Please note that the study of ghosts and hauntings is mostly a look into witness testimony and folklore at the outset. These two things can be subjective and are truly in the realm of the individual that passes them along to us.
We at Torontoghosts see ourselves as documentarians with witness experiences first, then folklore, history, and scientific observation of possible causation if possible after. It is on this note that we do warn readers that they should understand that because personal experiences and folkloric tales can be interpreted differently from person to person, they note that we do our best to be fair and honest and let you know what we hear or find out.
What you read here may not be "iron clad facts" and people can interpret sites, areas, experiences, and stories differently... and although we do our best to post rebuttals (when possible and when stated with courtesy to other witnesses,) as well as corrections, what you see posted as "from a witness" is from that witness... and may be imperfect or something you do not agree with. Please respect that this is their interpretation of things and again, we're only posting the data in terms of documenting their account to us.
Also, please note that in this particular story, (Old Finch Road,) we have always admitted (right here on the first page below,) that the stories and accounts are not based on historical data that we could confirm... and many of the experiences reported do have possible normal (natural or man-made) causation... and we cannot stress that although some may feel they've had experiences, and some may venture to this site to try and have their own experiences, the stories and reports are not solid from an evidential standpoint and that the area is (for the most part) private property and those who trespass or venture onto property without permission from the owner(s) can face police action up to and including criminal charges.
Thank you for reading...
The Torontoghosts Administrators
This is another spot that seems to move around with every story we get on it.
The stories from Old Finch Road do seem to centre around the church at the top of the hill just west of the ravine/Toronto Zoo. The church here is certainly old (the stones in the cemetery date back to the early 19th century,) and it is one of the older settlements around York (Toronto).
The stories from this area range from the sublime to the downright silly. Here are the most often reported stories we've gotten from "Old Finch Road".
A girl was murdered (usually said to be on or near a bridge on Old Finch near Morningside,) and her ghost now haunts the spot. The most common element that we've heard of to do with this story is that the murder happened on the girls birthday and if you sing "Happy Birthday" at the bridge you will either hear her scream or you will hear her crying. This story has shades of both Ontario's own Screaming Tunnel in Niagara and the urban myth of Bloody Mary. To be honest and sad to say, over the last 50 years, there have been many crimes committed around this area so there may be a ring of truth to a possible ghost but I don't think "Singing Happy Birthday to Candy" (Candy is said to be the name of the "ghost",) results in more than a new "Scarborough Urban Legend". (We've received several e-mails from people who tried this tale with no affect.) So again, is it haunted? Possibly... but we think the "birthday legend" is pushing the truth a bit. There certainly are "human" precedents (unfortunate incidents,) that it certainly could be but other than orb photos and the legends, we don't have more to go on.
This legend has expanded to include a local piece of graffiti. On a rock is painted in large letters, "Happy Birthday" and then a name. Most often, the name is said to be "Sue" or "Susie". The legend says that "Susie" was killed here and her murderer painted this as a final indignity to the girl. We got in touch with one of our reference contacts who did a little homework for us. This person was unable to find a "Sue", "Suzanne", "Susie", "Suzie", "Stewart" or anything possibly matching as for a name of someone murdered in the area. In fact, there have (over the last 60 years,) only been two homicides in the area and none of the names match the "Happy Birthday" message. I was also told that if a "murderer" had left such a message, the city would, after the investigation, get rid of the offending message to spare the feelings of the victim's family. Still, it's an enduring legends and more than a few people have claimed (VERY strongly,) it's truthfulness... Who knows for sure...
Weird noises (moans and groans,) are regularly heard at in the cemetery by the church on Old Finch. We are not alone at all in saying that cemeteries are RARELY haunted and those that are reported as being haunted tend to be haunted by a grounds keeper or regular visitor to the site who passed on. "Ghosts tend to haunt where they lived or where they died, not where they are buried." When checking this out, the people should have noticed a couple of things. The church is on the East side of the ravine and very near the Toronto Zoo and, more specifically, the peacock pens. Peacocks, if you've never heard them, "scream" when agitated and make a horrendous noise. They could (more than likely,) be one cause of the noises. The next note is that there is a parking lot at the bottom of the ravine for those wishing to enjoy the nature trail. Last time we were there, there were three cars parked there (mid-October 2000) of which, to be honest, two of the three cars were "rocking" and had the windows steamed up. Now, without being TOO graphic, this may explain some of the moans and groans but who knows.
On a set of train tracks that cross Old Finch, if you park the car and shut off the engine, shortly, your car will be pushed to "safety" off the tracks and the hand prints of small children will be all over your car. That's because these children were killed in a school bus/train accident on that stretch of road. Now THIS ONE is a VERY old urban legend that has almost no basis on reality. In the 1970's there was a tragic bus accident in which three children were killed by a freight train North of Toronto (outside Markham,) and since that happened, the urban legend has been bounced around and has settled on this site. This one, we can assure everyone, is bogus.
This is yet another site that has come into legend and is a popular "haunt" for teenaged drinking. It seems where booze bottles and teens hang out, a ghost story is not long to follow.
Now, again, I don't want to belittle the site. As an old settlement and a seen of some very nasty accidents and incidents, it is QUITE possible that there is "something" out there but we have never received the same story twice from different sources and, as stated, the location of phenomena seems to move in varying degrees as to it's location, it is difficult to track down a single ghost story that revolves around a well documented historical account*.
* - This is not a prerequisite for "ghostly activity" but it does make researching and even storytelling a lot easier.
Another warning is we are dealing with the road itself, the church and the bridges and landmarks NOT the homes and other buildings on the road. We have heard VERY interesting stories about homes and businesses along Old Finch and those ones are still being looked into... granted, so are the one's on and around Old Finch.
Is Old Finch Road haunted? It certainly could and (in many ways,) should be but the stories, reports and our own first hand experience tell us that it's very easy to get "spooked" and let your imagination run wild. Add to that, the few young people with the old "let's scare my friends" mentality and the stories and legends grow and grow.
We will keep our eyes open and keep gently looking into reports of Old Finch. If we do uncover any interesting history or any sightings or phenomena of our own, we will certainly update this page.
One of our readers shares the following:
"I have read your description of the old finch ghost story and I have some information for you.First I would like to let you know that I have lived on Old finch for years and my family has been residing there for generations.The story of the girl murdered there on her birthday is familiar but there are a few things I would like to point out . Her name was Kim Tracey not Candy and she was decapitated after being murdered and her head was used to write Happy Birthday Kim Tracey on the west side stone wall. To this day it still reads Happy Birthday Kim Tracey. On numerous occasions I have witnessed parks and rec cleaning the wall but for some strange reason it keeps appearing."
About the church at the top of the hill, you have the wrong church. Its actually on Bear rd. not the one on old finch near the zoo. The church on bear rd is actually much much older than the church on old finch."We received the following in April 2011 in response to the previous update:Just wanted to comment on the latest update for ‘Old Finch’. I live fairly close to that location and I can assure you there is no church on Beare Road (not Bear Road as in the article) and there never was. If the author of that report is to be believed then he would know that, as his family ‘lived there for generations’ and I assume he grew up in the area. The only church is the Hillside Methodist church, circa 1877. The story of a murderer writing with the murdered girls head also stretches credibility.
Our family has seen the large boulder that used to sit north of the Bailey bridge on Sewells Road, I believe. It was spray painted in red with ‘Happy Birthday Sue’ on it or ‘R.I.P. Sue’ at one point. It took some effort as it was quite large and at least 4 feet high and it was removed by, I assume, the City at least four years ago. I guess they got tired of removing the gruesome graffiti. I don’t know what wall ‘he’ is talking about. I’ll have to look again when I go that route, but there may be a stone railway bridge over Sewells.The stone support abutment may be the ‘wall’ he is referring to with all the graffiti. There was no murder of a girl by that name, so the removal was not for the sake of respect to her family.There were farms in the area but all have been expropriated for Rouge Park. It is pretty sparsely populated with only a few homes east of the Hillside Methodist church and a few homes clustered where Old Finch dead ends at the Rouge Valley. It continues on the other side where Beare Road ends.There is no rail line that crosses Old Finch either. Where the rail line passes north of Old Finch it is on elevated stone bridges that are quite old, making the school lbus crash impossible the way it’s told. The rail line does have level crossings on Reesor and Beare Roads, both again well north of Finch.While I’m not on a mission to correct inaccuracies, this one hit ‘close to home’ and was so obviously sensationalized. Like your report concluded, the whole Finch Road stories seem to be the product of overactive teenage imaginations.