Top 7 Toronto myths and urban legends

News Aug 12, 2014 City Centre Mirror

Toronto is home to its share of myths and urban legends, from aliens to sea monsters to hauntings. Here are seven of the most well-known:

1. Cabbagetown’s Underground Alien Base

Rumour has it that an area along Parliament Street is home to an underground alien base. Various accounts suggest magnetic effects lead to a large number of accidents in the area, and a 1970s newspaper report tells of a man who claimed to encounter a strange being in a small tunnel in the area while looking for his cat. According to the report, the furry, three-foot tall humanoid being warned the man to “get out” before darting further underground. The story of the tunnels has never been confirmed, though the rumours of magnetic effects leading to accidents has been debunked.

2. Lake Ontario’s Own Nessie

Multiple stories have emerged of a giant sea serpent-like creature that swims the waters of Lake Ontario. Sightings date back centuries, from the Seneca First Nations tribe’s account of a giant serpent that could fly. Later accounts have occurred around Lake Ontario, though they have been wildly inconsistent. In the 1880s, a few witnesses claimed to have seen a 50-foot long blue-grey serpent basking in the lake near Fort York before swimming off into the depths. As with the Loch Ness Monster, this has never been confirmed or denied.

3. The Haunted Don Jail

There are multiple stories regarding the haunting of the venerable jail, which was the site of a few prisoner hangings and other deaths. One suggests that prisoners at the jail heard the sound of the punching bag being struck by an unseen force in 2005. Another speaks of the ghostly apparition of an angry woman in the jail’s main rotunda, purportedly belonging to a female prisoner who hanged herself in the 1890s.

4. Tunnel from Fort York to the Wheat Sheaf

Rumour has it that soldiers at Fort York were able to duck out in secret to wet their whistles via an underground tunnel leading directly to the Wheat Sheaf Tavern at King and Bathurst streets. Given the logistics and timing – Fort York was abandoned in favour of New Fort York in 1841, eight years before the Wheat Sheaf opened – it seems highly unlikely that this tunnel was ever a source of booze for the servicemen.

5. The Ghost of Old Finch Road

Stories of the ghost of a murdered girl haunting a bridge spanning Morningside Road have endured for decades. According to some, a young girl was murdered there years ago and if you sing Happy Birthday at the site, you can hear the girl scream or cry. Graffiti in the area sometimes alludes to the legend, with “Happy Birthday” scrawled in the area.

6. Lake Ontario’s Underwater UFO Base

This one strikes close to home following recent alleged sightings of a UFO over Toronto. According to urban legend, there is a secret UFO base under the lake, with multiple people reporting seeing strange lights over the lake, including occasional tales of the lights plunging into – or emerging from – the water. Skeptics of this urban legend point to development in the area (lights from buildings, phone towers and the like) and boats in the water as possible sources of the lights.

7. Leaping Lawyer of Bay Street

In 1993, Bay Street lawyer Garry Hoy performed what had become a personal tradition, to tragic consequences. Hoy, a lawyer with Holden, Day, Wilson, made a point of throwing himself against the windows of the TD Centre to prove their tensile strength to onlookers. Unfortunately, while trying to prove it to a group of articling students, the window popped out of its frame, sending Hoy plummeting 24 storeys to his death. Unlike most urban legends, this one is unequivocally known to be true.

Top 7 Toronto myths and urban legends

News Aug 12, 2014 City Centre Mirror

Toronto is home to its share of myths and urban legends, from aliens to sea monsters to hauntings. Here are seven of the most well-known:

1. Cabbagetown’s Underground Alien Base

Rumour has it that an area along Parliament Street is home to an underground alien base. Various accounts suggest magnetic effects lead to a large number of accidents in the area, and a 1970s newspaper report tells of a man who claimed to encounter a strange being in a small tunnel in the area while looking for his cat. According to the report, the furry, three-foot tall humanoid being warned the man to “get out” before darting further underground. The story of the tunnels has never been confirmed, though the rumours of magnetic effects leading to accidents has been debunked.

2. Lake Ontario’s Own Nessie

Multiple stories have emerged of a giant sea serpent-like creature that swims the waters of Lake Ontario. Sightings date back centuries, from the Seneca First Nations tribe’s account of a giant serpent that could fly. Later accounts have occurred around Lake Ontario, though they have been wildly inconsistent. In the 1880s, a few witnesses claimed to have seen a 50-foot long blue-grey serpent basking in the lake near Fort York before swimming off into the depths. As with the Loch Ness Monster, this has never been confirmed or denied.

3. The Haunted Don Jail

There are multiple stories regarding the haunting of the venerable jail, which was the site of a few prisoner hangings and other deaths. One suggests that prisoners at the jail heard the sound of the punching bag being struck by an unseen force in 2005. Another speaks of the ghostly apparition of an angry woman in the jail’s main rotunda, purportedly belonging to a female prisoner who hanged herself in the 1890s.

4. Tunnel from Fort York to the Wheat Sheaf

Rumour has it that soldiers at Fort York were able to duck out in secret to wet their whistles via an underground tunnel leading directly to the Wheat Sheaf Tavern at King and Bathurst streets. Given the logistics and timing – Fort York was abandoned in favour of New Fort York in 1841, eight years before the Wheat Sheaf opened – it seems highly unlikely that this tunnel was ever a source of booze for the servicemen.

5. The Ghost of Old Finch Road

Stories of the ghost of a murdered girl haunting a bridge spanning Morningside Road have endured for decades. According to some, a young girl was murdered there years ago and if you sing Happy Birthday at the site, you can hear the girl scream or cry. Graffiti in the area sometimes alludes to the legend, with “Happy Birthday” scrawled in the area.

6. Lake Ontario’s Underwater UFO Base

This one strikes close to home following recent alleged sightings of a UFO over Toronto. According to urban legend, there is a secret UFO base under the lake, with multiple people reporting seeing strange lights over the lake, including occasional tales of the lights plunging into – or emerging from – the water. Skeptics of this urban legend point to development in the area (lights from buildings, phone towers and the like) and boats in the water as possible sources of the lights.

7. Leaping Lawyer of Bay Street

In 1993, Bay Street lawyer Garry Hoy performed what had become a personal tradition, to tragic consequences. Hoy, a lawyer with Holden, Day, Wilson, made a point of throwing himself against the windows of the TD Centre to prove their tensile strength to onlookers. Unfortunately, while trying to prove it to a group of articling students, the window popped out of its frame, sending Hoy plummeting 24 storeys to his death. Unlike most urban legends, this one is unequivocally known to be true.

Top 7 Toronto myths and urban legends

News Aug 12, 2014 City Centre Mirror

Toronto is home to its share of myths and urban legends, from aliens to sea monsters to hauntings. Here are seven of the most well-known:

1. Cabbagetown’s Underground Alien Base

Rumour has it that an area along Parliament Street is home to an underground alien base. Various accounts suggest magnetic effects lead to a large number of accidents in the area, and a 1970s newspaper report tells of a man who claimed to encounter a strange being in a small tunnel in the area while looking for his cat. According to the report, the furry, three-foot tall humanoid being warned the man to “get out” before darting further underground. The story of the tunnels has never been confirmed, though the rumours of magnetic effects leading to accidents has been debunked.

2. Lake Ontario’s Own Nessie

Multiple stories have emerged of a giant sea serpent-like creature that swims the waters of Lake Ontario. Sightings date back centuries, from the Seneca First Nations tribe’s account of a giant serpent that could fly. Later accounts have occurred around Lake Ontario, though they have been wildly inconsistent. In the 1880s, a few witnesses claimed to have seen a 50-foot long blue-grey serpent basking in the lake near Fort York before swimming off into the depths. As with the Loch Ness Monster, this has never been confirmed or denied.

3. The Haunted Don Jail

There are multiple stories regarding the haunting of the venerable jail, which was the site of a few prisoner hangings and other deaths. One suggests that prisoners at the jail heard the sound of the punching bag being struck by an unseen force in 2005. Another speaks of the ghostly apparition of an angry woman in the jail’s main rotunda, purportedly belonging to a female prisoner who hanged herself in the 1890s.

4. Tunnel from Fort York to the Wheat Sheaf

Rumour has it that soldiers at Fort York were able to duck out in secret to wet their whistles via an underground tunnel leading directly to the Wheat Sheaf Tavern at King and Bathurst streets. Given the logistics and timing – Fort York was abandoned in favour of New Fort York in 1841, eight years before the Wheat Sheaf opened – it seems highly unlikely that this tunnel was ever a source of booze for the servicemen.

5. The Ghost of Old Finch Road

Stories of the ghost of a murdered girl haunting a bridge spanning Morningside Road have endured for decades. According to some, a young girl was murdered there years ago and if you sing Happy Birthday at the site, you can hear the girl scream or cry. Graffiti in the area sometimes alludes to the legend, with “Happy Birthday” scrawled in the area.

6. Lake Ontario’s Underwater UFO Base

This one strikes close to home following recent alleged sightings of a UFO over Toronto. According to urban legend, there is a secret UFO base under the lake, with multiple people reporting seeing strange lights over the lake, including occasional tales of the lights plunging into – or emerging from – the water. Skeptics of this urban legend point to development in the area (lights from buildings, phone towers and the like) and boats in the water as possible sources of the lights.

7. Leaping Lawyer of Bay Street

In 1993, Bay Street lawyer Garry Hoy performed what had become a personal tradition, to tragic consequences. Hoy, a lawyer with Holden, Day, Wilson, made a point of throwing himself against the windows of the TD Centre to prove their tensile strength to onlookers. Unfortunately, while trying to prove it to a group of articling students, the window popped out of its frame, sending Hoy plummeting 24 storeys to his death. Unlike most urban legends, this one is unequivocally known to be true.