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Canadian Folklore: The Algonquin Resort

Today we will be taking a look at another story from the east coast of Canada. This time we are headed to New Brunswick. The Algonquin Resort is located in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick.

 

The Algonquin Resort has been open for over a century, and just by looking at it, it screams haunted. Built in the Tudor Revival style the hotel is dramatic and imposing—perfect for containing a legend within. When it was built in 1889 it was one of a string of elegant hotels popping up around the country capitalizing on the booming economy and prime coastal location in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick. “...an incomparable resting-place and retreat from the cares of business and the heat and dust and bustle of the city.” Canadian Pacific Railway promotional brochure, 1902
Nothing horrific happened at the Algonquin (although there were some tragedies). A fire in 1914 almost destroyed the entirety of the original wooden structure but somehow the blaze spared the painter and kitchen wings, and the now iconic tower where mysterious lights are seen flashing, the lone fatality from the 1914 fire was a bellman. The figure of a ghostly woman in a white dress also makes an appearance in the tower's window from time to time. Most of the ghosts that wander the hotel’s hallways were not murdered or unhappy. Instead, they enjoyed the hotel so much that they wanted to remain there forever. One of the most famous of the Algonquin’s ghosts is the bellboy who shows people to their rooms and tells them about the property, only to evaporate before he can accept his tip. Guests are encouraged to leave a small gratuity for him on the bell desk so he can collect it the next time he appears. Ironically, the only surviving piece from that fire, currently in storage after renovations, was the hotel’s bell desk. A night watchman can be heard making his rounds, keeping the hotel safe even in the afterlife. People know it’s him by the sound of his footsteps pacing and jangling of his keys. There is also an apparition of a senior staff woman setting and rearranging tables in the dining room.
While the ghosts of staff may stay out of an old-fashioned sense of moral obligation to their job, the stories of guests are darker. “When guests claim to ‘never want to leave’, we take them seriously,” reads a line in the Algonquin’s history. There is also a story of a child who chased a ball out of the 3rd-floor window and can now be seen and heard eternally playing in the halls. The ghostly repertoire of the hotel is extensive with disturbances reported in rooms 308 and 373, objects temporarily disappearing from the 4th floor, doorknobs that turn by themselves on the 2nd floor, and staff receiving phone calls from deadlines and empty rooms.
A phantom bride who is said to live in room 473 can be heard weeping and many have speculated the cause. “She was a young lady who came here in the early 1900s and was going to get married at a local church in town,” recounts Cullen Johnson, a guest services agent at The Algonquin since 2017. “She was stood up at the altar, so spent the entirety of what was supposed to be the best day of her life crying alone in her hotel room—Room 473.” As one peers out the window today from this prominent perch, which occupies the near centre of the hotel’s top floor, with the quaint town of Saint Andrews and the water beyond, there’s a rooftop garden two stories down. But more than a century ago there was nothing to separate one from the solid roadway below. Thus, Room 473 might provide sufficient height for a lethal recourse to her woes, the beleaguered bride surmised. “Some time that evening she jumped from the fourth floor in her wedding dress, and did not survive,” Johnson says. “Many think she still haunts the hotel. We have a few ways of knowing that she’s still around, the biggest being that you often hear her crying late at night, or even screaming on occasion, even when nobody is staying in that room. We also have a manifestation of a puddle of tears that reoccurs in 473. I actually did a ghost tour last week and a woman told me that she’d been married here last year, and the morning of her wedding they discovered a puddle in the middle of the room. Afterward, she heard about the story of the bride. ‘I think she was keeping an eye out for me on my wedding day,’ the guest told me. “Sometimes we have to put the room out of order to wait for it to clear up,” Johnson notes. “But there never seems to be any water damage or ceiling damage. And it’s on the fourth floor, which is an odd place for something like that to occur. But I think the bride also travels downward sometimes. We’ve had calls from guests in Rooms 373 and 273 in the middle of the night saying, ‘I swear I just saw a flash of light above my head.’” Guests have also claimed sightings of an illuminated woman in white in The Algonquin’s rooftop tower, although the tower is off limits, even to staff.
While most hotels tend not to advertise their ghoulish past, The Algonquin embraces it. In fact, there are ghost tours at 8 p.m. each night, free for guests. And some fodder for discussion is fairly fresh.

There are probably many more stories from this historic hotel but these are just the ones that I found in most of the stories that I researched. Below you will find The Algonquin Resort Story, this is right from the resort website.

The Algonquin Resort Story
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Timeline


1883

Boston-owned St. Andrew’s Land Co. gets to work building the hotel.

1889

The Algonquin opens its doors to guests. The cost of a room ranged between $3 and $5 per day.

1894

The Algonquin Golf Course opens. 1903 Canadian Pacific Railway take over management of the hotel.

1907 to 1913

The Algonquin expands. 178 more rooms and 60 additional bathrooms were added.

1914 to 1915

Fire closes the hotel for a year, until June 1915.

The resort re-opens after being rebuilt featuring the now familiar Tudor-style exterior and red roof. For the first time, all of the resort’s rooms featured telephone and electricity – the cost of a room at the new and improved resort ranged between $4 and $7 per day.

1916

The golf course was lengthened to 18 holes.

World War I closes the hotel until 1919.

1939 to 1945

The hotel closes during WW2.

1958

The last train drops off guests to the Algonquin after CPR discontinues rail service to St Andrews.

1970 to 1974

CPR sells hotels to local interests, who, in turn, sell to the New Brunswick government.

1983

The Algonquin Resort hosts Prince Charles and Princess Diana during their 1983 visit to Canada.

1991

Convention Centre and roof garden added, and the Algonquin is hailed as Canada’s Resort of the Year.

1997

The holiday season is celebrated for the first time at the Resort as the 1997-98 season marked the first time the Algonquin remained open all year round.

1998

St. Andrews was designated a National Historic Site, assuring the preservation of the historical splendor and integrity of the townscape.

2001

The Spa at The Algonquin opens.

2012 to 2014

New Castle Hotels and Resorts and Southwest Properties purchase the hotel. An extensive restoration is unveiled to fanfare in 2014.

2016 to 2017

Renowned golf course architect Rod Whitman leads a generational repositioning of the golf course.

 

References


 

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