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Welcome to the ninety-sixth 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!

Haunted Montreal’s seasons of public outdoor ghost tours is now in full swing! Offered every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, we have four ghost tours on rotation (Old Montreal, Griffintown, Downtown and Mount Royal.)

Our Haunted Pub Crawl is also offered every Sunday at 3 pm in English. For tours in French, these happen on the last Sunday of every month at 4 pm.

Our Paranormal Investigation in the Old Sainte Antoine Cemetery happens on the first Friday and Saturday of every month.

Private tours for all of our experiences (including outdoor tours) can be booked at any time based on the availability of our actors. Clients can request any date, time, language and operating tour. These tours start at $215 for small groups of up to 7 people.

Email to book a private tour!

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

This month we examine the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery, a very deranged and haunted place indeed. Set atop Mount Royal in the heart of Montreal, Canada’s largest graveyard is currently witnessing all sort of problems.

Haunted Research

The Catholic Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is the largest burial ground in Canada. Located atop Mount Royal, it features 343-acres (139 hectares) of garden landscape with more than 65,000 monuments and 71 family vaults. The cemetery also contains the remains of over a million people. Not only is this vast graveyard reputed to be haunted, but in recent years, it has also witnessed all sorts of desecration and other deranged activity.

Groundhogs have dug up numerous bones, coffin boards and sets of dentures. Trees and branches collapsed onto tombs during an ice storm.

Hundreds of bodies are piled up, awaiting burial, due to a lengthy strike by cemetery workers. To make matters worse, grieving families are locked out and cannot even visit their Dead.

Once Canada’s most picturesque burial ground, today Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is a desolate, overgrown and forlorn place. With little maintenance, shattered trees and scattered bones, Global News described this massive graveyard as “A Montreal cemetery nightmare.”

The Montreal Catholic Diocese established Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery in 1854 because they needed more space for the Dead. In fact, several waves of cholera had hammered the Saint Antoine Catholic Cemetery. It was full of corpses, many of them in mass graves, and was bursting at the seams.

To alleviate this over-crowding, the Diocese opened the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery atop the mountain. Created on a property purchased from Dr. Pierre Beaubien, it was established as a garden cemetery in the French style. Designed by landscape architect Henri-Maurice Perreault, who had studied rural graveyards in Boston and New York, the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery intended to mimic these in style.

The first burial in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery occurred on May 29, 1855. A woman named Jane Gilroy McCready, who died at 35, was interred within the bucolic landscape. She had been the wife of a municipal councilor.

Over the years, many celebrated figures were buried within the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery. These include politicians, soldiers and businesspeople of all stripes. Celebrated locals, such as hockey legend Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, politician Bernard Devlin, journalist Nick Auf der Maur and tormented poet Émile Nelligan were also buried there.

Generally-speaking, most of the Dead are simply everyday Montrealers who were interred into familial plots or vaults.

Others, less fortunate, were buried in paupers’ graves, sections for deceased orphans and creepy fields for the remains of Anatomy victims.

Furthermore, according to the Diocese: “The funerary sites are conceded for a fixed period not exceeding 100 years. The abandonment of the Cemetery entails cancellation of the concession without indemnity by either party. (3.3 Term of the Concession).” This essentially means that after 100 years, burial plots are recycled if payments are not made by descendants of those interred there.

There are also many reports that the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is haunted. While Canada’s largest cemetery is the home to at least a dozen ghosts, this column will mention only one of them due to word restraints.

The ghost in question is that of Sarah Ellen Page King (a.k.a. “Sadie”). Other alleged spirits include Joseph Guibord, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, René Angélil, Mayor Camillen Houde and many others.

The spirit of Sadie allegedly haunts the gravestone where she is buried. Witnesses have reported hearing the disembodied sounds of a woman and infant weeping and bawling, as though in agonizing emotion.

Excluded in both life and death by her own family, Sadie’s story is a tragic example of how women were poorly treated in the early 20th Century.

Sadie was married to Richard Willis King (a.k.a. “Dick”), an alcoholic. They had three children together: Mary, Donald and George. Unfortunately, George died after only six months. He was buried away from the main family plot under a small tombstone.

For some reason, Sadie was promptly sent to the Saint-Jean-de-Dieu Lunatic Asylum. The likely reason was depression following the death of her son George. However, instead of being treated for her understandable melancholy, Sadie was locked up in the asylum for 24 years until her death in 1946.

To make matters worse, her alcoholic husband Dick never visited her – nor did any other family members for that matter. Furthermore, her very existence became a matter of shame and taboo for the family. Sadie was never talked about – it was as if she did not exist.

Upon Sadie’s death in the asylum, she was buried beside her deceased son – far away from the family plot. Furthermore, nobody erected a tombstone to commemorate her. In fact, her son Donald did not even attend the funeral.

Sadie’s family also refused to pay the associated fees for her burial in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery. Indeed, the only record of her existence was through the burial records maintained by the Diocese.

Haunted by the treatment of her excluded and abused grandmother, poet and playwright Donna Langevin wrote A Story for Sadie to expose the family taboo. Her goal was to bring Sadie’s memory back to life in her literary work – and she succeeded.

Haunted Montreal’s Paranormal Investigation Unit is planning a visit to the grave very soon.

Also noteworthy, at the time of this writing, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is in a total shambles due to a lengthy strike that was only recently resolved.  Represented by the CSN union, graveyard workers began their labour action in January 2023. The strike was triggered because their Collective Agreement had expired, job cuts were harming maintenance operations in the cemetery and the workers were underpaid for their gruesome duties.

The strike resulted in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery locking people out, including workers, visitors in mourning and even the Dead scheduled for burial.

As the months passed, bodies began piling up in a massive refrigerated unit.

An ice storm on April 5 also resulted in hundreds of broken trees and fallen branches, many of which fell upon the tombstones and mausoleums. With maintenance staff on strike, when the spring came, it wasn’t long before the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery was overgrown with long grass, random wildflowers, invasive species and unsightly weeds.

To make matters worse, groundhogs have long plagued the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery. Known to burrow into the graveyard, these creatures have a bad habit of unearthing human bones, coffin boards and even sets of dentures!

Before the strike, gravediggers would quickly re-bury the sinister remains and fill in the groundhog holes. However, during the labour action there was no maintenance in the cemetery for over six months.

Local ecologists have suggested that the groundhogs, a protected species on the mountain, may have gone into overdrive with no human intervention for over half a year.

The cemetery did open on Mother’s Day to allow relatives to visit family graves, but large lineups formed at the entrance. It was the first time the cemetery had been open to the public in months.

However, Union President Éric Dufault said: “For sure it was really popular but it was a disaster. We were there on Mother’s Day and really it was a bad experience for the families.”

Due to the long line-ups, many mourners had to enter the cemetery by squeezing through a damaged fence.

Given the fiasco, the cemetery was not re-opened again during the strike, even for Father’s Day.

At the time of the settlement, approximately 300 corpses were in cold storage awaiting interment. Bereaved families were understandably upset. They have since launched a $6-million class action lawsuit against the cemetery, claiming “the deceased are being locked in refrigeration tanks and the gravesites are being left untended.”

One mourner participating in the lawsuit, whose mother was in cold storage, stated: “It is a refrigerator where they store meat. This is unacceptable. We cannot accept to see our loved ones treated that way, plus our families.”

Generally speaking, the Dead do not like to be disrespected. When their remains and memories are desecrated, ghost-sightings and paranormal activity tend to spike.  

Perhaps worried about the potential of even more ghosts emerging from the cemetery, the Archbishop of Montreal called for an end to the lockout. Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte said that families had suffered enough and he urged the cemetery management and the workers’ union to resolve the dispute.

The Archbishop’s pleas fell on deaf ears and were ultimately unsuccessful.

In response to the impasse and increasingly furious families, Quebec Labour Minister Jean Boulet finally intervened and mediated a settlement. On July 13, cemetery workers agreed to sign a new Collective Agreement with an 83% approval rating.

Many citizens had wondered why it took so long to resolve the issue especially after a similar cemetery strike in 2007. Why, they asked, was the Diocese not providing proper wages, resources and support to its workers – and the Dead?

Indeed, on its website, the Diocese features an article called “An organization with a human touch.”

The information states: “Building on respect for human life, ethics, quality customer service, professionalism, attention to detail, and teamwork, the Fabrique (translation: “Diocese”) manages its activities carefully to balance its financials, ensure its sustainability and fulfill its long-term obligations.”

In another article, they stated: “A true Montréal institution, the Fabrique oversees the proper development of the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery – the largest in Canada – as well as the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal, an essential destination for pilgrimages, tourism and culture.”

However, trusted historians have pointed out that the organization has genocidal roots and therefore must be taken with a grain of salt. Indeed, Montreal’s Catholic Diocese is rooted in a French colonial organization called “The Society of Notre Dame of Montreal for the Conversion of the Savage Peoples of New France.”

Furthermore, they are one of the few Catholic entities that actually charge an admission fee to enter their leading church – in this case the Notre-Dame Basilica. The Diocese also has a lucrative contract for a nightly light show in the Basilica called Aura.

In other words, the Diocese is generating a lot of revenue through its activities at the Notre-Dame Basilica. However, it appears that the Diocese has not been using these profits to support its workers, visitors and the Dead in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery.

Perhaps it is worth noting that the Sulpician Order never took a Vow of Poverty.

In conclusion, at the time of this writing Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is not what it once was. Due to labour strife, upset ghosts, groundhog colonies and an apathetic administration, it is unlikely that this deranged cemetery in the heart of Montreal will recover anytime soon.

Company News

Haunted Montreal’s seasons of public outdoor ghost tours is now in full swing! Offered every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, we have four ghost tours on rotation (Old Montreal, Griffintown, Downtown and Mount Royal.)

Our Haunted Pub Crawl is also offered every Sunday at 3 pm in English. For tours in French, these happen on the last Sunday of every month at 4 pm.

Our Paranormal Investigation in the Old Sainte Antoine Cemetery happens on the first Friday and Saturday of every month.

Private tours for any of our experiences (including outdoor tours) can be booked at any time based on the availability of our actors. Clients can request any date, time, language and operating tour. These tours are based on the availability of our actors and start at $215 for small groups of up to 7 people.

Email to book a private tour!

You can bring the Haunted Montreal experience to your office party, house, school or event by booking one of our Travelling Ghost Storytellers today.

Hear some of the spookiest tales from our tours and our blog told by a professional actor and storyteller. You provide the venue, we provide the stories and storyteller. Find out more and then contact

Our team also releases videos every second Saturday, in both languages, of ghost stories from the Haunted Montreal Blog. Hosted by Holly Rhiannon (in English) and Dr. Mab (in French), this 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!

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 September 13: The REM’s Ghostly Gamble Part 3

One section of Montreal’s new light rail system, the REM, is finally operational. The line, running from Central Station in Montreal to Brossard, passes over the Black Rock Irish Famine Cemetery. Given that the REM desecrated the hallowed ground by removing over a dozen bodies to insert a concrete pylon, many people speculated that the REM would become haunted. It appears to be the case – since its opening, the REM has been plagued with electrical problems and was even struck by lightning!


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.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thank you for shining a light on a very dull subject.
    I am presently looking to book a tour for our team the REM would be great because we have elevators and escalators built within, after reading the article I was shocked to know about the graves that which had to be moved, ones place of RIP should be just that.
    I hope to have a list of coworkers interested thought it may but reach more than 10-15 at the most.
    I also plan on reading up on Donna Langevin so that you for that info also.
    Looking forward to one day doing the pub crawl.

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