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Welcome to the eighty-fifth installment of the Haunted Montreal Blog!

With over 500 documented ghost stories, Montreal is easily the most haunted city in Canada, if not all of North America. Haunted Montreal dedicates itself to researching these paranormal tales, and the Haunted Montreal Blog unveils a newly researched Montreal ghost story on the 13th of every month!

This service is free and you can sign up to our mailing list (top, right-hand corner for desktops and at the bottom for mobile devices) if you wish to receive it every month on the 13th! The blog is published in both English and French!

For this year’s Hallowe’en Season we are launching our new ghost tour – Haunted Old Montreal! This haunted walk is available every Sunday night in October!

Tickets are now on sale!

Haunted Montreal is also currently offering our regular ghost tours in both languages:

Every Friday:

Haunted Griffintown Ghost Walk

Every Saturday (on rotation):

Haunted Downtown Ghost Walk

Haunted Mountain Ghost Walk

Every Sunday:

Our Haunted Pub Crawl is offered every Sunday at 3 pm in English and on the last Sunday of the month at 4 pm in French.

For those who want to try to communicate with the Dead, we offer a real Paranormal Investigation the first weekend of every month (Fridays in French and Saturdays in English):

Paranormal Investigation – Old Sainte Antoine Cemetery

Private tours can also be booked at any time based on the availability of our actors.

Our Virtual Ghost Tour is also available on demand!

Want to give the gift of a haunted experience for the 2022 season? You can now order a Haunted Montreal Gift Certificate through our website. They are redeemable via Eventbrite for any of our in-person or virtual experiences. There is no expiration date.

Lastly, we now have an online store for those interested in Haunted Montreal merchandise. More details are below in our Company News section!

This month we explore the MacDougall Manor, an abandoned and allegedly haunted mansion in the heart of the Bois de Saraguay nature park.

Haunted Research

The stately MacDougall Manor is one of Montreal’s most interesting historical buildings – and it is also allegedly haunted.

Located at 9095 Gouin Boulevard in the borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, the Manor is a designated heritage building.

Perched on the banks of the Rivière des Prairies on the North Shore of Montreal Island, the MacDougall Manor is nestled within the little-known Bois de Saraguay nature park. The classic Georgian-style Manoir MacDougall has twenty-six rooms.

Built in 1929, the manor was constructed on the property of H.C. (Tommy) MacDougall, who nicknamed it “Good Wood”. The stone structure stands shaded by large trees on the river shore on a property covering 2.7 acres.

Terraced gardens are retained by low stone walls on the steep slope to the river. From this site, visitors can enjoy views of the river, Ile aux Chats, and Ile Paton. High stone walls screen the tranquil site from Gouin Boulevard.

In the 1930s, this bucolic area was a stomping ground for rich Montreal anglophones of British and Protestant stock.

Families such as the Ogilvies, Molsons, Patons, Gaults, Refords and MacDougalls built sumptuous mansions in the forest overlooking the river.

In order to preserve their tranquility and keep undesirables away, in 1914 these wealthy owners incorporated the area as a municipality named the Village of Saraguay. The 1921 census lists only 55 inhabitants living in this opulent village.

This wealthy elite enjoyed lavish homes with magnificent gardens and sumptuous parties, frolicking in the river and playing polo in their private forested oasis. They all employed maids, servants, chauffeurs and gardeners to tend to their every need and whim.

One remarkable woman who lived there was Mary Dorothy Molson, daughter of Colonel Herbert Molson, President of the Molson Brewery at the time.

She had married Hartland Campbell MacDougall, the son of H.C. (Tommy) MacDougall.

In 1931, Mary Dorothy Molson’s mother-in-law, Edith Reford, passed her the manor and property for only $1. Edith and her husband wanted Mary to enjoy living in the Village of Saraguay in luxurious bliss with her loving husband, Hartland Campbell MacDougall. Both Edith and Mary were avid gardeners.

Today the manor sits abandoned and is used for occasional film and television shoots. When it was used as the filming location for the popular television show La Galère on Radio-Canada, actresses reported paranormal activity.

One felt an invisible force holding her arm and another experienced a strange silhouette while taking a selfie.

The home is popular with various paranormal investigators, all of whom are trying to figure out who or what is haunting the MacDougall Manor. The Narcity website also confirms that the building is haunted.

One paranormal investigator with RIPP named Kate Sidawi described her visit to the home in a Prezi presentation (which is similar to PowerPoint). Carole Villeneuve, from the same team, also posted a YouTube video called juin 8, 2012 MANOIR MACDOUGALL.

The paranormal investigators mention a hearing a legend about why the manor is haunted. As the story goes, Mary Dorothy Molson inherited the property upon the death of her mother-in-law, Edith Reford. Mary lived happily with her husband, Hartland Campbell MacDougall, son of the original owner. However, as the story goes, her husband was called to fight overseas in World War II.

According to the tale, Hartland Campbell MacDougall was killed in the war. Upon hearing the terrible news, Mary Dorothy Molson became more and more distraught. It wasn’t long before she decided to hang herself in the family home.

As the RIPP team entered the house, they were hit with the strong smell of perfume in the air. The author described it as smelling like “the perfume of an old grandmother”. They descended into the basement and sensed a hand that was holding them back from entering a room. When they pushed past it and entered, they saw the ghost of a woman crying on one of the beds in the room. After a few seconds, she disappeared.

The investigators ran back upstairs as quickly as possible and bolted from the manor. After closing the door, they could hear the ghostly woman crying again, whom they believed was Mary Dorothy Molson.

The problem is that the legend is simply not true. Firstly, Edith Redford didn’t die until August 31st, 1970, at the age of 96.

Secondly, Mary Dorothy Molson sold in the property in the 1970s and went to live in another home on Cedar Avenue with her husband, who most certainly did not die in the war. Mary Dorothy Molson actually lived until 1992 and her husband died five years later in 1997.

This leads to speculation as to who or what is haunting the MacDougall Manor. The ghost of a crying woman smelling of grandmotherly perfume could be any number of suspects.

Perhaps the most feasible theory is that the ghost is one of the maids who served in the home. In 1946, Mary Dorothy Molson had 10 servants, including 8 maids, a gardener and handyman.

The servants were not well treated. Indeed, according to a report by the City of Montreal:

“Their salaries were incredibly low. Even in the late twenties, a laundress earned a dollar a day; a maid received ten to fifteen dollars a month, room and board, and had to work fifteen or more hours a day. There was no paid vacation. Generally, a servant had one afternoon off a week as well as every other Sunday. It is therefore not surprising that most prominent families had been able to afford this lifestyle. To ensure this, employers constantly consulted each other about the salaries of their servants, thus establishing a “reasonable rate” recognized by the whole community.”

While there are no records as to who these servants were, it is entirely possible that one of them had a negative or tragic experience while working for Mary Dorothy Molson – and came back to haunt the manor as a result. For example, perhaps one day a maid arrived wearing smelly perfume and got fired, landing her into poverty.

On the other hand, perhaps the paranormal perfume and ghost are not even related. It is all a matter of speculation.

Today, the lonely manor sits in the heart of the Parc-nature du Bois-de-Saraguay. As the years passed, eventually the old elite began selling their properties and moving away. Mary Dorothy Molson sold the estate in the 1970s, and in 1981, the City of Montreal acquired the property after the last of the wealthy elite had moved away.

After a decades long battle between environmentalists, developers, the City of Montreal, and residents, the Parc-nature du Bois-de-Saraguay officially opened to the public on June 2, 2016.

The 93-hectare greenspace is the oldest forest on the island. It is home to 35 species of trees, 45 types of shrubs, 275 species of herbaceous plants and 80 different bird species.

Perhaps one day through more historical research and proper paranormal investigation will the mystery of the MacDougall Manor’s ghost finally be solved.

Until then, visit this abandoned manor at your own risk!

Company News

For this year’s Hallowe’en Season we are launching a new ghost tour – Haunted Old Montreal! This haunted walk is available every Sunday night in October and more dates may be added based on demand.

Tickets are now on sale!

We are also offering all of our regular tours!

Every Friday:

Haunted Griffintown Ghost Walk

Every Saturday (on rotation):

Haunted Downtown Ghost Walk

Haunted Mountain Ghost Walk

Every Sunday:

Our Haunted Pub Crawl happens every Sunday at 3 pm in English and on the last Sunday of the month at 4 pm in French.

For those who want to try to communicate with the Dead, we offer a real Paranormal Investigation the first weekend of every month (Fridays in French and Saturdays in English):

Paranormal Investigation – Old Sainte Antoine Cemetery

Private tours for any of these experiences can be booked at any time based on the availability of our actors.

For private tours, clients can request any date, time, language and operating tour. These tours are based on the availability of our actors and start at $170 for small groups of up to 7 people.

Email info@hauntedmontreal.com to book a private tour!

Our team also releases videos every Saturday, in both languages, of ghost stories from the Haunted Montreal Blog. Hosted by Holly Rhiannon (in English) and Dr. Mab (in French), this new initiative is sure to please ghost story fans!

Please like, subscribe and hit the bell!

In other news, if you want to send someone a haunted experience as a gift, you certainly can!

We are offering Haunted Montreal Gift Certificates through our website and redeemable via Eventbrite for any of our in-person or virtual events (no expiration date).

Finally, we have opened an online store for those interested in Haunted Montreal merchandise. We are selling t-shirts, magnets, sweatshirts (for those haunted fall and winter nights) and mugs with both the Haunted Montreal logo and our tour imagery.

Purchases can be ordered through our online store.

Haunted Montreal would like to thank all of our clients who attended a ghost walk, haunted pub crawl, paranormal investigation or virtual event during the 2022 season!

If you enjoyed the experience, we encourage you to write a review on our Tripadvisor page, something that really helps Haunted Montreal to market its tours.

Lastly, if you would like to receive the Haunted Montreal Blog on the 13th of every month, please sign up to our mailing list.

Coming up on October 13th: Hôtel-Dieu Hospital

Established by colonial nurse Jeanne Mance in 1642, the Hôtel-Dieu is one of the oldest hospitals in North America. As far as hospitals go, it has experienced a lot of paranormal activity during its existence in Old Montreal. Historians claimed that it was burned to the ground by a demon in 1695, who proceeded to harass nursing staff as it was rebuilt. After burning down three times, the Hôtel-Dieu relocated to the mountain in 1861, then to the CHUM Super-hospital in 2017. All three incarnations have their own ghost stories, including the ultra-modern CHUM.

Author:

Donovan King is a postcolonial historian, teacher, tour guide and professional actor. As the founder of Haunted Montreal, he combines his skills to create the best possible Montreal ghost stories, in both writing and theatrical performance. King holds a DEC (Professional Theatre Acting, John Abbott College), BFA (Drama-in-Education, Concordia), B.Ed (History and English Teaching, McGill), MFA (Theatre Studies, University of Calgary) and ACS (Montreal Tourist Guide, Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec). He is also a certified Montreal Destination Specialist.

Translator (into French):

Claude Chevalot holds a master’s degree in applied linguistics from McGill University. She is a writer, editor and translator. For more than 15 years, she has devoted herself almost exclusively to literary translation and to the translation of texts on current and contemporary art.

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