Saturday, December 1, 2012

Smithville Cemetery (Saskatoon)

Most people only know about the Woodlawn cemetery in Saskatoon. Others also know about the Nutana heritage cemetery. But most do not know about the other heritage cemetery. The Smithville or Summerdale Cemetery is located west of the city. This heritage graveyard is small in size but dates back to 1901 - maybe earlier. On occasion it is still used but it does not see much activity these days unless you are talking paranormal.

I spent an evening photographing in this cemetery for a  project and I have to say it was uncomfortable. There are very few cemeteries in this province that make me uncomfortable but this one did. After talking to some people I found out there are stories attached to it. People have seen lights, heard noises, some voices and some have seen unexplained mists.

So why not take a walk around a this cemetery and see for yourself.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

General Hospital (Regina)

There are many rumours about hauntings that don't make sense. Like people thinking morgues are haunted. Why would they be haunted? No one died in a morgue so why would their spirit follow there body and then stay in a morgue? Doesn't make sense. However, a hospital being haunted - where people come to seek help and some never leave. That makes sense to me.

The Regina General hospital is no exception to the hospitals being haunted in this province. Built in 1900 it was not until 1907 that this hospital was known as the General Hospital. The south wing was added in 1912, a nursing home added in 1915 and the north wing was added in 1926 to accommodate more people. After the province bought the hospital in 1974 the hospital underwent a major additions and renovations due to the need for increased capacity this hospital became what it is today. You can still see the original parts of the hospital surrounded by its many additions.

The hospital has many stories attached to it and I am sure there are many more that people do not express. The stories that have been told are of a nurse running past people very fast that she looks like a blur, other people have seen an older nurse around the washrooms and some have just seen spirits of people in the hospital.

There have also been sitings of patients walking the halls and stairs. These spirits are most commonly seen on the fifth floor of the hospital. All the stories state that people see the spirits and they disappear just as quickly as they appeared.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Abandoned Mines (Estevan Area)

The Estevan area is in the southeast corner of the province. It is known for its industrious coal mining and oil industry. Today there are two giant mines that mine use what is called strip mining. They have stripped most of the landscape to mine coal and created many new hills from the mining.

Years ago it was a very different scene. Mining for coal was done in underground coal mines and they were all over the place. People could start up there own coal mines and there were different styles of them. They were everywhere, around Estevan, Beinfait, Taylorton, Roche Percee and surrounding areas. Eventually they were covered by the new strip mines, others collapsed and in the past few years they have filled in the rest because teenagers have gotten into the mines and died from the gases inside. There were very dangerous places and that is why you will not find them around anymore.

Along with most history, especially in areas that date back before Saskatchewan was a province there are usually hauntings. The old underground mines are no different around Estevan. They have been rumored to have many hauntings.

People have said that they see the local natives in traditional garments dancing in the area. Others have seen spirits of fur traders from wandering the area. There have also been people who have claimed to see the coal miners coming out of the hills where the underground mines were, others drinking and having a good time and some even fighting.

This area has a rich history of the native, RCMP camps, fur traders and of course miners. It is no surprise that there are so many types of apparitions in the area.

Monday, October 1, 2012

1800 College Ave House (Regina)

1800 College Ave was originally owned by a judge and family, then home to various other groups, a coffee house and now a computer repair clinic. This beautiful unique home located in Regina is built mostly of stone and is considered a heritage location.

As with most heritage locations there are speculations about the site behind haunted. Although the haunting's did not start coming to the surface until the building was turned into a coffee shop. Was this because spirits are believed to become more active when a building is being renovate? Was there to much change going on in the building that awoke some spirits?

There have been many suspicions about why the location is haunted, such as the nanny committing suicide, a woman drowning in the cistern and even a death in a fire. All of these have been debunked by families who have lived in the home.

So what are these spirits?

People have said to hear footsteps on the stairs, others hear voices and some smell baking coming from upstairs where there is no kitchen.  There have also been reports of people seeing an apparition on the main floor.

Why not bring your computer down to this location and see for yourself if there is something else living in this house.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Warman Senior Center

The Senior Drop In Center located in Warman Saskatchewan is anything but boring. This location is not only a senior drop in center but also a historic site. This location is actually an old railway station that has been saved and converted but still holds original architecture of the old station. Here is some history...

"The heritage value of the Warman Senior Drop-In Centre lies in its association with the development of the railway and the establishment of Warman. The community, located approximately 25 kilometres north of Saskatoon, exists due to its strategic location at the intersection of the north-south Canadian Pacific Railway and the east-west Canadian Northern Railway (CNR) line established in 1904 (which became part of Canadian National Railway (CNR) after 1919). The station was used by CNR until 1942 when it was moved from its original location near the intersection of the two rail lines.

The heritage value of the building also lies in its architecture. The building is an example of CNR’s standard plan for a third class railway station. When the CNR developed its rail transportation network across Canada at the turn of the century it developed a set of architectural plans for first, second and third class stations. Third class stations were very common throughout the prairies, acting as both freight depots and passenger stations. The upper half-storey of the building was designed specifically as a living space for the station agents and their families. This station is slightly different from most third class stations since a major addition to the storage section was built shortly after the structure was constructed.

The heritage significance of the Warman Senior Drop-In Centre also lies in the building’s adaptive re-use as a community centre. Since the station was closed in the 1980s, the community of Warman moved the building to its current location, renovated the interior and restored the exterior so that it could be used as a senior citizens' drop-in centre.

Town of Warman Bylaw No. 2004-10.

Not only is this the most unique drop in center in the province but it is hiding some secrets from its past. This location is well known as being haunted. When you enter this building you will immediately feel uncomfortable, a sense of being watched. It is an uncomfortable place and it is obvious that you are not alone in the building. Not only is there activity inside but people have seen activity from just walking by this location. There are claims of green lights coming through the windows, a white circle of light on the upper level window and shadows of people inside when you know it is empty. This location has lots of history and it is clear that not every residents or past worker of this location has left. But don't take my word for it, why not drop in?


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Jewish Cemetery

I have decided to make a post about a very unique historic cemetery in the province. It is a Jewish Cemetery and what makes it unique is the "grave houses." The cemetery features many old graves dating back to 1902 and has about 60 graves. Some of these graves have grave houses which are rare for Saskatchewan Jewish cemeteries.  This style of graves reflect an Eastern European traditional influence.

When I first found this cemetery I was intrigued at first by the houses. I had never seen anything like it and could not believe how many there were and different styles. Some were even updated to modern metal siding. The Jewish families have all moved away in the last 100 years leaving this cemetery the only remains of their settlement.

So why grave houses? Well some believe that they were built to keep animals and livestock away, keep the rain off, provide shade, comfort to the dead spirit and providing a home for the spirit of the dead are just some theories. Whatever the case may be they are not common in Saskatchewan .

The cemetery also features a shed that has information and artifacts from the graveyard. The grave houses are each individually unique and most headstones have Hebrew on them. This is by far the most interesting graveyard I have been to in the province.

If this graveyard is haunted, how do the spirits feel about these houses?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Old Wives Lake

Old wives lake seemed like any other lake in the province until I inquired about the name. Hearing the tale about the lake and how it got its name I did some research to find out if it was true and to my surprise, it is an accurate historic tale.

So if you don't know the tale let me share with you.....

A group of Cree were camping on the edge of lake and were discovered by a party of Blackfoot. The Cree who were with families could not get to safety before the Blackfoot returned with a larger party. Since they figured the Blackfoot would return in the morning to attack with a larger group the elderly Cree women offered to stay behind and be decoys as the younger people escaped during the night.

Sure enough the Blackfoot attacked in the morning and finding that only the elderly woman remained they killed the "Old Wives."  It is said today that the spirits of the women inhabit Old Wives Lake and you will here there laughter that mocks the Blackfoot.

I have drive past this lake many time but have not had the opportunity to stop by. I plan to visit in the future to see for myself if I can hear the laughter and sounds of the "old wives."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nutana Cemetery (Saskatoon)

Recently in the news they have been talking about Nutana, an area of Saskatoon and how the ground has been shifting. This is one of the oldest areas in Saskatoon which in turn means it has the oldest cemetery. A heritage cemetery that was started in 1903. 

The reason I find this cemetery interesting is its history. This cemetery is located on the edge of the river. Of course being on the edge of the river means that the ground shifts and the riverbank can collapse because of water erosion. Not only has this river bank collapsed 3 times but the coffins were floating down the river. Yes, it's true. I have spoken to people that remember the most recent collapse in 1984. The bank collapsed and the graves closest to the river fell into the river. Coffins floated down the river that day. With all this ground shifting again, could this happen again?

When something like this happens where there is so much disturbance to the graves, it makes me think that this would upset the spirits if any remained?

More about the Nutana Heritage Cemetery:

The City of Saskatoon began its life as a Temperance Colony, and was first settled in 1883.  The first recorded death occurred in 1884 when Robert Clark, who caught pneumonia while fighting a prairie fire, died. He was buried near the South Saskatchewan River. As the colony grew, this site became the colony's "unofficial" cemetery.
In 1888, a committee was formed to maintain the cemetery, and in 1889, "Nutana Cemetery" was officially recognized by the Provincial Government. In 1903, the Nutana Cemetery Company was formed, which took over the cemetery in 1905.
The City of Saskatoon took over the cemetery in 1910, after which the only burials that were allowed were those of people who already owned a plot, and members of the Nutana Cemetery Company and their relatives. The last burial took place in 1948.
While the Nutana Cemetery is in a beautiful, peaceful location overlooking the river, it has been subject to water erosion caused by the river. The hillside collapsed in 1904, 1969 and 1984, causing damage to many of the graves. Some had to be moved to other locations in the cemetery, or to Woodlawn Cemetery, which was established in 1906 on the west side of Saskatoon.
There were 162 known burials in the Nutana Cemetery between 1884 and 1948, however, only 144 of the graves have been positively identified due to inaccurate early records and grave markers that have disappeared. Of the 41 burials that are known to have taken place between 1889 and 1903, only 29 are registered in the cemetery records. Information regarding the remaining burials comes from resources such as the Saskatoon Phoenix.
It is obvious just how difficult life on the prairies was for the pioneers. Of the 144 identified graves at the Nutana Cemetery, at least 51 are babies, and 14 are children under 16 years of age.