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Edmonton’s Real Haunted House

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald Haunted Ghost Stories

By Patrick Puff

In the spirit of Halloween, many Edmontonians will be heading out to various haunted houses to experience the thrill of the dark and unknown; some on purpose and some by accident.

Edmonton Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in 1915
The Fairmont in 1915. (Peel’s Prairie Provinces, via the University of Alberta Libraries)

There are many places in Edmonton that have been rumoured to house frequent paranormal activity such as the Charles Camsell Hospital and CFB Griesbach. These buildings are abandoned, but the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is quite the opposite.

Geographically, the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is almost exactly in the dead center of Edmonton and is well known for the mysterious and spooky tales. So much so that guests will travel great distances just for the opportunity to experience these events.

Throughout the years the hotel has had many guests including major celebrities and even Queen Elizabeth II. Some of these guests have returned for a second visit without booking a room.

Edmonton's Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in 1938.
The Fairmont in 1938. (Peel’s Prairie Provinces, via the University of Alberta Libraries)

For years guests have been reporting strange and unexplainable anomalies to the Fairmont staff who are no strangers to these year-round occurrences. The hotel has a permanent document dedicated to the frequent incidents that staff handles on a regular basis. Fairmont employee and concierge Nella Mirante says the hotel’s most prominent event is late-night phone calls from the 6th floor.

“We receive these phone calls about once a week,” said Mirante.

The evening staff will receive a room service call from the 6th floor from a vacant guest room. The night audit team will then head up to the room to make sure everything is alright to find an empty room. They return to the front desk and often receive a second call from the same room.

Nella also shared one of her more personal stories of her experiences on the 7th floor at the Fairmont Gold front desk. She mentioned the closet door beside her would open and be followed immediately by the elevator door opening to an empty elevator. This began to bother her so much so that she spoke with the Fairmont’s engineering team to have the elevator door close with a latch. This made it only possible to open the door with force, however, after a few days the closet door would open followed again by the elevator.

“This used to freak me out, but after a month of this, I would just say ‘bye’,” Mirante said.

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