Reader Update: This was sent in by one of our readers...
In the early 80s I was a student at the Ontario College of Art and spent many hours in the Stewart building -- both as a student and working weekends on security to earn extra cash. I also worked at the other campus so I was used to the job of walking through empty halls and was not generally bothered by it.
A common feeling among those of us who hung around the Stewart building was that the basement was a distinctly creepy place. The cafeteria was situated in the basement, as was the holography studio, so it wasn't a place you could easily avoid. On weekends, when the college was virtually empty and we security folk were obliged to make the rounds of the building, I would avoid walking through the basement hallway if at all possible. There are staircases on both ends of the floor so I'd generally survey the basement from one end, go up to the next floor, walk down the hall of the upper floor and then go down a floor so I could survey the basement from the other end -- thus avoid walking through the basement itself. I subsequently found myself in a situation that confirmed the basement's reputation as a creepy place.
I was hanging out with a friend of mine who was doing some holography in the basement studio (in what was once a swimming pool -- apparently at some point the Stewart Building had also been a fitness club). As I was watching him work, I felt a hand firmly stroke my arm. I turned around abruptly thinking it was someone else in the studio, but nothing was there.
Afterwards I mentioned it to my friend who said others had described similar occurrences in that room. The rumor was that someone had drowned in the pool back in the days of the fitness club. There were also rumors of someone having died in the building while it was a police station. (Editors Note: See The Above Report)
Whatever the cause, or source, even with other people present in the studio, I didn't like being there.
Update: August 2002
Now that College du Grand Lacs has moved out of the Stewart Building, you might think that the resident ghost might have left too but this (and one other) report was sent in to us recently. It looks like the Stewart Building's entity has not moved with either OCA or College des Grands Lacs...
My company (a school) is moving into the Stewart Building in approximately three weeks and myself, along with other staff are currently in the process of preparing the building for classes. We are planning to begin full blown classes in October.
On my third visit, I began to notice things immediately when I was by myself and then with others. First of all, I have never had any type of ghost experience, so I was not exactly prepared for this kind of thing when it began.
I was on the third floor surveying computer network cable alone when I was getting ready to leave to go to the second floor (main) when at the other end of the hall I heard an extremely odd noise. Now, having been around air conditioning ducts, and different types of piping many times before, I could easily have distinguished a familiar sound when I heard one, but this was extremely different. It could almost be described as a buzzing or static type of noise, and it became increasingly louder for a period of five to ten seconds. Now, you have to envision that this building can only be described as being built with solid stone and it has extremely thick concrete walls. This is the type of building that is dead silent normally and it has upgraded wiring and plumbing. It ended when I took a couple of steps into the hallway, and I had this feeling like maybe I should leave the floor for the time being.
When I had arrived on the second (main) floor I had told a couple of people what I had encountered and we all kind of chuckled. But then we returned to third floor.
We decided after about an hour to hold a meeting on the third floor to discuss office and classroom placement. Five of us proceeded up there into one of the prospective classrooms and began to discuss the plans at hand.
Well, ten minutes into the meeting I became officially creeped out. A light knocking at the door caught the attention of all five of us. Without a second thought, one of us got up to answer the door, and there was no one there.
I looked at everyone and said something to the effect of "SEE! I told you I heard something on this floor earlier!", well all we could do is kind of laugh, but we all knew there was something going on.
The Stewart Building (built 1894) has served as (originally) the Toronto Athletic Club with Toronto's first indoor swimming pool, police headquarters, The Ontario College of Arts, College du Grand Lacs and now home to other offices and this new school. The only "resident" we don't have a report from is the original health spa - athletic club.
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