 15 years, Doors Open has been an opportunity for people to gain access to some of Toronto’s historically, culturally, and architecturally significant structures. This year’s theme is “Secrets and Spirits… Exploring the Mysteries Behind the Door” and every building holds the promise of hidden secrets, mysteries, and even ghostly legends.

Toronto's Stone Distillery, home to both kinds of spirits.

Toronto’s Stone Distillery, home to both kinds of spirits.

Among this year’s spirited buildings is the old Stone Distillery, home of Gooderham & Worts Whiskey. Distillery founder James Worts lost his wife to illness; his son drowned nearby in Lake Ontario. Overcome with grief, he drowned himself in the well. Some believe Worts is one of a handful of ghosts who’ve been witnessed wandering the streets and cellars in the area.


Also included on the list is the Old City Hall where disembodied footsteps and dark figures have been encountered and Royal Alexandra Theatre, believed to be haunted by the ghost of a stage technician. The haunted history and creepy tales from these buildings’ past is provided by Haunted Walks, who offers ghost tours in Toronto, Ottawa, and Kingston.

Charles Patcher's home and gallery in Chinatown.

Charles Patcher’s home and gallery in Chinatown.

If you expect all these sites to be a century or more old, you might be surprised. Take, for example, Patcher Hall and Moose Factory—a Post Modern structure which houses the gallery and event center owned by artist Charles Patcher. Once an abandoned warehouse in Chinatown, the site boasts the creepy distinction of having once been the location of a funeral home for Jewish immigrants. But Patcher contends that there are only good spirits there.

Doors Open Toronto will be offering tours these sites both Saturday and Sunday, May 24th and 25th. A complete event guide was available inside the May 15th issue of the Toronto Star, but if you missed out, you can check the Doors Open website for a full listing of buildings, tour schedules, maps, and historical information.


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