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Home > Tourism Victoria Blog > Victoria’s Local Haunts

Victoria’s Local Haunts

Posted on October 14, 2021

Greater Victoria’s storied past comes back to life this time of year. Experience the frights and sounds of our cryptic castles, haunted homes, and spooky spaces. 

British Columbia Parliament Buildings

Designed in the 1890’s, the halls of British Columbia’s Parliament Buildings hold a secret. The rumoured ghost of their designer, architect Francis Rattenbury. After constructing several of B.C.’s most iconic buildings, Rattenbury would return to England. Haunted by financial problems, his relationship with his wife Alma would deteriorate, driving her to the arms of their 18-year-old chauffer. Alma’s lover would violently bludgeon Francis to death on March 23, 1935. His ghost has haunted British Columbia’s Parliament Buildings ever since, seeking the praise and fortunes he once held.

Fall at the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC
Image: Fall at the British Columbia Parliament Buildings - Danielle Lindenlaub Photography


Rogers' Chocolates

The portrait of founders Charles and Leah Rogers still hangs on the wall of Rogers’ Chocolates greeting all who enter the National Historic Site. Many would argue the Rogers’ still participate in the day-to-day business, the phantoms of Charles and Leah still watch over the store to this day. Obsessed with detail, the ghost of Leah is known by staff to re-arrange the chocolate displays, whereas her husband, a known trickster, likes to hide things from the staff.

Rogers Chocolates National Historic Site Downtown Store
Image: Rogers Chocolates National Historic Site Downtown Store - Danielle Lindelaub Photography


Fairmont Empress

British Columbia’s Parliament Buildings aren’t Francis Rattenbury’s only haunt. The thin, moustached man also designed the Fairmont Empress hotel and can still be seen drifting through its harrowed halls.

Loyal until the end, a housekeeper, who was dedicated to her role and the property still haunts the sixth-floor decades after her death–ensuring everything in the rooms is up to her meticulous standards.

The Fairmont Empress is one of the most storied hotels in Victoria. It is always worth a visit when you’re in town – the hauntings are a bonus. 

Fall Moon Over the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia
Image: Fall Moon Over the Fairmont Empress Hotel - Doug Clement


China Town and Fan Tan Alley

Once home to an infamous red-light district, Fan Tan Alley was a hub of gambling halls and opium dens. Many say the paranormal energy of its former visitors can still be felt decades later. Thankfully, Chinatown’s gates of Harmonious Interest are decorated with symbols to keep evil spirits away from this warm and welcoming neighbourhood.

Fan Tan Alley Fall Night, Victoria, British Columbia
Image: Woman in Fan Tan Alley During Fall - Wisteria Voyage


Bastion Square

The haunted heart of downtown Victoria. Watch your step, for every step you take may be over the remains of a man buried beneath its foundations. The Supreme Court building once handed out the province’s strictest punishments, sending the city’s worst to their demise at the gallows. Many of these men would be buried behind the old jail, which is now where the centre of Bastion Square lies. These phantoms are said to come and go from the buildings that line Bastion Square, searching for their buried resting place.

Bastion Square During Dusk in Fall, Victoria, British Columbia
Image: Bastion Square at Dusk - Danielle Lindenlaub Photography


Garrick’s Head Pub

Located at the entrance to Bastion square, the Garrick’s Head Pub has had its fair share of visitors over the years. Still a local favourite today, the Garrick’s Head was once frequented because of its proximity to the gallows, where patrons would stop in for a quick pint before walking to the jail to view a public hanging. Some of these patrons never left, and ghosts have been seen taking refuge by the fireplace during winter months. Some say, it is the ghost of the murdered former owner of the pub, Michael Powers, who met his demise over 100 years ago.


Murchie’s Tea and Coffee

Murchie’s Tea and Coffee’s old-world charm captures the hearts of many visitors to Victoria, and it has also captured a few spirits along the way. Towards the back of the shop, an inconspicuous set of stairs leads down to Langley Street. These stairs are the gateway to some of Victoria’s eeriest encounters. A poltergeist is said to roam the stairwell, slamming doors and throwing things around, some even see the presence riding the elevator throughout the day.

Murchie's Tea and Coffee Exterior, Victoria, British Columbia
Image: Murchie's Tea & Coffee Exterior - Danielle Lindenlaub Photography


Hatley Castle & Gardens

Once owned by the famed Dunsmuir family, this 565-acre estate may appear charming and colourful. But behind the sprawling gardens and stately façade lies a secret. The Dunsmuirs, James, Laura, and daughter Eleanor, would all pass away at Hatley Castle. Soon after the death of Laura, a maid would report being watched by an unseen presence and refused to enter certain rooms of this ghastly castle. After being converted to a military college, cadets would report seeing a ghostly Laura, who would pull down their blankets in the middle of the night.

Hatley Castle Exterior Fall
Image: Hatley Castle Exterior Fall - Doug Clement Photography


St. Ann’s Academy

You may have seen spirits, but have you ever seen the ghost of a monkey? The revenant spirit of Canadian artist Emily Carr has been seen lurking in the tower of St. Ann’s Academy with her pet monkey perched upon her shoulder. Perhaps she is seeking inspiration for an unfinished work?

The academy was originally a convent and boarding school dating back to 1858. Many visitors claim to see the nuns still caring for the historic structure. There have even been reports of visitors hearing the bell toll when there was no one in the building.

As one of the most haunted buildings in Greater Victoria, St. Ann’s Academy is also rumoured to have a dark beginning. Modern legend has it that the architect of the academy, Thomas Hooper, murdered locals and had them poured into the foundations of his work to give the buildings “souls”.

A beautiful local landmark, when viewing St. Ann’s Academy, you must wonder, who is looking back?


Ross Bay Cemetery

As the oldest surviving formal landscape design in BC, the Ross Bay Cemetery is a superb example of a Victorian-era burial ground. It’s winding, tree-lined carriageways, magnificent tombstones, and poignant epitaphs capture the imaginations of many visitors. Do these imaginations run wild? Or is there something more sinister occurring at the cemetery? The final resting place of many famous residents, visitors to the cemetery have reported seeing several ghosts, including Isabella Ross (the first female landowner in BC, whose very farm once stood where the cemetery is now).

Ross Bay Cemetery Fall Halloween, Victoria, British Columbia
Image: Ross Bay Cemetery Fall Halloween - Doug Clement Photography