Outdoor Adventures

Drive to some of Alberta’s creepiest destinations

The Fairmont Banff Springs  Hotel // Image from Calgary Reviews on Flickr
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel // Image from Calgary Reviews on Flickr

Halloween is five months away, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to go on a haunted ghost tour. Most ghost tours are relegated to the city limits and/or season. A DIY ghost-tour road trip allows you the freedom to visit as many buildings as you please, with the possibility of venturing out in the daylight (most Halloween tours take place at night). Plus, this method will save you the $10 to $15 cost of an organized ghost tour, which you can put towards gas money or candy (after all, we’re trying to recreate a Halloween vibe). We’ve rounded up a few places to get your tour started—visit at your own discretion.

North West Mounted Police Post, Fort Saskatchewan

From 1875 to 1885, the North West Mounted Police ran its operations from a fort located on the edge of a terrace along the North Saskatchewan River. Many convicts were hanged in this area and one woman—Florence Lassandro, aka the “Mob Princess,” who was executed in May 1923 (she was the last woman to be hanged in Alberta) for the murder of Constable Lawson, a crime she may or may not have committed. The Fort Saskatchewan Museum & Historic Site now sits on the land where the convicts were hanged, and visitors have reported seeing lights turning on and off, along with hearing whispers and footsteps. More mysteriously, people have reported seeing the ghost of Lassandro  wandering the historical grounds, as well as other ghostly figures.

Rose & Crown Pub, Calgary

This historic pub ostensibly allows you to drink a pint alongside the dead. The popular Calgary watering hole, located just off of the 17 Avenue strip, is rated one of the top-four haunted places in the city due to its past use as a funeral home. What’s more, the living quarters of the former caretaker’s family are still intact in the bar’s attic, as well as the original wallpaper from its time as a funeral home. It’s said that a boy died in the house, and he allegedly makes appearances in some of the photos taken at the bar, along with two adults who are believed to be his parents. There have also been reports of glassware flying off shelves and electronic equipment turning on and off for no apparent reason.

Canmore Opera House, Canmore

The Canmore Opera House functioned as a concert hall in the late 1800s/early 1900s, but it was turned into a morgue after a fatal mining accident killed 700 people. Eventually the building was donated to the Heritage Park Historical Village in 1966, where it stands now. The ghost of Sam Livingstone is said to haunt these premises—his homestead was built in the area where Heritage Park is now—where he has been seen sitting in on rehearsals in the third seat of the third row. But others believe it’s the ghost of the one of the dead miners.

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff

The historic Banff Springs Hotel is the site of many rumoured hauntings. There’s Room 873, which has now been sealed off by walls that were built over the doorway. Legend has it a family was brutally murdered in there. Before the room was covered up, hotel guests would hear screams and find handprints on the mirrors inside the room. To this day, people have reported seeing the ghosts of the family members. One of the hotel’s most famous stories  involves a ghost bride. She’s said to roam the hotel and can be seen dancing alone in the Cascade Ballroom or ascending the staircase on which her death occured. As the story goes, the bride’s dress caught on fire from one of the candles that lined the staircase, causing her to trip over her dress and break her neck. Guests have also reported seeing the ghost of Scottish bellman Sam McCauley, who died in the halls of the hotel during the late ’70s. Before his death, he swore to posthumously return to his workplace. Learn more here:  http://www.fairmont.com/banff-springs/promotions/hotelhistory/

Frank Slide, Crowsnest Pass

On April 23, 1903, the town of Frank, AB was completely covered by rock in a massive landslide from the adjacent Turtle Mountain. Seventy-six people were reported dead in the incident, while many bodies remained under the mountain rubble.  To date, it’s reported that an eerie mist will cover the area, and apparitions have appeared.

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