British Columbia·PHOTOS

Vancouver spectres don't need Halloween to haunt the living

Have a look inside the most famous haunted buildings and alleyways in Vancouver, where previous inhabitants are said to linger on with unfinished business.

Take a tour with us as we explore some of Vancouver's spookiest spots

The Old Spaghetti Factory has four spirits and a 'vortex', which according to psychics is a portal between realms. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

Greg Mansfield has never seen a ghost, but he knows all the stories of the ones who haunt Vancouver's streets and buildings.

Take Edward, for example, the mischievous little boy who haunts the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown. 

"He sometimes runs through the restaurant from the front to the back, he's been seen by several servers at night."

There are more than two dozen haunted locations scattered throughout Vancouver, many in the city's oldest neighbourhood, says Mansfield, a local historian and author who blogs about spirits in the city

And he says, contrary to popular belief, the ghosts don't wait for Halloween to do their spooking. 

Take a tour with us as we explore some of Vancouver's spookiest spots. 

None of the images has been digitally altered, but CBC News has taken creative license with shutter speed.

Old Spaghetti Factory, Gastown

The ghost of a tram conductor likes to spook people working and eating in one of Vancouver's original trams, housed in the Old Spaghetti Factory. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

Edward is just one of four resident ghosts at the Old Spaghetti Factory, said Mansfield, which is a popular spot because of the "vortex" in the back.

"Psychics say there's a vortex at the the back of the restaurant and what a vortex is, is a supposed portal between the other realm and our physical world in which ghosts can use to come in," he said. 

Greg Mansfield, a local blogger and author, gave CBC a tour of haunted Vancouver. (Jacy Schindel CBC)

Gaoler's Mews

Gaoler's Mews was once Vancouver's first jail, but it burned down in the 1886 fire. Now a courtyard, according to Mansfield it held Vancouver's gallows and more than 40 people were hanged there.   

The ghost of a woman in black has been seen gliding past the former site of the hangman's scaffold, through the iron gates leading to Blood Alley.  

Mansfield says those who have seen her muse that she is the widow of someone hanged at the site.  

Along with the woman in black, two other spooks are known to lurk around this hidden nook in Gastown. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

Hotel Europe

The Hotel Europe is one of the most distinctive buildings in Vancouver. Shaped like a triangle, it sits where Powell Street and Alexander Street meet.

"It's a very haunted spot. All of Maple Square where the Gassy Jack statue is ... this is ghost central for Gastown," says Mansfield.  

The Hotel Europe as it looked in 1908. (Major Mattews/Vancouver Archives)
The Hotel Europe as seen in 2016. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

The Hotel Europe has two reported spirits, one seen by a contractor in the cellar, and the other seen in the a store security mirror.  The store's owner has seen the ghost on two separate occasions.  

The Hotel Europe was once one of Vancouver's ritziest hotels, but once the Hotel Vancouver was built, the Europe fell into disrepute as a brothel. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

Lamplighter Pub

Vancouver's oldest pub dates back to 1899.

Mansfield says there is a chef ghost who hangs around the bar as if he's still at work.

"He likes to hang around there as if he's helping people out doing their jobs," he said.

The Lamplighter gets its name from the workers who used to light Vancouver's gas street lamps in the 1880s. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)
Employees of the Lamplighter Pub call their spook Billy Bob. Once, a glass was seen to levitate off the bar and then drop to the floor. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

The most haunted place in Vancouver

Waterfront Station, built in 1915, was the terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

It used to host the fashionable in a hotel, restaurants and even a dance hall.

People have reported seeing a woman in a flapper dress dancing to music of the time.

"It is the most haunted place in Vancouver," said Mansfield.

Waterfront station was built to be the pacific terminus of the C.P.R. It is estimated this photograph was taken in 1915. (Major Matthews/Vancouver Archives)

"People hear disembodied footsteps that [security guards] can't account for when they go look. One security guard was terrified one night by an old woman with a phosphorescent glow who reached out to him," he said.

He says another woman heard banging with no explanation and saw a door knob rattling. When she opened the door, nobody was there.

"It was obviously something paranormal."

Security guards have seen many spooks inside the station. This is what Waterfront station looks like today. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

Haunts outside of Gastown

​The famous Hotel Vancouver opened its doors in 1939.

Its resident spook is known as the Lady in Red, and she is said to occupy the 14th floor of the hotel and the lobby.  

Some think this is the ghost of a well-known socialite who frequented the hotel's ballroom in the 1940s. She died in a car accident.  

Spooks have been seen by both hotel staff and guests at the Hotel Vancouver. (Stuart Thomson/Vancouver Archives)

Hycroft House was built in 1911 for General Alexander Duncan McRae and his wife.  

The couple was known for hosting many high-society parties, in particular New Year's Eve masquerade balls.  

In 1942, the house was donated to the Canadian government, and it became a hospital for veterans.  

Seven ghosts are said to roam this house, including General McRae and his wife, a hospital nurse and three veterans.  

This photo of Hycroft Manor was taken in 1912. At one time, it was one of Vancouver's most stately homes. (Stuart Thomson/Vancouver Archives)
It is said that the seven spirits at Hycroft are peaceful. (Don Coltman/Vancouver Archives)

HMCS Discovery is a Canadian Navel Base located on Deadman's Island just off the shore of Stanley Park.

The island is off-limits to the public, which perhaps adds to its mystique.  

According to Mansfield, the island was the site of a massacre: 200 First Nations warriors died during a dispute.  

Said to be the site of a Coast Salish burial ground before Europeans arrived, it was also used as a burial site for settlers between 1870 and 1887.  

It was then used as a quarantine area during a smallpox outbreak, and was home to squatters in the early 1900s.  

Naval personnel staying on the island reported hearing furniture being moved late at night.

When asked what makes a ghost, Mansfield said, "A lot of people think when we die nothing happens. And if you believe something does happen, the story goes we pass on to another realm. But some people when they pass on, choose to stick around for some reason ... maybe some obsession with the place."

Naval personnel staying on Deadman's Island reported hearing furniture being moved late at night. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)