As Halloween approaches there’s a rise in all things spooky, and with the release of horror movies such as Paranormal Activity 4, people are becoming more interested in the unknown.
“People have always been interested in ghost stories from every culture and throughout history,” director of the Toronto Ghost and Hauntings Research Society (TGHRS), Sue St. Clair said. “Ghost stories give us a glimpse into the past and can be fun and thrilling. They also allow us to ponder the possibility of things that science may not yet be able to explain.”
Scarborough is not exempt from mysterious occurrences. The Guild Inn was one of few buildings in Scarborough where many people claim paranormal activities occurred. Located on top of the Scarborough Bluffs, the Guild Inn was built in 1914 and in 1978, it served as a hotel playing host to guests like Sir Lawrence Olivier and Christopher Reeve. The inn closed in 2001 and the newer section of the hotel was demolished in 2009.
An article on the Para-Researchers of Ontario website stated that a tunnel under the Guild Inn was created to connect the main building to the Scarborough Bluffs. Rumours state that experiments took place in the tunnel.
St. Clair had stayed at the Guild Inn on more than one occasion. She said she experienced a few things that were not “easily explainable,” including tugging, pulling, and rattling door knobs.
“What these things were I do not know with 100 per cent certainty, but they were intriguing to me,” she said.
The majority of the tales from the article on the Para-Researchers of Ontario website are first-hand accounts from former employees of the Guild Inn. One claims that a closed fridge door mysteriously opened and that he saw an apparition.
There is no proof to back up these claims, but St. Clair is adamant that the sources are legitimate.
“In the end it’s a matter of trust as you would in assessing anything anybody ever tells you and of course working towards verifying what you can within their report,” she said. “I personally found the witnesses to be credible people who simply had a strange encounter that they could not easily explain and simply wanted to share.”
There is no concrete evidence whether the Guild Inn was actually haunted. Guildwood Park, where the Guild Inn was located, is currently used as the backdrop for arts festivals and recreational activities.
In 2011 Centennial College proposed to reopen the inn but was rejected by the City of Toronto.
“It is truly sad to see it as it is now considering what it once was, and it is my hope that one day it will be restored to its former glory,” St. Clair said.