9:08 p.m.: The evening begins with me frightening Ileea, my friend and my companion for this evening of ghoulish searching at U of T, when I tap on one of the glass windows of the Gargoyle’s basement office. She cries out and jumps from her chair at the sound and then lets out a palpable sigh of relief when she realizes it’s just me at the window.
9:28 p.m.: We begin our journey. Since we are not going to be getting into One Spadina Crescent until 11:00 p.m. we will first take our own personal ghost tour through some of U of T’s premiere ghost spots.
9:36 p.m.: We step into Trinity College, which is strangely quiet despite the book sale that was happening just a few minutes ago. We walk through the main hallway and into the Trinity College quad, which is ominously quiet except for a small group gathered in the right-hand corner. We look at the imposing bust of Trinity’s founder, John Strachan. Unwary students studying late at night have reported seeing the ghost of Strachan stalking the grounds of the college. Ileea says of the bust: “I feel like he’s watching me.”
9:40 p.m.: Our next Trinity location is St. Thomas Anglican church, where people have reported seeing a distraught woman who heads into the west-side chapel and disappears into a room where there is no exit. The whole chapel is completely dark except for one small light on the right wall and three red candles. We cautiously walk by the pews wondering if the woman will come to us from the shadows. Ileea bravely enters the west-side chapel and says: “Hello?” while I hang back.
9:51 p.m.: We head out of Trinity College and walk toward Soldiers’ Tower. In the 1930s a worker cleaning the bells allegedly fell to his death. An apparition of a falling man has been seen at the tower. Ileea begins yelling “Jump!” at the tower. We wait but see nothing.
10:02 p.m.: Regis College, formerly the Christie Manor, where Robert Christie’s mistress hanged herself with a bedsheet in her secret prison, is completely closed. We peer in the windows of the baroque building.
10:12 p.m.: We head to University College where we run into a ghost tour. The tour leader is dramatically recalling the tragic story of Ivan Reznikoff and Paul Diabolos. Reznikoff tried to kill fellow stone-mason Diabolos with an axe after he found out that he was having an affair with his betrothed, Susan. Reznikoff came out the worst when he was stabbed by Diabolos, who buried the body in a shaft. We walk up to the axe mark that can still be seen at the Croft Chapter House. We both touch the splintered wood, wondering if Reznikoff’s black-clad form will appear.
10:30-11:40 p.m.: Our tour finishes earlier than expected and our One Spadina guide is detained so there will be a delay to us getting into the building. When we finally come upon One Spadina it is wrapped in the light of a full moon. If H. P. Lovecraft had ever come to the St. George campus this is what he would have written about One Spadina: “Seekers after morbidity will have to look no further in U of T than the building that sits a-top One Spadina Crescent. Its overhanging ivy and grinning gargoyles shew its true character. Its 115-foot spire reaching to the sky, cutting through the pale lanthorn light of the moon, suggests things both terrible & cosmic.”
11:45 p.m.: Our guide for the evening is Helene Goderis of the Newspaper, who quickly hints at things both bizarre and terrible. We enter One Spadina and are instantly hit with its noxious, musty smell. The wooden staircase leading to the second floor is gigantic. I remark glibly that it has the same atmosphere as the Overlook Hotel. Ugly, fluorescent lights illuminate the building, which is half-renovated and half in a state of decay.
12:13 a.m.: We start our tour of One Spadina. It’s oppressively hot throughout the building. We walk up to what we believe is the third floor, but I can’t be sure. One Spadina is like a labyrinth with each layer of its shifting priorities stacked on top of it. It’s alternatively been Knox College, a hospital for influenza patients, the insulin lab for Connaught Laboratories, an eye donation bank, art studios, and now houses the Department of Architecture.
12:15 a.m.: We enter what Helene terms a “meat locker.” She opens a large metallic door and are hit with another pungent and terrible odour. This may have a been a freezer where Connaught Laboratories kept pig pancreases to manufacture insulin. Helene also points out a dead, decaying rat that is above in a wire mesh vent not too far from the meat locker. It looks like it’s been there forever.
12:19 a.m.: We head to a couple of small windows that have iron bars placed over them to prevent access to the roof. This is due to the tragedy that occurred last September when a woman fell to her death from the third floor while trying to jump from one roof to another. They still have not repaired the chicken-wire mesh she fell through.
12:22 a.m.: Helene has us enter a really large, rickety elevator. Ileea and I both find the experience weird as the elevator slowly makes its way down to the basement. However, I am affected the most and become light-headed and dizzy. I am initially relieved when we step out, but then realize that the basement is not much better.
12:30 a.m.: The walls are painted in strange colours (orange, seriously?) and there are plenty of empty rooms, most of which are locked. Helene tests a number of the doors though we can’t find one to open. We eventually enter one of the freezers used for eyes in the eye bank. Ileea expresses her disappointment that the eyes have been moved. A large cockroach scuttles across the floor.
12:33 a.m.: We reach room 24. Apparently this room was frightening, but you can no longer enter it. It had a metal chair with straps and the walls were caving in. It would have been a cool sight.
12:40 a.m.: We enter a completely empty basement room that is used to store art supplies. It’s dank, mouldy, and dark. We enter a room that has a metal staircase that leads inexplicably to nowhere. We find some beakers and photographs of famous past employees at One Spadina including Amelia Earhart.
12:52 a.m.: After taking the stairs up to the second floor (although I can’t be sure) we enter a dark hallway with a strange-looking studio that was the site of Professor David Buller’s murder in 2001. The murder remains unsolved. Shadows play around in the moonlight and we then look at a gutted staircase that leads to nowhere. U of T renovated the space a week after Buller’s murder. We feel as though we are staring into an infinite abyss.
1:00 a.m.: We end up in a dark hallway that looks like it belongs in a horror movie. It’s pitch black except for another light right at the end. Helene suggests I spend the night at One Spadina alone. I’ve seen and heard enough to definitely not want to.
1:15 a.m.: We re-enter the Newspaper office, much to our relief. The rest of the building is so strange and creepy that the Newspaper seems to be the one bastion of normalcy in the place.
2:00 a.m.: We all say our goodbyes and I decide to head back to The Varsity office. I will probably be spending the night there and not at One Spadina Crescent.
2:52 a.m.: The strangest moment of the evening. I lose complete track of time as I walk back to the office and see that it’s almost 3 a.m., however, it doesn’t take that long to get there. I’m probably just tired.
3:30 a.m.: I decide to do another walk around by myself of some of the haunted sites visited earlier. 3 a.m. is usually considered the “witching hour,” at which strange things are supposed to happen. However, instead of the pervasive dread I was expecting at Trinity, Soldiers’ Tower, and University College, everything seems peaceful and tranquil. However, when I am walking through the Sir Dan’s quad on my way back to the Varsity office I think I catch out of the corner of my eye someone walking by in black. I stop and look around a bit, but see no one. I decide I am probably just tired again. It’s time to turn in for the night and I am grateful that it’s not at One Spadina Crescent.