Gananoque with its rich history and heritage is a place ghost hunters like to investigate and tell tales of. Two of our haunted locations have been featured in Haunted places books. The ghost hunting groups currently interested in Gananoque are listed at the bottom of this page.
Visitors and locals frequently ask about a ghost tour. So here is our our answer, a list of 11 locations with ghost stories that can be used with Gananoque’s self-guided Heritage Walking Tour available from the Visitor Centre, 10 King St East.
These stories are from A HINT o’ GHOSTS – GANANOQUE a souvenir zine (booklet). It has 13 stories, illustrations and more. It is available from Arts and Craft Collective, 161 King St East, also known as 171 King St East which is its historic address and shows on the stained glass over the front door.
Gananoque and 1000 Island Visitor Centre
10 King Street, East (#1 on Gananoque’s self-guided Heritage Walking Tour)
Built in the 1840’s the Albion Hotel was a thriving business at the time of Confederation having a reputation of being a first-class house in every respect. In 1890 it became the Victoria hotel for a short while before becoming the offices of the Jones Shovel Company. After being purchased by the town in 1963 it was a museum run by the local historical society. Now serves as an information centre for both visitors and residents of the town.
There have been many occurances on the third floor of the building that make people wonder about ghosts. There is a door on the third floor that is never closed and the key is always in it. One time it swung closed behind some people and the key wasn’t in it. A cell phone call to others in the building soon had the door open again.
50 Main Street
The first building on this site was built by Charles McDonald in 1812. He gave it the scottish name Blinkbonnie, meaning good to the eyes. That small frame house was added on to over the years, becoming a stately home and then a hotel. Blinkbonnie has been sold many times over the course of the last 90 years and is gradually becoming an eyesore, resting alone and falling apart. Its future has been a subject of much debate over the last few years.
Researching Blinkbonnie turned up several ghost stories. One uniquely features a woman participating in a seance there who believed she’d seen a ghost that resembled herself as a child. Other stories concern interesting occurrences with the building’s plumbing. This location was investigated in 2017 by GHOST.
myFM (and 1000 Island Kayaking)
10 Kate Street (#13 on Gananoque’s self-guided Heritage Walking Tour)
Built in 1903 the 1000 Island Kayaking part of this building was part of an important change in the way of life of the town. A municipal waterworks, which included the Kate St pumphouse and a water tower combined to provide a source of safe uncontaminated drinking water and water for fire fighting. An addition to the Pumphouse was built in 1955 to provide living quarters for a resident engineer. As a heritage designated building it was included in Doors Open 2014.
Researching the possible ghostly activity at the Pumphouse produced reports of minor disturbances that have unsettled staff working at night. I have been told that myFM has an office chair that is persistently moved at night, often quite a distance. An investigation by Bytown Paranormal in 2018 didn’t produce much activity but enough to warrant further investigation.
Gananoque Boat Lines
280 Main Street
This Customs House was built in 1883. There was a discussion in the house of commons about it that same year. From this we know that Gananoque got this lovely building because the previous one burned and the owner wished to sell the property. It was decided by the federal public works department that it would be more cost effective and less disruptive to purchase the land and build than to find a new office to rent.
Researching the Customs House produced reports of minor disturbances such as wailing, pounding and footsteps being heard from the attic of the building. Is there ghostly activity there or is it just expected of a location that was once a tourist attraction called House of Haunts?
St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
175 Stone Street, South (#20 on Gananoque’s self-guided Heritage Walking Tour)
William Cloverdale architect of the Kingston Penitentiary and City Hall was also the architect of St Andrew’s. The church was built in 1855, expanded 20 years later with the addition of 2 wings, a hall and the spire. The 39 metre (129 feet) spire of St Andrew’s is one of the more visible Gananoque landmarks. Interestingly the church’s Rose Window was a gift from the Clark Thread Company of Scotland.
St Andrew’s Church was one of the Gananoque locations investigated by GHOST in 2018. When the belfry was checked out, Old Spice scent kept wafting by although none of the investigating team was wearing it. Nothing definitive was found but there was enough possible activity to make the live feed of the investigation interesting.
1000 Islands B&B, Bulloch House
199 Pine Street
Built in 1888 by William Bulloch one of the wealthy early industrialists of Gananoque, this house was twice passed to the next generation as a wedding present. The first time to William Bulloch Jr in 1920’s. His daughter Dora received the house when she married. Although no longer owned by members of the Bulloch family, the house has retained much of its opulence including furnishings and a walk in safe.
The current owners have never personally meet any ghosts, but say local tradesmen tell stories of what could be ghostly goings on. It was investigated in September 2017 by GHOST. At that time the owners did not have the combination for the unkeyed walk in safe, actually a J&J Taylor “strong room”. The safe door closed during investigation, seemed locked and then much later was open again.
Donevan’s Hardware Store
135 King Street, East
Returning summer visitors often seem to know this store as the one with the bear. Locals know it as one of the places to find Charlie Donevan who remembers so much of the history of the town. Donevan’s has been a family business owned at this location for 4 generations now. It is also a continuation of the town’s oldest business, a general store operated by Joel Stone at Main and Mill Streets. That business became Britton General store on King St, where James Donevan learned the business eventually becoming a partner, then moving the business to its current location as Donevan’s Hardware.
Donevan’s ghosts seems to be family still keeping an eye on the establishment. They didn’t reveal themselves to investigators from GHOST in the Fall of 2017 when they came down with their ghost hunting equipment.
72 Stone Street, South (#24 on Gananoque’s self-guided Heritage Walking Tour)
Occasionally in the last few winters a pop up bakery has appeared in the ice cream store here. It seems quite fitting for a building that has had such varied uses over the years. Built in 1861 by Thomas B Anderson, in 1903 it was purchased by the town and used as a jail until 1911. Uses after that include such varied things a hardware store, a hairdressing salon, Gananoque’s first pizza business, and currently the second floor is a furnished tourist apartment of the Trinity Inn.
Thomas is believed to still return to the building he built. Is it because 42 years later he was the first inmate, jailed for public intoxication? An investigation by in 2018 by GHOST didn’t show any activity at the time.
Trinity House Inn
90 Stone Street, South (#23 on Gananoque’s self-guided Heritage Walking Tour)
Also known as the Atkinson House because it was built by Dr. Edward Atkinson, founder of the St. Lawrence Steel and Wire, (a.k.a. the corset factory). Dr Atkinson married Clara Adelaide Britton the daughter of a prominent local family. Edward’s brother John was also a Doctor and for a while lived in Gananoque, quite likely also in this Stone St home. The current name Trinity Inn is a reference to district of Scotland where the brick for house came from. They were used as ship’s ballast on the trip over from Scotland.
Trinity House Inn was one of the Gananoque locations investigated by GHOST in the Fall of 2017. They got a great deal of activity, some in the basement where the town morgue was at one time and some on the third floor. There is also a hint of some interesting activity of a keyboard and possibly a rocking horse in part of a video posted by GHOST.
80 Garden Street
In 1796 Joel Stone built a two-storey house that was referred to as the Red House. Originally it was located with Gananoque’s first store and post office, near what is now the corner of St Lawrence and Main streets. The site is now a lovely Gananoque Horticultural Society garden, with an interesting monument about its history. There is reason to believe the building was taken down and rebuilt in some form on Garden St in 1852 by John Beatty.
The widow of a man who drowned while at work along the Gananoque River believed her husband haunted the house. Later when the house was used as accomodation by the Playhouse for out of town staff and guests, they sometimes reported hearing early morning activity like someone was getting ready to go to work.
30 King Street, East (#30 on Gananoque’s self-guided Heritage Walking Tour)
This heritage designated building was built in 1831 to be the home of John McDonald and his wife Henrietta. Before her marriage she was living in the home of her step-grandfather with her grandmother, mother and possibly a sister. It must have been quite a change for Henrietta to move into a home with a parlour, dining room, ballroom, master bedroom, schoolroom.
It is said that Henrietta Mallory McDonald still inhabits the home she raised her family in. She seems most likely to appear to men, who she seems to dislike. There has also been a report of a little boy crying behind the building. Neither revealed themselves clearly during an investigation by GHOST in 2018.
Phantoms of Yore
has investigated these Gananoque locations. Donevan’s Hardware, Trinity Inn, Bulloch House, Red House.
has investigated these Gananoque locations over the years, some multiple times. Springer and Firehall Theatres, Donevan’s Hardware, All about Books, Dreams in Motion, Visitor Centre, myFM, 4 private residences.
has investigated these Gananoque locations. Trinity House, St Andrew’s, Donevan’s, Bulloch House, Town Hall, Visitor Centre, Banana Splitz.