Through the 1800s, Wood Cree and Prairie Blackfoot battled in what is now southside Edmonton, asserting dominance in the
long-standing “grey zone” between the two nations.
John Walter left Fort Edmonton, moved across the river to
the southside and started a ferry going across,
transporting various goods.
Edmonton mines in Old Strathcona – In June of 1907 a brush fire started up the hillside and caught the wooden ladder which was descending into the Strathcona coal mine. The fire killed one man who was on the ladder and the smoke killed 7 other men who were in the mine itself. The mines were located as you drive down Kinsmen Drive going to north side.
In 1919 there was a huge fire
that destroyed part of Strathcona.
The Walterdale Playhouse
The Walterdale Playhouse – built in 1905, was originally Strathcona’s first firehall. Actors have said that they can often hear the sounds of an emergency bell and hear the sounds of horses hoofs clip-clopping along the cement floor like the horses taking their places getting ready to work.
A firemen by the name of Walter, died in this building in 1909 in the second story bunk house which today is the makeup room and dressing room for all the actors. He enjoys watching shows and also hides and moves actors costumes, props and belongings.
Underneath the pavement below ground beside the playhouse, was a jail where people were thrown in for various crimes and over the years, some died in a cell overnight from beatings, choking on vomit, etc.
The Strathcona Hotel
The Strathcona Hotel – One of the oldest wood framed buildings here on the south side, built in 1891. The hotel has a lot of stories of murders and mysteries Back in the early 1980’s a man in room 16 decided pick up female prostitute. They returned to the room and a heated argument began and he strangled the women here in room 16. He didn’t know what to do with the body so for 3 days he stayed in his hotel room with this women’s decomposing body….on the third day he chopped the woman up, placed her body parts into several suit cases, dragged the bags down to the North Saskatchewan river and just threw the bags into the river. He was caught and convicted of this crime. They recovered all of her body except the head.
The Princess Theatre
The Princess Theatre – was built in 1914, and apparently has a woman in white seen walking around the center lobby, up and down the grand staircase and around the projection room. The upper floors were originally rented rooms used by transients, fur traders, new settlers and visitors. (We were hoping to do an investigation in the theatre, but the person who works there that was going to arrange it with the theatre owner will not get back to us. Disappointing.)
The Old Hub Cigar Building
The Old Hub Cigar Building – The old Hub Cigar was built in 1894. In the 1930’s the front section of the building was the shop and the back portion of the building was a billiards room where there was gambling, etc. Out back was a well, you can see a spot in the back alley of a remnant of where it used to be.
The Strathcona town people used water from the wells to drink and the one at Hub Cigar was used for making drinks for the bar and billiards patrons. The drinks began to taste a little off and they figured something was happening with the water. Then one day a horrible smell began to come up from the well, so the owners sent someone down into the well to investigate. It was discovered of course that there was a dead body of a man, a patron of the billiard room, that his dead body was found floating down in the well water. Now why this man was murdered and why his body was place down in the well water is a mystery that still remains unsolved to this day.
The Guilty Martini
(Formerly) The Guilty Martini – Now known as Mix Karaoke Lounge and Meiningful Restaurant at 10338-81 Avenue beside Sense of Serenity, was W.J. Scott and Son horse and buggy manufacturer. They made the wagons on the main floor and the family lived above. When we did our investigation in the building, there was a male spirit called Dapper Dan and 2 other female spirits. They had been involved in a love triangle. Dan used to move liquor bottles and glasses around and freak out the staff. In the staircase that went up to the rooftop, there was a non-human spirit residing there and it made some pretty horrifying sounds on tape.
Old Scona High School
Old Scona High School – Strathcona High School otherwise know as the Old Scona. This building was built in 1908, which makes it one of the oldest active secondary schools in Edmonton, and the University of Alberta was actually housed here on the top floor from 1909 to 1911. During the original construction of this school in 1908 there lived in the area a homeless man. At that time the construction workers were just building this school, actually they had just laid its very cement foundation. After a long day on the job the workers went home for the day without properly securing the work site, only to return the next morning to find the lifeless body of the homeless man lying face down in the cement –DEAD. The workers didn’t know what to do and they panicked. Fearing that they would be blamed for the mans death, so they decide to cover up his untimely death by burying him-entombing him in the cement foundation.
Activity that has happened are classroom doors opening and closing by themselves, lights going off and only themselves. However one of the strangest stories surrounding this historic school seems to happen only in certain rooms where there are old manual typewriter. In the past, these typewriters have been know to being typing pages of random letter and numbers. Some teachers found this experience quite disturbing and have had that removed from the classroom and placed in the basement.
In the mid 1980’s, they had structural problems on the corner of the building where the man fell into the cement and unearthed a skeleton purported to be his.
Edmonton “Pet Cemetery”
In the field adjacent to the Old Scona High School, something is buried under the ground. There are bodies of animals that were awful science experiments perpetrated by a young man who wanted to get into the U of A medical program back in the 1940’s. He was rejected 3 times which made him decide to show them that he could be a surgeon so he started stealing people’s pets and doing horrible medical experiments on them. He lived in the small house that is directly across from Scona and so at night he would creep over and bury his failed experiments until his neighbour next door to him saw him sneaking over to the field in the middle of the night and burying things wrapped in sheets. She reported it to the North West Mounted Police the next day and they did a stake out at the school and caught him. The NWMP decided not to dig the animals up.
The Dominion Hotel Building
The Dominion Hotel Building – It was built in 1903 by Robert McKernan, whose son, John W. McKernan, built the Princess Theatre across the street in 1914. Originally functioning as a hotel with the ground floor containing the lobby, dining facilities and a beer parlour; the hotel business ended with prohibition, when the upper floors were converted to apartments and sleeping rooms. It has had many restaurants over the years.
There was a restaurant named Two Rooms in the building and we had a couple of Ghost Dinners in it and captured tons of paranormal activity on camera while people were trying to eat their dinners.
Duncan Block and Baalim Block
Duncan Block and Baalim Block – In 2003 fire entirely destroyed the historic blocks, housing Albert’s family restaurant, Scales and Tails pet store, Isis Metaphysical Book Store and a one-storey wooden building constructed early in the 20th century. The fire provided a harrowing glimpse of what life was like in Strathcona in the days before an ordinance was passed in 1902 requiring that buildings be constructed using fireproof materials.
It has all been re-built from the ground up, with eating places, spa and retail. There was a hat place on the top floor, and when you went up there you could feel something watching you. The one clerk in the hat store said she experienced lots of little paranormal events that would happen at various times of the day.