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.
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.