Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Toronto's Keg Steak House

2005, From Wikipedia
Happy Canada Day!  Today is July 1st, and that means a great big "Happy Birthday" to our friends in the north.  On July 1, 1867 Canada became a new federation with its own constitution by signing the Constitution Act--formerly known as the British North America Act.  And, what better way to celebrate than with a Canadian ghost story?

Today's tale comes from one of the most beautiful restaurants I think I have ever seen.  I thought Columbus' Elevator was an elegant and unique dining experience, but it doesn't hold a candle to Toronto's Keg Steakhouse.

The Keg Steakhouse franchise is known for housing its restaurants in really unique locations, and the old Euclid Hall in Toronto was a wonderful choice.  Construction on the mansion began in 1867, the same year that Canada gained its independence!  It was built for Arthur McMaster, the nephew of the prominent William McMaster, founder of McMaster University.

In 1880, Hart Massey and his family moved into the home after living for several years in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Massey's only daughter, Lillian, named the home, Euclid Hall, after the street they lived on in Cleveland. Lillian was a very educated young woman, but when her husband died in 1909, it was said that her health steadily declined until her own death in 1915.  That year, the home was given over to Victoria College.  Over the years since, it served as the first home to the radio station, CFRBC, now Newstalk 10, an art gallery, and a restaurant.  It was purchased in 1976 for use as The Keg Steakhouse.

According to one website, the hauntings of the former mansion-turned restaurant began as early as the 1950s.  There are actually many, many ghost stories and sightings associated with The Keg, but none so prevalent as the ghost of the maid.

Legend has it that Lillian's death in 1915 so grieved one of her maids that the young woman tied a noose to the oval vestibule above the main staircase and hung herself.  While grief is the main reason given for the suicide, other theories claim that the maid was having an affair with a member of the Massey family, was possibly pregnant, and was afraid that Lillian's death would lead to her secret being discovered.  Whatever the cause, her body was found the other members of the staff and to this day, the spectral image of a maid is seen hanging from a noose in that area. However, somewhat contradictory to these legends, Lillian wasn't even living in Canada when she died, according to her biography.

Other sightings include a young boy seen going up the staircase to the second floor who likes to stop and peer at diners.  This young boy may or may not be the same ghost believed to be a son of Hart Massey, who, is seen angrily running around and who is to blame for an armchair found in a window frame.  Apparently, Hart scolded a young son for playing on the Sabbath, and moving a heavy armchair into the window frame was his childish way of retaliating!  Children are heard playing in the upstairs area where the children once played and slept when the mansion was a private residence, and a small child can be heard crying for his mother.

Lillian herself may also still be haunting the home. She has been seen on the second floor, but she's also credited with being the entity that haunts the ladies' restroom on the second floor.  She isn't SEEN in this location, but has scared several patrons by giving them the feeling that someone was watching them, flushing toilets, and rattling the handle on the stall doors.  In fact, one woman claimed that after feeling the eerie presence, she was shocked to actually see the latch on the stall door come undone and the door fly open!

Ghost Walks and Dark History Tours
Why I Love Toronto

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