Saskatchewan

Regina's Bushwakker Brewpub staff say pub is haunted

One of Regina's most popular drinking haunts is haunted. Find out about some of the spooky encounters staff at Bushwakker brewpub have reported over the years.

Bushwakker Brewpub used to be a Chinese laundromat that was destroyed in the Regina cyclone

It turns out a popular Regina haunt may just be haunted. The popular Bushwakker Brewpub in Regina is best known for serving up nachos and beer, but bar manager Grant Frew says the building has served up some spooky supernatural encounters over the years. 

Grant Frew leads CBC on a tour of some of the spooky things that have happened in the basement of the Bushwakker Brewpub. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

The space where Bushwakker is now, at the corner of Dewdney Avenue and Cornwall Street, used to be a Chinese laundromat that was destroyed in the Regina cyclone. On June 30 1912, approximately 20 people were killed in the immediate vicinity. 

Frew said a number of psychic mediums have visited Bushwakker over the years and "many have felt more than just one ghost, but several ghosts."

The first strange experience happened near the main entranceway to the pub. Frew said the day supervisor saw someone open the door to the Arizona room — a private banquet room off the main floor — and walk in. He said when she went to tell the person that the room wasn't open there was absolutely no one in the room, and the only exit was welded shut. 

Staff member reports seeing hangers mysteriously moving by themselves. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

Other unexplained experiences have happened over the years. Frew recounted the time his night manager was finishing paperwork in her downstairs office late at night.  

"As she rounded the corner all of these clothes hangers were swinging back and forth as if someone has run their hand over them," Frew said. "All the doors were closed, there was no possibility of a breeze and she was the only one in the building at the time."

Just down the hall from the moving clothes hangers is the boiler room. In the room is a small boiler used by the brewmaster to heat up the kettle while he is making beer. 

A staff member reports have small objects inexplicably projected at his head while in the boiler room. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

"He was down here by himself one day adjusting some pressures and all of a sudden it seemed like someone was throwing small object, maybe to get him out of here."

In the cold room down the hall Frew said one of the brewers saw bottles shaking "like a train was going through". 

Hands-on experience with ghost 

Assistant Brewer Michael Gaetz has had his fair share of eerie experiences in the basement of Bushwakker Brewpub. One  event in particular still gives him chills. 

Michael Gaetz demonstrates where he was pushed by 'something that wasn't there'. (Nichole Huck/CBC )
 

"I was pushed by something that wasn't there and I had a red mark on my back when I went to check it," explained Gaetz. "I was completely stunned, our head brewer was with me in the room at the time and he said it looked like I tripped, I just about fell on my face I got pushed so hard."

I was pushed by something that wasn't there and I had a red mark on my back when I went to check it.- Michael Gaetz, Assistant Brewer at Bushwakker Brewpub

Gaetz admitted he also hears what sounds like women's voices calling out names.

"These are at times in the morning when no one else is here. It couldn't possibly be anyone," Gaetz said

The Ghost of Jim Strathdee 

Frew said it's widely believed that at least one of the supernatural visitors is the ghost of  James "Jim" Strathdee, one of the founding partners of the Bushwakker Brewpub building. 

"He came to an untimely demise. He took a shotgun and killed himself," Frew said.

"It was due to depression, he had suffered head injuries in a car accident, some of his partners wanted him out of the business and his wife wanted to move back to Scotland. I think it was too much for him and that's when he ended his life on the railway tracks not far from here."

Grant Frew says he's made his peace with the ghost of Jim Strathdee (Nichole Huck/CBC )

Frew believes Jim is, for the most part, a mischievous ghost. "We do a lot of Scottish events here and I think he knows I'm responsible for organizing those events so he leaves me alone." 

However, Frew admitted he's also made a special effort to make peace with the ghost.

"I've visited his tombstone in the Regina cemetery, let him know who I am, took a bottle of single malt scotch with me, so he and I are good I think."

About the Author

Nichole Huck

Producer

Nichole Huck is a mother of three and producer at CBC Saskatchewan. She is passionate about creating opportunities for open discussions and helping people find common ground. If you have a story idea email nichole.huck@cbc.ca.

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