I wanted to pass on something, possibly a ghost, that I kept seeing On Keele and Vine. There used to be an apartment building on the above corner, and in the late 80s, it blew up or burned down, I forget. I used to work at the Canadian Tire that was located across the street, which has been relocated to the stockyards, and I worked the evening shift (3:30 - 11:30) back in the 90s. At the same time a bud of mine pumped gas at the attached gas station, and I used to sneak out constantly to have a smokes with him at the end of the driveway, on Keele Street. Our thanks to the witness for this report. I actually know that area fairly well as I usually have reason to be in that neighbourhood about once a month. I know what the witness means about the Junction it has a rather interesting atmosphere, nice, warm, but in ways sinister at the same time. To be honest I love visiting the Junction for that very reason! I am always hoping to get more reports from there. Perhaps someone will be able to add to the report above or know who this "person" might be ghost or not.
Usually in the 10 o'clock hour we used to see this character, just standing on the corner of Vine. This guy was dressed in a dark jacket, dark pants, a dark hat (Russian style, I don't know what they're called), and carrying a white shopping bag. This guy would just stand there without moving facing the burnt-out apartment building. The shell of the building stood at the location for a few years after the incident, and was finally bulldozed, I think, in the late 90s. We would see this guy fairly frequently and he was always dressed the same, and always stood there motionless staring at the building. We never really thought much of it, considering there are a lot of people who hang around the neighborhood (considering the half-way house down the street beside the post office), and we both just figured the guy was a drunk or something. I don't want to seem mean or something, but anyone who knows the Junction, or Parkdale, knows that there are some people in both neighborhoods who walk to the beat of a different drum, to put it mildly.
It wasn't until I got married, in 1998, that my new sister-in-law pointed out that there could have been something paranormal about this guy, when I was at a family function. The more I thought about it, the more my sister made sense. The guy always appeared in the same getup, never moved, and in hindsight, seemed to be out of place, even for the neighborhood. When I recently talked to my buddy, who worked at that gas station until about 2001, he said that every now and then, he would see the same guy standing there, staring at the now vacant lot. I am only assuming that it is a guy, because I never saw a face, because he/she was facing away from me. For the last couple of months, I have been getting my gas at the station my friend used to work at in hopes of seeing this man again? So far nothing. "
Update January 2008
Sent in by one of our readers:
I used to work at Mcbride Cycle, around the corner from the old Crappy tire, at the same time as the other guy, however I worked from 2:00pm to 8:00 pm. Occasionally I would get my dinner from the local sub shop, located at the corner of Keele and Dundas (the north west corner), then I would drive north on Keele, because I used to live at Weston road and Eglington. There is at least 20 times I can remember seeing this guy, standing on the corner of Vine and Keele, looking at the burnt out building. The building in question was torched by some maniac who lived there, I remember the torch was hailed as a hero for pulling another tenant to safety, then was charged with arson! My former employer said, from time to time, that the building was some sort of rooming house, or even a half way house or group home, I remember this because a coworker mentioned that she was looking for an apartment and suggested that place, then we were all informed about the building. Every time I saw the guy standing on the corner, it was a rather infrequent thing, I always took notice of him as I drove by, and he always seemed out of place. I never once thought of him being a ghost, until I read that story. I don't know if there were any fatalities in the building fire, if there were, and my former employer was telling the truth about the building being a half way house or a group home, we could possibly identify the guy on the corner. Damn, I think I might have a sub for dinner tomorrow night, and see if I might see the guy again. The same reader wrote:
I went on the Toronto Star archives to do some research on the fire, mainly because it stirred my interest, and found the following. The fire/explosion occurred on the 16th of April 1988, I had thought it was later, but confirmed it with another source (I guess it seems that the time I wasted or worked at Mcbride was longer than I care to admit!!). I think the reason I think of it happening later is because, the torch was put in jail in the summer of 1990. The cause of the fire was definitely arson, and the loser, who set the blaze, was distraught from the breakup of a relationship, so he decided to torch his girlfriend's apartment/rooming building. There was one fatality, that of a 23 year old woman. So it clears up a few things, the building was a lower income building, not a group home or half way house. Also, the ghost or whomever appearance on the corner, was probably not a result of the building's destruction. I noticed (from working in economically depressed areas) that the homeless seem to stay in a particular area, and rarely migrate, and if the 'ghost' was a homeless person, how come I, and the other witness, only seemed to see him at night around the same time, and he never panhandled or asked for a smoke? If nothing else, more things to ponder........
Our thanks to our reader for sharing these experiences, and information on the area with us.