Sometimes, even good reporters fail to notice something important until several months later. Such is the case with the new Haunted Canada series of stamps issued by Canada Post. This Examiner did not notice them until she was standing in line at a local postal outlet and of course, immediately picked up a book of the stamps.
It seems that Canada Post is finally picking up on the popularity of the many paranormal events that have happened in this country. According to the Retail Council of Canada, people here spend $1.4 billion just on Halloween. Canada Post actually issued five haunted stamps last June that were illustrated by Sam Webber of Deep River, Ontario. Each stamp represents a ghost tale from across the country. They are the first five in what will be a three-year series of these stamps.
The current stamps in the Haunted Canada series include:
1. A ghost bride at the Fairmont Banff Spring hotel and resort in Banff, Alberta.
2. A phantom train with a ghostly light in St. Louis, in the Saskatchewan River Valley.
3. A ghost ship on fire in the Northumberland Strait between New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
4. The ghost of the Count of Frontenac, who is said to still reside at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, Quebec.
5. All manner of paranormal activity at For George, where many men lost their lives during the War of 1812.
To purchase a set of five stamps for $12.50, go HERE and to get a set of 10 stamps (two of each) for $8.50, go HERE.
The Haunted Canada Series also includes cupronickel coins on which the ghostly apparitions appear. The first to be released by the Royal Canadian Mint depicts the RMS Empress of Ireland that brought many immigrants to Canada. This ship was said to be the “fastest and most comfortable passenger ship” that traveled between Canada and England.
On May 29, 1914, at about 1:40 a.m., the Empress left the Quebec harbor on its way to Liverpool, England. It was traveling along the St. Lawrence River near Pointe-au-Père amid dense fog. At the same time, a Norwegian vessel called Storstad was about eight miles away.
Fearing of an accident, Empress captain Henry George Kendall, brought the ship to a halt. When the Storstad was about 30 meters away, neither ship could avoid the inevitable. The Storstad hit the Empress dead center. The damage was so extensive that water rushed in and trapped many passengers. After listing sharply on the starboard side, the Empress turned on its side and sank. The disaster took the lives of 1,012 of the 1,477 passengers, including 134 children.
Years later, the Empress was deemed an “historical and archaeological property and garnered the designation as a “National Historic Site.” The coin commemorates the 100th anniversary of this tragic event, which has been called “the worst disaster in Canadian maritime history.”
The coin, which was designed by artist Yves Bérubé, shows the Empress in the fog just before the collision and the ship’s bell that hung on one of the masts of the ship. This item was actually salvaged from under the water. Only 15,000 copies of this silver plated copper coin have been made. To order this coin, go HERE.
Another coin depicts a bride-to-be at the Banff hotel, who ended up falling down the stairs and died before she could be married to her beloved. Because “lenticular printing” was used to create the coin, it shows her with her eyes closed but simply tilting it causes her eyes to suddenly open. Behind her the candles that might have led to her demise, shine brightly. Below her is the image of the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. Only 15,000 coins were made of this one as well. To find out more about this coin and to purchase one, go HERE.
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Ghost bride at Fairmont Banff Spring hotel, Banff, Alberta
This Haunted Canada stamp depicts a bride-to-be at the Fairmont Banff Spring hotel in Banff, Alberta. It was built in 1888 and became popular site in the Rocky Mountains. As the couple made their way down a “winding limestone staircase” with lit candles tragedy struck. Some people believe she might have brushed her dress on one of the candles, missed a step and fell down the stairs to her death. They never made it to the Cascade Ballroom to celebrate their union. Since her untimely death stories abound about the bride seen in her wedding dress going up and down the staircase. Some have even seen her dancing all alone.
Ghosts of soldiers at Fort George
Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake where the War of 1812 took place resulted in the loss of many British soldiers. People say you can hear footsteps, moaning and crying. Some reported having their hair pulled or being poked by an unseen entity.
A burning ghost ship in the Northumberland Strait.
A burning ghost ship has been seen countless times in the Northumberland Strait by residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Some have even attempted to rescue the ship’s crew but it just disappears.
A ghost at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
This stamp depicts the ghost at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac believed to be Louis de Buade de Frontenac, the 17th century governor general of New France. There is also a female ghost who crawls into peoples’ beds.
Ghost train known as ‘St. Louis Light’
This stamp depicts “ghostly glowing light” seen in the Saskatchewan River Valley believed to be either on a ghost train or from a lantern carried by the conductor who was killed there.
Young lovers never celebrate anticipated union
One of the stamps in Canada Post’s Haunted Canada series depicts the bride-to-be at the Fairmont Banff Spring hotel and resort in Banff, Alberta. The hotel was built in 1888 and is a popular site in the majestic Rocky Mountains for everyone from nature lovers including hikers and skiers, to high society travelers who seek an elegant place to vacation.
Many weddings and other events have occurred at the hotel over the years but the one no one is able to forget is that of a pair of “young lovebirds’ in the early 30’2 who saw their wedding as the beginning of a wonderful future together. However, it was not meant to be.
As the couple made their way down a “winding limestone staircase with a number of lit candles, tragedy struck. Some people today believe that she might have brushed her dress on one of the candles. The stunned bride might have missed a step and suddenly fell down the stairs to her death. Thus they never made it to the Cascade Ballroom where they would celebrate their union.
For many years since her untimely death stories abound about the bride still in her white wedding dress going up and down that staircase. Some folks have even seen her dancing all alone, perhaps hoping to still have that first dance with the man who would have been her husband.
The haunting of Banff Springs
Video: Haunted Canada Ghost Bride (2014) Canadian Mint Coin
Maybe the bride-to-be tangled the heal of her shoe in her dress or a brush with a candle spooked her, causing the woman to tumble to her death.
Burning ship seen often over last 200 years
One of the stamps in Canada Post’s Haunted Canada series depicts a burning ship, which has been spotted countless times over the years in the Northumberland Strait. Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia have been relating the same tale about this ghost ship and some in fact have even attempted to rescue the ship’s crew. But as they neared the phantom image, it simply disappeared into the mist.
The first sighting of this ship occurred in 1786 and according to one account of a subsequent sighting the schooner with three white masts was engulfed in flames. In one instance, some sailors were in a rowboat when they saw the ship and raced toward it.
“During their struggle to reach the distressed vessel, the phantom ship completely vanished. A thorough search was immediately carried out by divers but no shipwreck was found.”
In another account, the witness said, “I could make out the outline of the ship quite distinctly. I watched it for about 20 minutes and then it disappeared.” This person also noted the ship appeared to slow down after about 10 minutes and smoke could be seen and then men appeared to “come up from below and they were running around the deck every way. Then as they were running around, I seen a low flame all over the deck. When the flames started, the men climbed up the masts of the vessel.”
But then the masts caught on fire too and the men could no longer be seen.
“We watched it until the flames died and everything crumbled to the deck. There was nothing left but the hull on the water, and gradually, it seemed to sink lower and finally disappeared as it gradually filled with water and sank.
There have even been times when a group of people spotted the ship from different vantage points along the Northumberland Strait. Apparently, Mathieu Giguere, 17, was the most recent person to see the ship in January 2008.
It seems the ship never appears in exactly the same place and some reports included a description of hearing sea guns and others mentioned a “ball of fire” in the sky. Since it was seen so often over the years, folks in the area believed it was a portend of a coming storm.
Naturally, there are those who do not believe such reports at all. Some have chalked it up to a “natural electrical phenomena while others felt it was simply the light of the moon reflecting through the fog.
Ghost ship on the Northumberland Strait
Wikipedia article on the ghost ship
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Visitors share their beds with ghostly apparitions
One of the stamps in Canada Post’s Haunted Canada series depicts the ghost at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. This hotel was built in 1893 and named after Louis de Buade de Frontenac, the 17th century governor general of New France.
The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is a huge heritage building with a lot of history behind it. Local tour guides still speak about sightings of the count “wandering the hotel halls, sitting on windowsills or floating through the ballroom dressed in 17th century garb.”
A person who stayed at the hotel told one of the guides that a couple had taken a room on the 6th floor. They took the elevator up and when the doors opened, “they stepped out of the elevator and realized they were actually on the 5th floor.” Figuring they had pushed the wrong button, it was really no big deal. But then they saw “a man dressed in period clothing.” They then assumed it was a member of the hotel’s staff and went on their way up to the 6th floor.
The couple had hoped to get a good nights sleep but the same strange fellow suddenly appeared in bed between them! He seemed to be watching them sleep. Naturally, the couple was alarmed but “too afraid to even get out of bed to turn on the lights…” Thus they stayed there with eyes closed as the man continued to stare at them. Needless to say, they did not get much sleep that night.
On another night, a tour group arrived for a stay at the Chateau Frontenac. It seems a young woman slept in one bed and her friend was in another. The woman awoke when she sensed that “someone was in the room – someone not human!” She actually felt the spirit lie down beside her and was extremely scared.
She began reciting “Buddhist mantras” that usually helped in such situations but this wayward soul was not affected at all. After about an hour, she felt the spirit get out of the bed. However, five minutes afterward, he got in bed and moved “even closer to her.”
The woman then began to plead with the ghost to leave her alone swearing in both English and Chinese but the phantom still did not leave. She finally determined that she’d open her eyes so she could talk directly to the spirit. To her surprise, she saw “a female ghost with long dark hair in a white nightgown standing next to her bed. This ghost was patting her arm and seemed to say, “Don’t worry, sleep now.” After about another minute, she disappeared.
The elegant Chateau Frontenac is not the only hotel in Canada to have its own ghosts. The Algonquin Resort, also built at the turn of the 20th century, at St. Andrews-by-the-sea in New Brunswick has a resident ghost in Room No. 473. This one is said to be the spirit of a “weeping bride.” Legend has it that the woman “took her own life in the room after being left at the altar.” This hotel also has a ghostly bellhop that has been seen roaming the halls.
Then there’s the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which was built in 1913. Guests claim to have been shaken by a ghostly figure standing at the end of their beds. This is another case where a woman apparently killed herself in Room 202. However, other apparitions have been seen there too.
At the Fairmont Vancouver in British Columbia visitors have seen the “Lady in Red,” which is believed to be the ghost of Jennie Pearl Cox, who came to the hotel often to dance in the ballroom. She died in 1944 and has been seen both in rooms and along the hotel’s halls.
If you’re ever in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and hope to have a chilling but thrilling experience, stay over at the Bessborough Hotel. Those who have visited this hotel say they have seen a dapper looking gent in a grey suit and sporting a fedora. He likes to wander the halls of the site, which was a railway hotel in the early 20th century.
Each province seems to have at least one historic hotel that is haunted. In Edmonton, Alberta, it is La Boheme Bed & Breakfast. At this hotel, it is said that a man murdered his wife, “chopped” her “into pieces and burned” her inside the building, which dates back to 1912. Although it is described as a “pretty B&B” today, those who stay for the night just might here odd noises and might also be touched by an unseen ghost. If that were not enough, one terrified visitor claimed a bed was lifted right off the floor!
The final stop on this ghostly tour is the HI Ottawa Jail Hostel in Ottawa, Ontario. Needless to say, the site consisted of jail cells and paranormal activity abounds. Visitors have claimed that they “heard voices” and had been pushed by unseen hands. Some people “found strange orbs in their photos,” and saw and spoke with a “bearded ghost of a former inmate” who was wrongly convicted and hung.
Apparition in bed
Ghostly goings on at the Chateau Frontenac
BessBorough dapper ghost
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Learn more about the ghosts that haunt the Château Frontenac in Quebec City.
Moaning soldiers still heard at Fort George
Some folks who did not believe in ghosts changed their minds after visiting Fort George, where the War of 1812 took many of lives. One of the stamps in Canada Post’s Haunted Canada series depicts a lost soul at the Niagara-on-the-Lake site, which served as the headquarters for the British military.
During the war, it was bombarded and destroyed by American soldiers. Those who tread upon the war-torn ruins are said to hear footsteps, moaning and crying. Some people reported having their hair pulled or being poked by some unseen entity. There are also obvious cold spots throughout the fort.
According to Kyle Upton who wrote Niagara’s Ghosts at Fort George has called the site, “The most haunted place in Canada’s Most Haunted Town.” Upton, by the way, has managed the ghost tours there for quite some time.
“The town of Niagara-on-the-Lake was not only turned into a battlefield during the war but also put to the torch as the Americans retreated back to the States,” he wrote. This town is a hotspot not just for ghosts. It has also been the location of strange lights and UFOs.
Friends of Fort George
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Fort George was “a strategic stronghold during the War of 1812.” Today, this fort is home to many ghosts of the soldiers who died at the site.
Ghost train known as ‘St. Louis Light’
Another stamps in Canada Post’s Haunted Canada series depicts the tale of the “ghostly glowing light” seen in the Saskatchewan River Valley, which goes back nearly 100 years. It is said the conductor of a Canadian National Railway (CNR) was taking a look at the track with his lantern in the 1920’s when a passing train flew by and took off his head.
This local lore did not even end when the CNR removed the tracks going through the area. People in the valley say they still see the light of the St. Louis Ghost Train. It is one of those deeply rooted legends that just won’t die and has even been featured on Unsolved Mysteries.
Some people say the light is that of the ghost train while others claim to have seen the decapitated conductor wandering up and down the tracks with his lantern. Either way, the light is still seen and no one has managed to explain it.
It has been proposed by two high school students that the light is actually caused due to car lights in the area. However, there were no vehicles in the area when this phenomena began.
Legend of St. Louis Ghost Train still going strong in Saskatchewan
Video: The St. Louis Ghost Train
A mysterious “floating light” has been seen above train tracks just north of St. Louis, Saskatchewan. It is believed to be a light on a ghost train.