Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour

Photo: Remy Scalza

Who knew Vancouver was this spooky?

Over the weekend, I joined the season’s first run of the Haunted Trolley, a Vancouver fixture that takes visitors on a two-hour journey to the city’s goriest and most ghost-infested sites.  And there are plenty of ’em.

We started outside of Canada Place.  The old fashioned trolley was decorated with cobwebs, skulls and severed limbs for the occasion.  With a scream, our hostess boarded – a long dead ghoul with an ashen face who would narrate our tour.

Photo: Remy Scalza

We crossed the Burrard Bridge and motored up to the noble addresses of the city’s Shaughnessy neighborhood.  Here, we glimpsed the palatial home where poor Janet Smith was found shot dead on the morning of June 26, 1924.  Police labeled her death a suicide, but no gun residue was found on her hand.  “I watch CSI.  I know how these things work,” our hostess explained.  “That was no suicide.”

From there, we continued past Vancouver’s most haunted house, on the corner of King Edward Avenue and Cambie Street.   The site of a First Nations burial ground, or maybe an unsolved child murder, the house is so haunted that it has been demolished and rebuilt in an effort to exorcise the ghosts – No luck so far.

Of course, no tour of Vancouver’s haunting grounds would be complete without a visit to Mountain View Cemetery.  The city’s oldest and largest cemetery, Mountain View is home to 145,000 departed souls buried over 106 acres.  The trolley stopped here and we strolled amidst the graves, pausing to pay homage to poor Janet Smith and also spying the grave of Vancouver lifeguard legend Joe Fortes.

Photo: Remy Scalza

But the undisputed highlight of the tour was a stop at the Vancouver Police Museum in East Vancouver.  The museum is the former site of the city coroner’s office.  From 1932-1980, nearly 20,000 autopsies were performed here.  We climbed to the second floor and entered the old morgue and autopsy room, still outfitted with gurneys, gruesome knives and saws and a silver bank of refrigerated compartments that housed the bodies.

Photo: Remy Scalza

This part of the tour might not be for everyone.  In fact, last season 17 people fainted in the autopsy room.  Staff at the police museum go into graphic detail about the procedures that took place here – everything from the best saw for opening up a skull to the proper way to handle the intestines.   Knowing that thousands of dead bodies were dissected in this very room makes the experience that much more unsettling.

Photo: Remy ScalzaThe Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour, which is really a must for fans of Vancouver’s dark side, runs Wednesday to Sunday until Nov. 1.  There are two trips nightly, at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.  The cost of the tour is $35 for adults.  It is not appropriate for children under 12.


Photo: Remy Scalza

Anyone else take the Haunted Trolley Tour?  What was the highlight for you?

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