Is this you? “That new game at Black Creek Pioneer Village sounds promising, but I fear the theme might be too much for me. Is it really that scary?”
Well to answer your potential question… that depends!
The theme about a cursed village might seem scary, but what really makes it special is the atmosphere at night. Perhaps you haven’t heard it’s haunted? Before we let you in on a few sightings, maybe you should know a few other supposedly haunted locations around the city of Toronto:
University of Toronto: this story stems from a Russian stone mason named Ivan Reznikoff who was murdered by a fellow mason. The story goes that back in the 1850s, after killing Reznikoff, the culprit buried the body under a stairwell. Supposedly axe marks from the struggle can still be found today, and some say their spirits live on through the gargoyles found on the Croft Chapter house. If you’re on U of T campus, you might even spot the reference on the walls of Café Reznikoff!
Soldier’s Tower: this bell and clock tower was initially designed as a memorial to those lost in the two World Wars. Since then, it has gained notoriety as housing the spirit of a repairman who is said to have toppled to his death from the tower’s peak. Shining lights have been seen through the windows since… although some say it’s just an unfinished job.
Royal Ontario Museum: the ROM’s East Asiatic section has apparently been haunted since the passing of the ROM’s founding curator Dr. Charles Currelly. He’s been spotted wandering the section on occasion, but you probably won’t be reading that in a pamphlet any time soon!
The Grange: this historic Georgian manor connected to the Art Gallery of Ontario has stood for nearly 200 years. Apparently, ethereal ladies can be found on the staircases as well as a man in a yellow velvet coat who walks through walls. Perhaps these stories are due to the building’s age… but we won’t write off The Grange’s spooky atmosphere so easily!
Old City Hall: this building’s supernatural occurrences remind us of its courtroom history – Judges have felt tugs on their robes, and the moans of past incarcerated prisoners haven’t ceased in the cellar. Reports say over 50 spirits now haunt the halls, but you’d never know it just passing by the busy Queen & Bay intersection today.
Lower Bay Station: urban explorers’ dreams come true when they find this lost subway station deep underground! But dreams can soon turn to nightmares if they see an apparition floating above the rails. Apparently sightings have been made of a lady in a red dress… with only black holes where her eyes should be.
Mackenzie House: this house on Bond Street is considered one of Canada’s most haunted buildings! Former mayor, politician and rebel leader William Lyon Mackenzie has apparently been spotted in his old home on more than a few occasions and his printing press has mysteriously turned itself on. Footsteps have also been heard in the stairwell while rocking chairs have seemingly rocked themselves… whether you run into the former Mayor or not, spotting any of these occurrences might scare the average Torontonian or two.
Black Creek Pioneer Village: back to where we started, the village’s historic Burwick House has had reports of a cold presence, thought to be a poltergeist. The Second Home of Daniel Stong also has its own supernatural resident – the Stong’s son Michael who died in a hunting accident – who reportedly moves furniture around the home on odd nights.
Luckily, these stories and the occult theme haven’t scared people from playing Where Dark Things Dwell, but if you’re looking for a fright you could always play our special Halloween midnight games on 21st and 28th October to really up the ante!
Image credit: Schoolhouse as used in Where Dark Things Dwell, photography by N. Maxwell Lander