The Mount Royal Cross is one of Montreal’s most iconic symbols. Perched high on the mountain and standing at 98-feet high, when it is lit up at night it can be seen from up to eighty kilometers away. Rooted in deep the city’s colonial history, to many Indigenous people the cross symbolizes genocide. Because the mountain was used as a burial ground for millennia by the Mohawk and other First Nations, some feel that the Mount Royal Cross desecrates this sacred place.
Lurking behind stone walls on Sherbrooke Street stand two old towers that are reputed to be haunted. As some of the oldest intact structures in the City of Montreal, these fortifications have a deranged history. Designed as the first Residential School in what is now modern-day Canada, the towers actually feature gun-ports. This military architecture was designed to repel anyone – at gunpoint – who might dare to interfere with the “instruction” happening within the fortified “school”.
The Château Ramezay Museum in Old Montreal is by far one of the most haunted buildings in the city. Just across the street from City Hall, the charming stone building welcomes thousands of visitors a year. Inside, tourists often report various hauntings: the sounds of phantom footsteps, moaning noises coming from the fireplace, and people wearing period costumes who vanish into thin air.
Haunted Montreal researchers have unveiled a ghost story set in Montreal from 1879, when it first appeared in a mysterious publication called The Argosy. Entitled The Whittakers Ghost, the author who was identified only as “G.B.S.” wrote: “The following ghost story has been told me, word for word, by an eye-witness, and is authenticated by persons of recognized position.” Famous Irish author George Bernard Shaw, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925, allegedly wrote the tale.
Heading eastwards from the Old Montreal’s Champ-de-Mars, Rue Saint-Louis is a quaint but neglected street that does not appear on the tourist circuit. Perhaps it is just as well, given the disturbing ghosts who allegedly haunt the area. During the smallpox epidemic of 1885, when the neighborhood of Faubourg Saint-Louis was at the heart of a largely French-speaking slum, Saint-Louis Street was one of the most infected parts of the city.
Despite only being open for a few months, there are already allegations of paranormal activity on the esplanade. The most common report is the appearance and disappearance of books, which sometimes vanish from bags only to reappear on benches or the ground. Others have spotted a ghostly image of the bookstore re-appearing on the site. Some superstitious people believe that Henri Tranquille’s old bookstore, Librairie Tranquille, influences the new public square in a paranormal way. Others have sensed his ghost.
Perched on the slopes of the mountain lies a mysterious and abandoned swimming pool. Authorities at the Old Royal Victoria Hospital constructed it during 1961, allegedly to allow nurses and patients to swim there. Since its construction, rumours have swirled that it was actually built to conceal murdered children buried on the site. These allegedly include Indigenous victims of the nearby Allan Memorial Institute Psychiatric Department.
Clock Tower Quay is a popular tourist destination in the Old Port of Montreal, especially following the installation of an urban beach in 2012. Overlooking the deadly St. Mary’s Current, it is an ideal place to spend a sunny afternoon safe on the shore. However, several people have spotted wet footprints on the quay – even on the hottest days when water evaporates very quickly. As the sun beats down on the pavement, the wet footprints remain, unevaporated, baffling the tourists who visit. Could these paranormal prints be related to a maritime disaster from the city’s distant past?
Another local, who lives across Papineau Street from the Parc des Vétérans explained: “Sometimes at night, all of the local dogs start howling or whining at the same time. When I look out my window, I often see a ghost wandering through the park. This I swear upon. He is definitely a male ghost in older clothing and seems to wander aimlessly, as though he is sad or lost. To make matters worse, a hangman’s noose dangles around his neck.