Ghosts Of Gastown?
The definition of ‘ghost’ from the Oxford dictionary is:
‘An apparition of a dead person which is believed to appear or become manifest to the living, typically as a nebulous image.’
I’m sure many of you can recall long evenings spent with drink in hand in the back room of the old Irish Heather. But can any of you say they ever spotted one of the many ‘supposed’ ghosts that were said to inhabit that area? If so, lucky you! I’ve been on the lookout for a Gastown ghost for as long as I can remember and from the many tales of full or partial sightings that have been recounted through the years; one would think that that we are living here surrounded by the dearly departed.
As one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Vancouver, Gastown aptly named after the infamous saloon proprietor Gassy Jack Deighton whose statue can be found at the intersection of Water & Carrall Street, has had a colourful history of hangings, major conflagrations and civic unrest. Makes you wonder then where wouldn’t be a better place for the spirits to dwell if not here.
One of the oldest and best known ‘haunts’ in Gastown is the present location of The Old Spaghetti Factory which was constructed in 1970 in the Malkin building, itself originally built in 1910. There have been numerous reported sightings of ghosts in and around this famous Gastown destination. According to the website Ghosts of Vancouver there are presently no less than four ghosts in residence, including one very persistent fellow that seems to be attached to the old trolley car which makes up part of the interior of the restaurant. To find out more about these (possibly not all so) friendly ghosts pay a visit to their website…if you dare.
Other inexplicable sightings have been connected to the fascinating past of the Gaoler’s Mews located off Blood Alley and Carrall Street. Once a jail outfitted with a hangman’s scaffold and the sight of many a public execution, this area has had numerous ghost sightings documented over the years. Now an area of good times and fine dining, I often wonder if people even take notice of that possible slight change in atmosphere around them that might or might not be a passing astral visitor.
So although there have been many alleged sightings of our Gastown spirit friends over the years, I have yet to experience the thrill of saying that I’ve even felt so much as a cold draft…that is, other than that of the liquid variety.
Come on Mr. Deighton… I’m ready for you.
By Tanya Symington
Below: Ghosts of Vancouver with Red Robinson on Global TV