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”.
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.
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.
As Wade prepared the statue and plinth in his workshop, workers began digging up French, Indigenous and Irish corpses from the former Saint Antoine Catholic Cemetery in order to lay the foundation. The fact that authorities were installing a Protestant symbol of British Imperialism and genocide in a Catholic burial ground rankled many citizens. Rumors began to swirl that the cemetery desecration would most certainly result in the ghosts of the displaced corpses returning to haunt the site.
On other occasions, people have heard the disembodied rattling of bones within the Redpath Museum. One night guard, who has since retired, reported hearing bones creaking and rattling on several occasions during his graveyard shifts. He also noted, while patrolling the third floor overlooking the lower levels, something that deeply unnerved him. Sitting atop a display case is the skeleton of an anaconda snake. Horrified, the guard recalled sometimes hearing bones clacking in the middle of the night.
The ice castles were also rumored to be haunted on account of the fact that Dominion Square was established on the old Saint Antoine Cholera Cemetery which had closed in 1799 because it was full. With tens of thousands of corpses buried under Dominion Square, many stacked in burial trenches, rumours spread that the Dead were unhappy with these celebrations taking place on their old cemetery.
With a long-standing reputation as the second most popular “Suicide Bridge” in the world, after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Jacques Cartier Bridge is known to be both deadly and haunted. A steel truss cantilever bridge that crosses the Saint Lawrence River from the city to the south shore at Longueuil, it has a tragic history of both suicides and murders occurring on the span. Despite recent improvements, such as an anti-suicide barrier and expensive lighting scheme, there are still suicides every year and tormented spirits are known to haunt the massive structure that crosses the mighty river.