I know what you’re thinking – it’s Thursday and it’s supposed to be time for doors. The problem is that I’m not feeling like doors today. I’m feeling ghosts.
It started with a boat.
If you’ve ever driven from Niagara Falls to Toronto along the QEW, chances are you’ve seen what appears to be an ancient shipwreck on the shore of Lake Ontario.
The book Top 150 Unusual Things to See in Ontario calls it the Ghost Ship of Jordan Station.
I’ve passed this wreck dozens of times over the years, however when I finally decided to stop and investigate it, I wish I had picked a better day. Preferably a day that didn’t involve face-freezing winds. In hindsight, the gray gloomy sky and brown vegetation added to the ghost-like quality of this scene.
Built in 1914 in Quebec, the boat served first as a ferry and then a cargo ship. It was refurbished in the early 1990s as a floating restaurant, and later towed to Ontario to reopen as a restaurant here.
Whether it was because of a lack of funds, failure to obtain appropriate permits, or a combination of the two, the boat was simply abandoned. A few years later it was gutted by fire … and still remains, a rusting relic largely ignored by the thousands of cars that pass by every day.
Then the book led me to another ghost, also related to water, but this time the ghost is a canal.
In the community of Newmarket, north of Toronto, along the very modest East Holland River, are the skeletal remains of a canal system that was built in the early 1900s, but was never completed. Although these concrete skeletons are massive in size, there is a good chance that you might not even notice the 3 abandoned locks.
There is land and vegetation growing where there should have been water.
It turns out that the engineers had been correct when they suggested that the water level might be insufficient to support a canal system, but the hubris – and greed – of politicians and businessmen had pushed the project forward.
The project was finally abandoned in 1916 – incomplete, without ever being finished.
Since things go better in threes, the last ghost is a bike.
Unfortunately, bike fatalities seem to be a too frequent occurrence in Toronto, especially during the summer months. Ghost bikes then pop up as memorials to the tragedy.
Although I find all roadside memorials a bit disturbing … the ghost bikes even more so. Maybe it’s because I’m a cyclist, my husband and sons are cyclists, and I’m acutely aware of the dangers we face every time we brave the roads.
Whether or not you believe in the spirit world, there is no denying that there are ghosts among us. Once you start paying attention, you will find them everywhere in plain sight and you’ll wonder why it is you never really ‘saw’ them until now.