Haunting in Niagara

If you’re looking for the perfect place to travel to experience the beauties of fall, consider grabbing your passport and heading to Canada.  More specifically, if you also love wine and the paranormal, head to Niagara-On-The-Lake. This small, lakeside town in Southern Ontario is popular because of two main attractions: 20+ wineries and an interesting collection of permanent residents.  

 

Niagara-On-The-Lake was the main battleground for The War of 1812, that was fought between the Americans and the British.  If you’re looking for a more in depth outline of the events, Google it. To paint a picture of what happened during the war, a lot of people died there.  The town, as a whole, was completely burnt to the ground on three separate occasions and rebuilt every time on top of the ruins, so basically the town is an entire graveyard.  I recently had to pleasure of spending the weekend at Niagara-On-The-Lake and it did not disappoint.  

 

Image from: The-olde-angel-inn-welcomes.jpg

 

In the day time it is a beautiful, picturesque  place with quaint neighborhoods. It is a very affluent lakeside town by day and even more lively at night.  Of course, being considered as the most haunted town in North America there’s plenty of ghostly tourist attractions.  My family and I took a walking ghost tour that is guided by local historians/actors. You take an hour and a half walk throughout the town, stopping at all the most active paranormal sights and listening to the stories about their significance.  Many of the places are restaurants, homes and local businesses that are all in operation. The one restaurant that I ate at called The Olde Angel Inn is very popular for not only the food, but the ghost story involving it. Before it was made into a restaurant it was an  Inn owned by a local man. 

 

 During the War of 1812, a British soldier named Colin Swayze was waiting outside the Inn for his lover who was the Innkeeper's daughter.  The town at the time was mostly abandoned because it was an active war zone and the local residents were in hiding. Swayze was trying to wait as long as possible to see his love but during that time two American soldiers who were walking through the town making sure there were no enemies left spotted him on the corner and started to approach him.  Swayze ran inside the inn, went straight to the basement and hid inside an empty barrel in the wine cellar. The soldiers came in shortly after, checked all the bedrooms and then went downstairs. They saw the wine barrels and started turning the taps on them to see if there was an empty one.  

 

Image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jetwashphotos/16036458385/

 

They finally found one that was “empty” and at the same time they both took their swords and repeatedly stabbed the barrel.  The next time they turned the tap, a nice thick, dark red wine came out ;) The two soldiers buried the barrel right there in the wine cellar and no one found out about what happened until the inn was rebuilt after being burnt down and a cement floor had been laid in the basement.  After being converted into a restaurant, the basement now houses the men and womens bathroom and a locked door with a sign on the outside that says “wine cellar”. There are frequently reported ghostly encounters that happen in the bathrooms, I thankfully didn't experience any when I went down there. 

 

 The experior has been renovated but the original foundations and internal walls and supports are still the exact same from after the original structure was burnt down.  I’m not a fan of ghosts or anything haunted but the town does a great job of balancing the spooky and beautiful aspects it.