Whether you believe or not, Niagara has a haunted history, and with good reason.
Aboriginal communities populated this area hundreds and hundreds of years ago, with the Niagara River offering an important route for trade and good ground to live on. Canada wasn’t even Canada yet when Niagara saw its first battles, during the War of 1812. All along the Niagara River, from Niagara-on-the-Lake through Niagara Falls to Fort Erie, soldiers and their Native allies died fighting to hold this ground.
In 1866, one year after the end of the Civil War in America, the Fenian Raids convinced soon-to-be-Canadians that security would be found by becoming a nation. One year later, in 1867 Canada celebrated Confederation and became a nation. The positioning of the Niagara Region between Lake Erie and Ontario makes it a desirable location. At the time, the Iroquois had a portage where once could walk around the treacherous waters of the Niagara River, Rapids, and Falls. With so much at stake, it’s easy to imagine that spirits still linger … and we like to celebrate and indulge in that here.
For starters, Niagara Ghost Walks takes visitors on a nighttime stroll through the old Niagara Falls downtown, where many of the buildings are 100 years or older. The tour promises tales of murder and mayhem, as you might expect in an historic tourist town.
Fort George, the largest of the two 1812 fortresses still standing in the area, is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, at the mouth of Lake Ontario. Ghost tours run at peak times throughout the year, including mid-October. The lantern tour takes you through the creepiest spots of the wooden fort, including the tunnel near a lookout where numerous people have reported being touched or having seen images they couldn’t explain … Visit NiagaraGhosts.com for more info.
The quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake adjacent to Fort George was nearly destroyed by the Americans in retaliation for the British burning the White House during the War of 1812. It’s considered one of the most haunted places in all of Ontario. One only has to walk through the streets to feel the history. If you want a more intimate encounter, try staying at the Angel Inn or the Prince of Whales Hotel where numerous accounts of sightings and strange occurrences are enough to entice the curious and repel the faint of heart. The Royal George Theatre is another source of of sighting and stories. Beyond the scuttlebutt, Niagara-on-the-Lake has one of the prettiest downtowns in all of Canada, so you can enjoy a walk through the shops in the afternoon and a ghost tour when the sun goes down! Visit GhostWalks.com for more info.
Farther south, the River opens to Lake Erie and Historic Fort Erie, one of the bloodiest battle sites from the entire war. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young soldier whose hands were blown off by a cannon ball as he cut the hair of an officer who, as you may have guessed, lost his head and is also said to haunt the site. Keep an eye on NiagaraParks.com for tour details.
The Niagara Falls History Museum is located on the site of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, an extremely harrowing nighttime battle. Part of the battlefield is now the Drummond Hill Cemetery, an historic resting place featured on Creepy Canada. The museum has a permanent gallery dedicated to the history of Niagara’s role in the War of 1812, and also offers nighttime tours through the cemetery, the final resting place of famous war heroine Laura Secord, as well as at least one daredevil who conquered the falls.
The Drummond Hill Cemetery Tours are conducted at night, led by guides in period costume from the past 200 years. It isn’t billed as a ghost tour, but hey … you just never know.