By Trinity Student Hannah Lank, on behalf of the U of T History Society
Trinity College is one of the oldest colleges at U of T, and so it follows that in addition to its formal history, it also has a spooky past, rife with the supernatural. Trinity College is one of the stops on the University of Toronto History Society’s annual Haunted Campus Ghost Tours, and we are excited to share a few of the stories that comprise the haunted history of Trinity College!
Trinity College was founded by Bishop Johannes Strachan in 1851, and was originally located on Toronto’s Queen Street West. Although Bishop Strachan died in 1867, he still returns to the College he founded. There have been many sightings of his ghost roaming the halls of Trinity to this day. It is said that he comes back each year to “check-in” around the anniversary of his death, which was on November 1, 1867.
The Trinity College Chapel is arguably one of the most beautiful parts of Trinity College, but it is also one of the most haunted. The most unnerving supernatural sightings have occurred here. Legend goes that one night, a student was playing the organ that is located at the top of the Chapel, but was distracted by some movement occurring at the front of the Chapel. Ignoring it and continuing to play, they again saw someone – or something – crawling on the floor up by the altar. They could also make out of a figure peeking up at them from behind a pew, then ducking back when the organ player turned to look. The student was disturbed enough to call campus police, who came to investigate but found no sign of any living person in or around the Chapel.
Within the Chapel, the Lady Chapel sees the most paranormal activity. The mysterious, infamous Gray Lady has appeared to many people in this spot. She has a greyish complexion and is said to sit in the pews or even wait outside the Chapel doors, as if waiting for service. She tends to vanish randomly. She is sometimes seen walking from the pew to the Lady Chapel and then she disappears.
We don’t want to paint too scary of a picture of Trinity College, but here’s one final spooky story. The steam tunnels were built to connect the main Trinity building to St. Hilda’s College on Devonshire so that students don’t have to walk outside in the rain or snow. The tunnels are now out of use, but they have frightened students for many years. Legend tells of a man that lives behind a mismatched section of brick in the tunnel. He escapes long enough to snatch up students walking down the path. For each soul he captures, a brick is said to be loosened, one at a time. Soon he will have enough to be freed from his confinement and at liberty to haunt the rest of the College.
Trinity is certainly beautiful, but its history makes it a ghostly haven for those supernatural elements that are at their most active at night and near Halloween-time. If you’re around the College this time of year, keep your eyes open – you never know what you may see!
Categories: Discover Trinity