Is Downtown North Bay Haunted? Find Out if You Dare…

Have you ever wondered what stories some historic buildings would tell if walls could talk? Well, there are some places, like Discovery North Bay Museum, where, while the walls may not be talking, the area’s history is told through strange noises, sightings, and other unexplained events.

The following is just a sampling of the haunting stories you’ll hear about on one of Discover North Bay’s Haunted Downtown Hikes, which run every Friday in October, starting at 6 pm. Be sure to reserve your place on an upcoming hike if you dare to learn more.

Haunted Artifacts

One November morning in 1893, somewhere between 12 and 15 men died aboard the John B. Fraser, a logging steam ship, when the ship caught fire and sank near Goose Island on Lake Nipissing. Nearly 80 years later, the charred shipwreck was found at the bottom of Lake Nipissing by a local diving club.

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Eventually, a small collection of artifacts was put on display at Discovery North Bay Museum. The artifacts included broken ceramics, logger’s boots, a hook, a broad axe, stamping hammer, and a log with a JR Booth stamp seared into its surface.

Since then, strange things near the display case have been happening on a regular basis leading some to believe that the spirits of the loggers have followed with the artifacts. Across from the display is a wall that holds text panels that have been known to fall off of the wall without any obvious explanation. There is also a model train that runs overhead throughout the museum that will sometimes stop dead in its tracks right as it approaches the glass display. Sightings of strange, unexplained lights have also been reported on Lake Nipissing, near where the remains of the ship rest at the bottom of the lake.

The Everlasting Stain

The building that now houses the Discovery North Bay Museum was built in 1903 as a Canadian Pacific Railway Station. During World War II, the station would have been the scene of many tearful goodbyes and happy reunions as the station would have been a hub for soldiers in the region who were leaving or returning from duty.

One story tells of a soldier who returned to the station after active duty overseas. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the soldier entered the men’s washroom and ended his own life. The incident left a bloodstain on the floor, and no matter how many times they tried, the maintenance workers weren’t able to make the stain totally disappear. This was confirmed in a letter sent to the museum by the daughter of one of the maintenance workers who had been tasked to clean up the mess but couldn’t manage to erase the mark on the floor.

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In 2004, the station was renovated in preparation for the museum’s opening. The former men’s washroom had since been removed. A volunteer had been hard at work painting in the area near the former washroom, when he briefly left the paint can unattended. When he returned, the paint can had mysteriously been tipped over, leaving a paint stain in the same shape as the old stain. Much effort was put into removing the paint from the floor with paint remover; however, even with a fresh coat of paint covering the entire museum floor, you can still see the shape of the original stain.

The Lady in White and Mr. Bloom

The next two accounts of sightings take place in the former main entrance to the original station.

One consists of multiple sightings of a woman in white standing at the top of the stairs, looking down at the main entry doors. Many believe she is forever waiting for a loved one who travelled through the station on his way to war or to work in a logging camp or mine, never to return.

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The next story is that of Mr. Bloom, a man who was in such a hurry to get to the platform outside, that he ran through the doors and fell onto the tracks, which ended with Mr. Bloom being hit by an oncoming train. Visitors to this day have reported seeing the spectre of Mr. Bloom rushing past them and vanishing through the double doors leading outside.

An Eerie Staff Encounter

As I was leaving the museum after collecting information for this story, I stopped at the Gift Shop desk to ask the staff if they had ever had any personal experiences with strange things happening in the Museum. Amy, a museum employee, shared her story of what happened one night, after all the guests and other staff members had left.

She had turned most of the lights off to signify that the museum was closed, but stayed late to do some research about her grandfather. She told me that it was a common occurrence to hear the taps randomly turn on in the washroom, but this time she heard the distinct squeak of the toilet handle and the resulting flush, although she was sure she was alone in the building…

Beyond the Museum

While Discovery North Bay Museum seems to be a hot spot for strange and spooky activity, there are many other locations throughout the downtown area with stories of their own. Some include what is now the Nutty Chocolatier and Gulliver’s Bookstore, with stories that originated in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. There are also some tales to be told at the North Bay Courthouse, where hangings used to take place years ago when the original courthouse was still standing.

So, if you’re brave enough to take a guided tour of North Bay’s haunted downtown when night falls, be sure to take part in a Haunted Hike this October. It’s up to you whether or not you dare to discover which tales may be true.

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