"In the 1980’s, there were many people who moved into Keswick from Toronto and beyond in hopes of enjoying not only affordable housing, but also the joy and beauty of living by the lake in a town of promise and friendliness. The subdivision known as Keswick by the Lake (borders of Church Street, The Queensway, Woodbine Avenue and Morton Avenue) has been the site of not only quiet happiness in small town living, but also the site of numerous ghostly sightings and interesting experiences. Here are a few of them…
KESWICK BY THE LAKE SUBDIVISION
A report was received from a home located on Carrick Avenue. The wife and mother who contacted us did so on the advice of her husband who could not understand why every pet (in this case canaries) they brought into the house seemed to only live a few days. Every single time. They checked for leaks in the furnace (none), drafts (none) and even bought new canaries from different pet stores thinking that perhaps it was a breeding problem (it wasn’t). They thought that perhaps their two sons (3 and 5) were feeding them strange things (they weren’t) and getting up to the cage somehow, even though they had placed the cage nearer to the ceiling on a strong hook which necessitated the use of a kitchen ladder to access.
The strange thing was that prior to the canaries falling ill and dying, both the wife and father had odd dreams about awful smells and sadness. Prior to moving into their new home in that subdivision, they had never had such dreams – and had always owned canaries and never ever had experienced anything like it. Interestingly enough, their immediate neighbour spoke with them and when they shared what was happening, this neighbour laughed and told them that one of the real estate folks had said that the subdivision was built on “high ground” which was used for Chippewa burials and sacred rituals, so maybe their whole neighbourhood was “cursed”.
We did some research, and can only speculate that prior to the land in question being owned by farmers until it was parceled out for sale, the region was in fact inhabited by natives, some Chippewa. The ground there is indeed “high ground” – and a local psychic contacted us to tell us that where the subdivision now stands appears to her to be “wrought with sadness and death”, perhaps a place where funerary rituals occurred. Not a burial ground, but a ground where funeral pyres were placed and upon which “great mourning” occurred.
Two cases of ghost children were reported to us – both in homes on Natanya Blvd. Both homes are on the same street, but one is at one end and the other is at the other end entirely. Interestingly enough, both had similar experiences, and both saw children which they described as dressed “in period or Victorian” clothing. In one case, the child (a little girl in a Victorian dress) is seen only upstairs, and only in one part of the upstairs. The lady first saw her in one of the bedrooms where she keeps her treadmill. Then, one night, she saw her in the hallway.
The other home has a different situation in that the children (a boy and a girl) are seen everywhere in the home – except for the basement. In both situations, they are seen in both broad daylight and at night.
Neither home owner wanted them “gone” – they didn’t feel that they caused any harm, but they felt that the children were curious and visiting for some reason. One of the homeowners (the one with the treadmill) felt that the child was perhaps looking for something, but she wasn’t sure. It was a “feeling” that she had. Both of these reported sightings had occurred for quite a while, and the homeowners just wanted to let us know that this was happening – because they felt that by reporting what they have seen (and continue to see, I might add), they may help others in the area who have also seen ghost children. Have YOU seen any in that subdivision?
The Stephen Leacock Theatre – Gwendolyn Blvd.:
Reports of a phantom janitor or care staff have been reported by some employees of the theatre and by some of the patrons. The library used to be housed within the same building of the theatre, and a few of the employees had contacted us to tell us that they had seen something – a figure of what appeared to be a man – out of the corner of their eye, wielding a broom or dusting a shelf…some of the employees reported hearing the taps flow in the washrooms when no one was there, and hearing a toilet flush by itself.
The theatre has some reported activity as well. Some of the Little Theatre groups have reported being “influenced” positively by what they feel is the ghost of Stephen Leacock himself – they have felt creative and have suddenly remembered all of their lines after a bout of nervousness, attributing this new-found burst of energy and renewed mental clarity to Stephen Leacock’s energy. Reports of seats being turned down by themselves, mysterious lights both on stage and behind the scenes have also been reported – as have footsteps on the upper lighting decks in the theatre. In the sound/tech booth, people have reported equipment acting strangely and cold spots….
In the mid 1990’s, a call was received from a very nice lady who had moved into a home on this street with her husband of over 35 years. Their children were older and no longer lived at home, and they were eager to have a nice large home all to themselves which was big enough for visits from grandchildren, summer sleepovers with extended family and happy family Christmases. The couple had purchased the home from a single gentleman who moved there from the city and who had, according to the lady, “strange taste in décor”. Her situation? Well, after stuttering a few times, and “ummmmm”ing a few times, she explained that the home was fine except for the master bedroom.
She said that both she and her husband were not “rabbits”, if I knew what she meant (I figured it out), but she said that both of them had unexplained feelings of a “lustful nature” whenever they entered their bedroom – kind of like there was a residual atmosphere in there that they felt uncomfortable with. She asked if someone could come and “check it out” – so, notebook in hand, I ventured forth to indeed “check it out”.
When I arrived, I rang the doorbell multiple times, but there seemed to be no one home. I thought that I had gotten the arrival time wrong and was heading back to my car to have a peek in my calendar which I had left on the passenger seat, when their neighbour pulled into the driveway. She was very friendly, and told me that “Oh, their doorbell doesn’t work!” which made sense. BUT, then what happened next was interesting. She proceeded to tell me that the gentleman who lived there before this nice couple “had the doorbell disconnected because he was very busy entertaining young ladies and didn’t want to be disturbed”. She winked a few times just to let me know WHY he didn’t want to be disturbed…but I got it. She then went on to tell me that she had heard that apparently this gentleman had since passed away, and that while he was alive, he adored his house and was “quite the playboy”. Interesting. I thanked her for the information, then went back to the front door and knocked. Loudly.
The owners of the home were wonderful. They explained the situation to me again, and then took me upstairs to the master bedroom to see why they called me…yup. I understood immediately. The bedroom was kind of dark – almost like a Bohemian tent! Painted red and blue with gold accents (they obviously hadn’t gotten around to painting it yet!), it was indeed quite odd. And the atmosphere felt electrically charged. Of course given the information that the neighbour provided so openly before I arrived, it didn’t take me long to figure out what the “situation” was. He was definitely there. I could feel a distinctly masculine energy permeating the room and the adjacent ensuite. Who wouldn’t come back to the place where all the action was???
I told the couple about the conversation that I had with their neighbour in the driveway – and they were absolutely dumbfounded. Apparently, that neighbour had never acknowledged their presence or even made an attempt to speak to them ever at all since they moved into the home. Now, isn’t that odd? Yet the neighbour told me the whole story… So what happened you ask? Well, this nice older couple had their pastor come in and bless the house, and they painted the bedroom a sweet shade of mellow apricot, and never had another problem. So does residual energy exist?? Do souls linger or return to where they feel most “alive”? Perhaps. Perhaps indeed.
This south end of Keswick is quite frankly a hotbed of interesting activity, not the least of which are people seemingly being followed home by spirits – most of the time by children. Some of the time by not so nice male spirits who then proceed to make themselves known by touching or banging or turning lights and equipment off and on until the poor person tells them to GO AWAY. Most of the time, telling them to go away works just fine – but sometimes they do linger until they simply get bored and look for someone else to follow home.
Multiple reports of children and child ghostly apparitions have been reported in that area, and rumour has it that there was someone in the area who had adopted a number of children but was abusive to them and whose horrible spirit lingers there to this day. A case near Lake Drive and Parkway Ave. was reported where ghostly voices were heard on a baby monitor, and the baby’s room was “deathly cold” even in the summer heat. Another case near Annsheila Drive and The Queensway had one family so upset due to the constant electrical issues plaguing their home, that they hired a contractor to re-wire the entire home, only to have the exact same situation occur again after the job was done. They later found out that three people had perished in the house which was an old winterized cottage. Plans were then made to “smudge” the home and attempt to purify the atmosphere of the house, and last reports were that no more electrical upsets had occurred in a very long time.
Another report is that the shoreline was not at all where it currently is today – that it was much higher up and consequently the homes in the south end would have been under water if they were around at that time! A psychic friend of the Georgina Paranormal Society surmises that because of this, the south end of Keswick is “spiritually charged” – that water is an element which holds energy and because the area was under water for a long period of time, it has absorbed a huge amount of spirit energy and embodies a charged and active atmosphere. It also has homes which “used to sit on the bottom of the lake”, surrounded by not only decaying lake life, but by anything and everything that the lake claimed as its own.
If any of you have seen a television show entitled Paranormal Survivor, you may have seen a case which actually did take place in the south end of Keswick involving a woman who had seen “monk-like, cloaked, hooded figures” which surrounded her bed while she was napping – one of whom scratched her with a pointed finger. This same woman also attempted to sell her home, but never could (and still lives there to this day). She had an inspector come to the house and he left abruptly, leaving all of his tools and trouble light behind, saying to the real estate agent that the lady who lived in the house was “crazy for living there” – but he never divulged what had made him leave so quickly and why he never went back to collect his tools. This same homeowner has had a few renovations take place since that fateful day when the inspector fled – and these renovations have unearthed interesting things. Strange bat-like creatures with tails, a skull (which she isn’t sure was in fact “real”) – but interestingly enough, these objects disappeared without a trace before she has had the opportunity to show them to any one of us. How can this be? Perhaps the entities don’t want to be exposed – but I can tell you that this same person to this day is still plagued with experiences which terrify her and baffle her. She is terrified to sleep in her bedroom and has not slept there since 2002 (yes, she sleeps on the couch!), and her electronic equipment is constantly toyed with. Even her dog bowls move from place to place seemingly on their own – and her dogs have been “ousted” from their comfortable spots on the couch by unseen hands. The home has been cleansed on multiple occasions, and has felt “fine” for short periods of time afterward, only to return to being busy and spirit-filled once more. And why does she remain there? Finances are one issue – but the other is that somehow she is “used to” these spirits…and in some way feels that they are trying to communicate with her.
Tampa Drive/Hollywood Area:
Reports of a strange, almost alien-like figure/creature have been reported in this south end Keswick area in the past few years. The creature is skinny, long, hairless, and appears to walk on all fours like a dog. It has glowing eyes and moves very quickly. It has been spotted skittling across the street in the middle of the night – and it has also been reported lurking behind trees and bushes in peoples’ backyards as early as 11 p.m. Have you seen such a creature?
Cedarholme Avenue/Lake Drive:
An older lady walking her dog at 11:30 p.m. reported seeing strange lights in the sky hovering over houses in the area in the fall of 2013. Strangely enough, there was no sound emanating from whatever it was that was hovering – and she was so terrified, that she went inside the house with her dog (whose reaction was also terror), hoping that it would be gone in a matter of moments. It was still there 20 minutes later, but then immediately vanished soon afterward. The lights were of different colours (red/blue/yellow). Reports of strange lights in the sky and hovering craft are actually quite commonplace in that area of Keswick. Have you seen something similar?
Ravenshoe Road/Canal Road:
Strange lights have been reported in the woods and on the road/in the fields in this area. Rumours are that they are alien in origin; however, full bodied apparitions have been reported as having been seen peering through the trees at the side of the road leading to neighbouring farms. Do you live in the area? Have you seen something you cannot explain? Please let us know.
OTHER KESWICK AND SURROUNDING AREAS
Church Street/Metro Road:
This particular corner once was very busy – it was the site of the old Keswick railway station. At the moment, it is empty and grassy, and beyond it lies the power grid that “feeds” that part of Keswick…but reports of ghostly travellers have been seen, some carrying ancient-looking trunks and carpet bags. Sounds of horses are also reported on that corner, and further on down the road (Church Street/Lake Drive), bright orbs are said to hover at the lake’s shore. Perhaps ghostly travellers taking a swim on a lazy summer day? Have you seen them?
Roche’s Point – Christ Church and Graveyard:
Incredibly (some would say hauntingly!) beautiful Christ Church is a must-see if you are in the area of Roches Point. The first service held there was in 1863, and the first Rector was The Reverend Walter Stennett. It boasts foot-and-a-half thick fieldstone walls, and of course all of the headstones in the graveyard face East – toward the rising sun.
Reports of activity in that location include lights and movements in the churchyard, voices talking and singing among the gravestones, and an “electric” atmosphere. On an investigation in 2015, the GPS picked up some interesting light anomalies on digital camera (orbs, figures of light).
"I was home alone watching TV in the family room downstairs when I had a feeling someone was in the room with me. Out of the corner of my eye to my left, I could see what I can only describe as a misty cloud standing right beside my left shoulder. I turned quickly to see and there was nothing there. This happened a few times. The exact same thing happened once, and it seemed like it had an arm across the top of the chair and when I would turn it was always gone. It did not feel like an evil presence at all. I did not tell my wife about it as I wasn’t sure what if anything I had seen. Fast forward a couple weeks, and I get a text message from my wife while I’m working nights. It went as follows --” OMG! I just saw something standing beside your chair! It was like a white cloud!” I explained that I had seen the exact same thing and this confirms that something is there.
"Before this, two or three times, my wife had seen a man dressed as she described in work pants and plaid shirt in the hallway downstairs and upstairs peeking around the corner, looking at her and my mother as they sat in the kitchen."
George’s Restaurant (formerly Sak’s Fish and Chips):
Billed as Keswick’s most haunted location, this restaurant has long been a favourite Keswick “haunt”, articles having been written about it for many years. Ask the staff and they will tell you that it is without a doubt haunted. Downstairs especially!
A camera which was set up in the basement of the establishment by the “One Dark Night” organizers in 2013 seemed to show an unexplained “shadow” or “dark figure” moving about when no one was around…but who is it that lurks in the basement, scaring staff and customers alike? Some would say a former owner, some would say a spirit who feels that the living are trespassing on his space.
One friend of the GPS had an experience in the bathroom after denying the existence of the ghost (a paper towel roll was literally thrown at him)… Why not venture there some time for a nice dinner – and a ghostly show perhaps? Have you had something occur on one of your nights out there?
Woodbine Avenue, north of Ravenshoe Road:
Site of an abandoned house (shame, really!), reports of lights and apparitions in the now boarded-up windows have been reported. On our site, you will see a few pictures of the house which were taken on clear evenings, but which seem to show multiple (some different coloured) orbs encircling the area and house. Are spirits attracted to this abandoned house? Do you think they are attracted to abandoned houses and areas in general? Let us know your take on this and anything else you find fascinating.