Calgary is not really known for its old architecture, but in some homes, it appears residents of old just won’t leave.
While in the scheme of things Calgary is a fairly young city, it has no shortage of haunted sightings. At Heritage Park alone, nearly all of the buildings have been relocated to the park, and in a lot of them, their former residents have stayed on.
“We put out a book and there’s pretty much (haunted) stories for everything,” said Barb Munro, communications specialist for Heritage Park. “There’s stories for a sighting in (Eugene Coste) Park, there’s stories for a sighting in (Prince) House, the train stations, the opera house and Airdrie House.”
Prince House was built at 238 4th Avenue S.W., the home of Peter Anthony Prince, a millwright and lumberman who became the manager of the Eau Claire and Bow River Lumber Company. The house remained in the Prince family until 1965 when the lumberman’s stepdaughter Nora passed away.
In 1966, the home was taken apart in three sections, including the removal of more than 25,000 bricks and was reassembled in Heritage Park. Prince House is one of the more popular spots for haunted sightings in the city.
“The stories that most people have about this house revolve around a woman,” explained Munro.
Stories include a sighting of a woman changing a baby in one of the upstairs rooms of the house. When the park visitor, who assumed the woman was a costumed interpreter inquired who the woman and the baby were, they were informed the park doesn’t have interpreters in rooms.
Another story of Prince House includes sightings of the third floor lights in the house at night. The home however, doesn’t even have light sockets on the third floor with the only working light in the building in the dining room.
“Mostly though, it’s the presence of a woman that people feel,” said Munro. “My experiences here have just been with things like cameras and tape recorders that just stop working for no reason.”
The reason for the frequent sightings of a woman in Prince House could be attributed to the fact Prince had four wives. He lost one to diabetes, one to tuberculosis and one to cancer. His fourth wife Emily survived Prince by 19 years passing away in 1944.
Leaving the historic confines of Heritage Park, there’s no shortage of haunted sites dotted throughout the city. Johanna Lane has been running Calgary Ghost Tours from the last six years. The tours run from May to November with the Halloween season attracting “huge” crowds and requiring five to 10 tours a night. Lane spoke to some of the more haunted sites in Calgary.
“There’s the Suitor House in Inglewood where a young lady who lost her husband still stands on the balcony and waits for him to come home,” she explained. “She died of a ‘broken heart’ not long after he was killed.
“There’s old City Hall where a woman haunts the rooms that used to be the jail cells and where former security guards have reported hearing someone walk down the halls, but nobody has entered the building.”
Lane also mentioned the James Joyce on Stephen Avenue where patrons have reported a woman haunting the downstairs bathroom; reports of gun and cannon fire in the basement of Western Canada High School on 17th Avenue S.W. which was once used as a training site with a gun range in the basement for young men going off to war and a young boy who pushes people out of the way on the stairs and a woman in white in the attic window of Deane House.
“The woman in white could be any one of numerous people including Superintendent Richard Deane’s first or second wife or a couple of women who lived in the house while it was the Gaspe Lodge,” she said.
Which spooky space are you visiting this Halloween? Have you spotted any of the ghostly figures mentioned in this article?