An old hotel sits in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles and it is rumoured to be haunted. Built in the 1870s, it was originally named the Bolero Tourist Rooms. The establishment had a long history of catering to the seedy characters of Montreal’s old Red Light District. During that era, the hotel rented the rooms by the hour and the alleged hauntings may be related to the sordid history of the building.
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.
On another occasion, a manager whose office was in the basement was closing up for the night. He had felt an unseen presence when alone before, but on this particular evening the presence felt stronger. At first he thought it might be another employee playing a joke on him, but he soon confirmed that he was alone in the building. As the hairs began to rise on the back of his neck, he became more and more afraid. Overwhelmed with building feeling of terror, he bolted from the theatre, leaving the door unlocked, and ran home as fast as he could.
In October, 2005, staff at the Cinémathèque québécoise were alarmed by a spike in paranormal activity in the building. As Hallowe'en approached, strange, inexplicable sightings and unexplained phenomena became more and more frequent. A young woman was working at the Cinémathèque québécoise as a ticket-taker and one evening she found herself in one of the projection rooms. As a film rolled, she witnessed the ghostly figure of a little girl, clutching a stack of school books, enter the cinema. Not believing her eyes, she began inquiring to other staff members if they too had noticed the spirit of the schoolgirl. The janitor who worked at the Cinémathèque québécoise at the time confirmed that the ghost had been spotted many times over the years, but had no explanation as to who she was or why she was haunting the old school-cum-Cinémathèque.
As glossy new theatres, cinemas and performances venues go up, St. John the Evangelist Church remains firmly planted on the corner of St. Urbain Street and President Kennedy Avenue. It is both an architectural reminder of an earlier era and a fully-functioning Anglo-Catholic Church, which continues to serve its congregation and operate a drop-in center for the needy. What the tens of thousands of tourists streaming past during the festival season likely don't realize is that the Red Roof Church has long been rumoured to be haunted. The hauntings, however, are extremely unusual: they are benign. Interestingly enough, instead of unsettling cold spots and other unpleasant paranormal activities manifesting themselves, the spirit haunting the church is said to be very gentle. Indeed, "warm spots" are known to surface on occasion, comforting the parishioners lucky enough to experience one. The feeling, according to one church-goer, is not unlike “being embraced by a loved one.”
Today, an intimate theatrical studio sits in the basement where Eden Musée once flourished and, according to staff and students, this part of the building is haunted. There are reports of pipes inexplicably banging and strange noises erupting in the basement studio. According to an article in Journal Métro, the school's Technical Director, Yves Duceppe, was very reluctant to go there alone when he was a student from 1979 - 81. At the time, the dark, un-renovated basement was creepy and infested with rats and insects. He never ventured there alone. Apparently, despite being converted into a versatile theatrical studio, the mysterious hauntings continue. Many of the students report unsettling feelings of unease and of being watched by someone or something hiding in the studio's dark recesses. Furthermore, two floors above the studio, there are also numerous reports of a ghostly woman appearing at the top of the stairs leading to the main theatre of the Monument-National.