Ontario may be known as the manufacturing and financial hub of Canada, but the province also has a rich history full of inexplicable eerie encounters. Urban enthusiasts, ghost hunters and thrill-seekers alike can satiate their appetites for a hair-raising rendezvous with a visit to one of the following creepy places found scattered across Ontario.

1. The Hermitage Ruins – Ancaster, Ontario

Photo Source: Ghost Walks and Dark History Tours

Ancaster’s hermitage was a residence, originally built in the 1800s, that housed Otto Ives, an English officer and his bride, Magdalene Diamanti. Legend has it one of Ives’ nieces, who was living in the mansion at the time, fell in love with the coachman. When the coachman asked Ives for permission to wed the beaut, he declined, and the next day the coachman was found hanging from the rafters in one of the barns. Today, the ghostly ruins are part of The Hermitage and Gatehouse Museum and are a hotspot for paranormal aficionados and hikers alike.

2. Fort George – Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Niagara-on-the-Lake is arguably one of Canada’s most haunted towns, featuring a handful of chilling buildings and mounds of ghostly tales. Fort George, a vital part of the bloody War of 1812, was nearly destroyed by American cannon fire and later captured during the Battle of Fort George in 1813. The fort fell to ruins in 1814 after Fort Mississauga was built, and paranormal legend tells of benevolent young girls to menacing spirits such as “The Watcher” haunting the grounds at night.

Ghost Tours of Niagara hosts guided candlelit tours of the space at night, in addition to a multitude of other creepy encounters throughout the city. If you’re into that kind of thing (which you just might be if you’re reading this), it’s definitely something you’ll want to check out.

3. The Carleton County Gaol (Ottawa Jail Hostel) – Ottawa, Ontario

Photo Source: Hostelling International Canada

Ottawa’s haunted hostel, which is said to be one of Canada’s most haunted buildings, was originally a maximum security prison. The prisoners were allegedly kept in abysmal conditions – tiny cells, no windows and surviving on only one meal a day. Inmates sent to solitary confinement, a.k.a. “The Hole,” were in for unbearable torture including being chained up and naked in complete darkness. The prison closed in 1972 and reopened only a year later as a hostel where gallant tourists/thrill-seekers can spend a night in a cell marked by the carvings and scratches of jailbirds gone mad. Legend dictates the ghost of Patrick James Whelan still wanders the halls of death row and has allegedly been spotted at the foot of guests’ beds (in case you were feeling lonely and looking to snuggle).

4. White Otter Castle – Northern Ontario (South of Ignace, Ontario)

Photo Source: Atikokan Economic Development Corporation

This three-storey log-style castle was single-handedly built in the early 1900s by the infamous James Alexander “Jimmy” McOuat. The peculiar hermit allegedly used the space as a dowry for a lady whom he wanted to wed (she ended up jilting him). McOuat met his tragic end only a few years after he completed the pied-à-terre and drowned while fishing near the grounds. The property is located right on White Otter Lake and is accessible from Clearwater Lake. Guests of the historic castle report bizarre “coincidences” and have claimed to feel Jimmy’s presence within the walls of the structure.

5. Alma College – St. Thomas, Ontario

Photo Source: Ontario Heritage Properties Database

Alma College was a private school for young women built back in the late 1800s. The school ended up closing in 1994 due to a lack of registration and funding. There were plans to turn it into a retirement home, but in 2008, a mysterious fire broke out and destroyed the entire main building. Before the fire consumed the college, the building served as a filming location for the terrifying horror flick Silent Hill. Paranormal legend dictates the ghost simply known as “Angela” haunted the halls and taunted the students. Today, all that remains of the abandoned structure is the front gate and the chapel. Spooky.

6. Germania Schoolhouse – Bracebridge, Ontario

Photo Source: Ontario Abandoned Places

The Germania Schoolhouse is an unaltered pioneer-era structure that was built in 1888. The school housed as many as 43 students per year with lessons primarily taught in German and eventually closed its doors in 1960. Today, the untouched space has succumbed to the elements and serves as a popular setting for urban explorers and ghost hunters alike. (Watch out for children of the corn).

7. Fort York – Toronto, Ontario

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Toronto’s Fort York is home to many a gruesome tale. The fort was established back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a means to protect the settlement from being attacked and ended up playing a key role in the Battle of York during the War of 1812. The British lost the space to the American troops after an explosive battle. Americans ended up destroying the settlement, but the British reclaimed the fort shortly after and managed to rebuild. Much of the structures from the time are still alive and well today. Soldiers and civilians alike lived and died on the grounds, including characters such as John Paul Rademuller, a lone lighthouse keeper who was allegedly ruthlessly murdered by American troops. Legend has it he still haunts the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on the Toronto Islands.

Fort York After Dark is a guided lantern tour of the area for those daring enough to walk the grounds and listen to ghostly stories in the dead of night. Spook enthusiasts regularly report an eerie omnipresence while touring the area.

8. Century Manor Insane Asylum – Hamilton, Ontario

Photo Source: Ghost Walks and Dark History Tours

Anything to do with an insane asylum is destined to be terrifying, and Century Manor is no exception. Century Manor was part of the Hamilton Asylum for the Insane and was once home to some of the area’s most unhinged residents – the criminally insane. So insane they were forced to endure harsh treatments such as electroshock therapy and lobotomies. Most of the asylum was demolished and rebuilt decades ago; however, the eerie tunnels that once connected the buildings still remain. Today, Century Manor is the last remaining part of the sanatorium and is under threat of being torn down.

9. Custom House – Hamilton, Ontario

Photo Source: Ghost Walks and Dark History Tours

Custom House has housed a variety of different businesses and people since it opened in the mid 1800s. Somewhere along the way, the legend of Hamilton’s oldest ghost –The Dark Lady – was born. Today, Custom House boards The Workers Arts & Heritage Centre – a national museum dedicated to blue-collared workers across Canada. The space seems relatively innocent during the day; however, at night it’s transformed to a place of eerie unrest.

Learn all about The Dark Lady and more ghosts that allegedly haunt the space by taking one of Ghost Walks and Dark History Tours guided walks of the area (that is, if ominous structures and bitter ghosts don’t frighten you).

By: Vanessa Divers

See also:

The 7 Best Haunted Activities to Do in Niagara Falls
Chilling Spirits: A Haunted Walk in Toronto’s Distillery District