Mysterious and Spooky… Osgoode’s Haunted History



Love a good ghost story almost as much as you love law?

Osgoode Hall is among dozens of Toronto sites with a secret, spooky past, included in Doors Open Toronto this coming weekend.

The annual event’s theme for 2014 is: “Secrets and Spirits… Exploring the Mysteries Behind the Door.” Close to 80 locations feature secret spaces, stories of spirit sightings and unexplained mysteries. The event runs May 24 and 25.

Construction on the original Osgoode building started in 1829, with architects William Warren Baldwin and John Ewart in charge. Over the years, renovations and additions have created the structure we know today. It houses the Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Court of Appeal. Notable features include the Atrium, with its geometric tile floor; 19th-Century courtrooms; the Great Library; the East Wing; and Convocation Hall, with its stained-glass representations of Ontario legal history.

Staff at Osgoode have reported spooky happenings over the years. Several people have died in the building. Mysterious footsteps and ghostly conversations are among the reported haunting events. The first Treasurer was killed in a duel over a woman’s honour.

Nearby, Old City Hall is also on the tour. Opened in 1899 and designed by architect E.J. Lennox, the structure has a storied past. After a dispute with city officials, Lennox had grotesque faces carved into the stone facade, one for each councillor he was displeased with. The one normal-looking face carved into the stone is that of Lennox himself.

The first person to report a ghostly experience at Old City Hall was a judge. He said he heard footsteps behind him and felt someone tugging at his robe, as he walked the rear staircase. Staff have reported eerie experiences in certain parts of the building.

Saturday and Sunday tours run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is one of the most-popular events in the city, so try to get an early start and plan your day.

Osgoode visitors will also get a copy of “Handling Everyday Legal Problems,” a booklet that promotes access to justice, which is being widely distributed this month across the province.

More Information:

Ontario’s Legal History Open to All – Summer tours of Osgoode

Most-haunted places in Toronto (including Humber College Lakeshore)

Is a haunting a latent defect? – OSC decision

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