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Venture out into Vancouver’s most haunted around VCC

Posted on October 30, 2023

terra cotta building


Immerse yourself into Vancouver's rich history and culture in the Downtown area on your next study break.

If you’re looking to get in the mood for some spooky vibes ahead of Halloween, take a self-guided walking tour and check out these top five haunted places around the VCC Downtown campus. 


The Dominion Building
119 W Pender St, Vancouver BC (2 min walk from VCC Downtown)

Located just steps across from the VCC Downtown campus and Victory Square Park, the Dominion building stands out for its triangular and terra cotta character.

A tragic tale surrounds its architect, John S. Helyer, who died on the grand opening night in 1910. According to urban legend, Helyer either jumped out of the building or slipped down a flight of stairs. Others believe it was no accident. To this day, his presence is said to have been felt between the seventh and eighth floors where the sound of his footsteps or that of rustling paper could be heard. Some have seen an apparition of the architect himself on occasion.


Sam Kee building, Chinatown
8 W Pender St, Vancouver BC (6 min walk from VCC)

Measuring 4’11 (1.50 m) in length on ground level, the Sam Kee Building is known as the narrowest commercial building in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Its owner Sam Kee originally purchased a standard-sized plot of land in the early 1900s, but lost a sizeable chunk when the City of Vancouver decided to widen Pender Street in 1912, leaving him with only a narrow strip that many believed was impossible to use.

Locals and tourists who visit this attraction in Chinatown report feeling a firm push from no one in particular.


The Old Spaghetti Factory
53 Water St, Vancouver BC (9 min walk from VCC Downtown)

As one of the most talked around town, the family-friendly Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown is haunted by not one, but four resident ghosts.

The popular restaurant has amassed its share of vintage antiques over the years since the 1970s. The largest of these artifacts was an original trolley from the BC Electric Railway Company in the 20th century, which is currently fitted with tables so you can enjoy a fun dining experience within the eatery. Some guests who have eaten in the car have reported feeling a cold air brushing against them or seeing a uniformed tram conductor checking for tickets.

A more mischievous spirit dwells in the women’s washrooms. Women describe the ghost as a short red haired man that can be seen from behind them in the mirror when washing their hands before disappearing. Others claim they had trouble unlocking their cubicles from within the stall.

Another one involves that of a young boy who was seen running through the restaurant by one of the staff members. The waitress caught him hiding underneath a table and lifted the tablecloth. But what stared back at her was a child with hollow eye sockets and a wide open mouth stretched into a silent scream. That was the last night she worked at the restaurant.

More recently, a fourth spirit was reported as a young girl holding onto a balloon near the front window tables. She appears to be lost and looking for her mother. When staff members try to assist her, she suddenly vanishes into thin air.


Waterfront station
601 W Cordova St, Vancouver BC (10 min walk from VCC)

As the main terminus for countless commuters, the grand and historic Waterfront station has over 100 years worth of stories shared by travellers and security guards alike. It was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1914 to house a restaurant, a dance hall, and lodging for travellers.

Of the many stories concerning this heritage building, one is that of a woman in a 1920s flapper dress, dancing alone to the sound of Roaring 20s jazz music without any radio on.

Other night shift workers have seen the ghosts of three elderly ladies sitting on a bench in the main hall, as if waiting for a train that never arrives.

Outside on the tracks is said to be haunted by the ghost of railman Hub Clark. On a rainy night in 1928, he met his unfortunate demise when he slipped on the wet tracks and knocked himself unconscious. A passing train ran over him, decapitating the rail worker. Since then, the spirit of a headless brakeman has been seen roaming the tracks, with a glowing lantern in hand on rainy nights.


Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 W Georgia St, Vancouver BC (13 min walk from VCC)

One of Vancouver’s most glamorous ghosts resides in the Hotel Vancouver. The Lady in Red is said to be the spirit of a socialite named Jennie Pearl Cox, who was a regular hotel guest in the 1940s.

The story goes that as she was going to a social event one night in 1944, she died in a car accident just outside the hotel. Her spirit has since remained on the first and fourteenth floors of the hotel, where some have spotted her gliding through closed elevator doors.

Staff at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver have embraced her presence and named a cocktail after the friendly ghost.

What other stories have you heard of? Experience the heart of the city while learning something new. Register now for 2023-24 programs and courses from VCC Continuing Studies