Calgary Ghost Tours offers eerie, affordable fun

For those who are looking for proof of the supernatural or just a spooky night out on Halloween, Calgary Ghost Tours has just the thing.

Offering tours around the downtown core, 17th Avenue and Inglewood, Calgary Ghost Tours was started several years ago by Johanna Lane. She was inspired to start the tour program after a trip to Boston, where she took part in the city’s own ghost tour.

Despite starting the tours, as well as being one of its guides, Lane describes herself as an on-the-fence skeptic.

“I won’t say that I don’t believe,” Lane said. “People on the tours have claimed to have experienced things, but I never have.”

Led by a lantern-carrying guide in black Victorian attire, those who gather on a cold autumn night in Inglewood can expect to visit notable landmarks such as the Ironwood Stage and Grill.

There, the mischievous ghost of a former director named Michael is prone to playing pranks on the theatre’s guests and staff.

However, not all the stops on the Inglewood leg of the tour are as light-hearted as the Ironwood. A quiet corner of 8th Avenue lays claim to three haunted spots.

The Rouge restaurant was once home to Sir Alfred Ernest Cross, one of the “Big Four” who created the first Calgary Stampede, and his family. Tragically, Cross lost two of his children within minutes of each other to diphtheria. Their spirits, along with the ghost of their mother, Helen, are said to be heard playing in the upstairs attic of the restaurant.

Just up the street from The Rouge, on the opposite side of the 12th Street bridge to St. George’s Island, the ghost of Donnie Goss, a six-year-old boy murdered by serial killer Donald Staley in 1946, is said to be heard screaming for help along the banks of the Bow River.

Residents of Inglewood also claim to hear the bells of St. Vincent’s Presbyterian Church ringing at odd hours of the day, an unusual occurrence given that the belfry has not had bells since the early 1970s.

“A lot of the stories we tell are told to us by residents of Inglewood,” Lane said.

Tours run from May to November, and are available both publicly and privately. Tickets are $15 per-person and can be purchased through www.calgaryghosttours.com

Theatrical ghosts: One of the first stops on Calgary Ghost Tours on the Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 meet up in Calgary is the historic Garry Theatre. Now the venue for the Ironwood Stage and Grill, The Garry is said to be haunted by the ghost of a director named Michael.(Photo by Nikolas Menz/The Press)
Theatrical Spooks: One of the first stops on Calgary Ghost Tours on the Oct. 3, 2015 meet-up in Calgary was the historic Garry Theatre. Now the venue for the Ironwood Stage and Grill, The Garry is said to be haunted by the ghost of a director named Michael. (Photo by Nikolas Menz/The Press)
About Nick Menz 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Nick Menz worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2015-16 academic year.