Jarvis Street is the pinnacle of Victorian Toronto’s high society. Where families of the city’s rich escaped their busy lives among the blue-collared yet still remain in the city they help build. Jarvis lined with strong monuments, unique stately mansions which are never copied.
The Keg Restaurant bought one of these houses in 1976. If from outside of Canada, The Keg is a steakhouse known for repurposing old buildings, including the mansion and an old factory in St. Catharines.
This house was built in 1867 for Arthur McMaster. This last name should be familiar locals as this is the same family to found a university at the head of Spadina in Toronto Chinatown, then moving to Hamilton for expansion. Arthur was nephew to founder William McMaster.
In 1880, Hart Massey bought the house as a stylish way to return home. Hart was from Toronto before moving to Cleveland, Ohio, USA for a time.
Hart’s daughter Lillian would eventually take over the house and run family interests. Out of the ordinary during this time, which didn’t matter because she demanded respect and got it. Lillian then renamed the house Euclid Hall after their old street in Cleveland.
The Massey’s are (arguably) the most prominent family in Toronto. Hart an industrialist who help found new buildings for the University of Toronto, and of course Massey Hall. Grandson’s Vincent and Raymond also famous in very opposite ways. Vincent became the Governor General of Canada in 1952 and Raymond was an actor.
Raymond Massey was known for many great roles in Hollywood movies, and even got the Oscar nod in 1940 for playing Abe Lincoln in “Abe Lincoln in Illinois”. Americans were outraged a Canadian was allowed to play Lincoln, but were silenced by Massey’s great performance. A fellow once said, “Raymond wouldn’t be happy with his Lincoln impersonation until he gets assassinated”.
Euclid Hall (Keg Mansion) was given to the Victoria College in 1915 as the first home of radio station CFRB (now Newstalk 1010), then an art gallery and a restaurant before The Keg.
Lillian was the only daughter of Hart. Educated at the ahead-of-its-time Wesleyan Woman’s College in Hamilton (where the Royal Connaught is today). She died in 1915, only 6 years after her husband.
So beloved by her staff it’s rumoured a maid took the death of her mistress a bit too hard. After learning of Lillian’s death, the woman walked to oval vestibule above the main staircase. She would fashion a noose and later be found swinging above the foyer.
Most believe her death was out of grief. Others have said it was related to a secret affair with a Massey man. The maid felt the secret would be revealed after Lillian’s death.
Witnesses include Keg staff locking up at night. Walking to secure the front door and seeing movement from the stairs. Looking over, they’d catch a quick glance of the woman hanging from the oval vestibule before she’s gone. Only seen hanging above by the stairs and never anywhere else in the mansion.
Footsteps quickly running down the stairs in an empty nighttime house. Little feet on excited kids start from the second floor and end before turning the corner in sight of the witness.
Upstairs was the children’s quarters during Massey’s time.
One active spirit of a boy has been seen. Noticed running up and down the main staircase as if playing. Has been seen from the stairs by diners, stopped and looking curiously in. It lends to the belief he’s a conscious ghost and not just residual energy.
A presence, to our knowledge has never been seen inside the woman’s washroom located on the second floor. This ghost, whoever it may be, is a resident spirit seen often, including by a woman dining inside restaurant
She went upstairs for the restroom and upon entering immediately felt there was someone else. Having to do more than normal (we’ll leave it at that), she looked under stall doors and confirmed she was alone.
While in the stall, the door locked tightly, she heard a strange noise. Looking up, she watched as the lock started turning. Silent, unsure of what to do, she let the door swing open by itself.
She told us it felt as if somebody was peeking in through the opening. Disturbed, she finished up and quickly got out of the room.
Ghost respects wine - -
Another woman referred simply as KLR told us about an experience in the woman’s washroom.
After dinner, she ran to the washroom while her husband waiting on the first floor. Walked into the room before realizing she brought the bottle of wine she purchased earlier, still inside its plastic bag.
KLR carefully hung the bag on the back of the stall door. Was doing her business when plastic rustled from above. Looked up to see the bag pushed out from the door, the loop in mid-air as she looked down and closed her eyes bracing for the crash.
It never happened. Opening her eyes, the bag was sitting on the floor by KLR’s feet. Inside, the wine bottle was fine.
“While at the Keg Mansion on a Friday evening, my husband and I encountered two different spirits.
“We arrived at about 5:45 pm for our first visit to the mansion. As soon as I entered a feeling of excitement mixed with anxiety, my heart fluttered in my chest. Maybe I was really excited because I knew the place was haunted, and was so happy to finally visit.
“My husband and I were alone in the India room. I soon felt a light coldness leading to goose-bumps on my arm. After our waitress took the orders, I needed to use the ladies room upstairs. Nothing happened (unfortunately), just continued anxiety.
“At our table the coldness and goose bumps returned, continuing through our meal. It escalated to a light wispy touch on my fingers, centered near my engagement ring. I thought maybe a fly, looked down to see nothing.
“I moved my hand off the table, and the feeling stopped. Back on the table and it returned. I told my husband, who was surprised but said he felt nothing odd. Later on I was once again felt the touch, but this time on my neck.
“Then a flash across my mind of a woman. She was young, blonde hair with a wide face and blue eyes. She wore her hair swept up and wore a light colored blouse with a high neck, and a long light colored skirt.
“In the flash, she was standing behind me, as if shy around my husband.
“All during our evening the gentle, shy presence remained near me, except one moment. I went back to the woman’s washroom a second time, and again she was gone.
“Maybe my husband wasn’t the only one she feared.”
The Secret Tunnel
Like many Victorian houses of the time, the Keg Mansion has a secret tunnel buried underneath. Like Tuckett’s Tunnel connecting George to his factory, the Massey tunnel connected to the Wellesley Hospital building.
Hart used it to secretly bring his son in for treatment. Some believe the son talked about in this legend was Frederick Victor, who died when only 14. Especially tragic due to the death of his eldest son Charles only six years earlier.
Hart’s honoured them with two city monuments. Massey Hall for Charles, and the Fred Victor Mission for Frederick.
The Children on the Stairs by Laura Dee
“I went upstairs to wait in the bar for a table to open up. At the top I saw a dark haired boy playing on the stair. Strange because I knew kids are not allowed in there at night.
“Walked passed him towards the bar, looking back again to see the boy was gone.
“There again in 2014, I went up to the second floor bar again with a friend. Talking, we both heard it at the same time… the sound of kids running down the stairs.
“We looked over without a word to see nobody at all on the stairs.”
The Maid by Mia T
“This was my first time inside the Keg Mansion. What an amazing place! I had a wonderful dinner with my fiancé.
“I knew about the woman in the washroom and kids on the stairs. Even knew about the hanging maid. We took an impromptu tour after dinner and ended up at the second floor ladies room.
“I was in there alone, but it felt like someone was with me the entire time.
“I came out and looked to the stairs. A woman dressed in a dark, beautiful old fashion dress looked at me. Assumed she was a Keg worker, maybe someone made to look old fashion. Sounds weird now, but made sense to me that night. I even said "Hi" to her when walking past and down the stairs.
“Felt weird about it, so I asked the host. He said it was only four male servers that night, no waitresses and definitely no one in an old fashion dress.”
Have any personal ghost experiences here?
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