Rising proud above the ancient aboriginal path that is now Front Street is a Canadian landmark now called the Hockey Hall of Fame. Part of the cultural identity of not only Toronto, but Canada herself, this magnificent architectural beauty showcases the sport dearest our shivering hearts, the sacred game of Hockey. It’s home to all that is great—and a ghost or two perhaps.
Back in the very early 1800’s, the gracious home of Sir James Buchannon Macaulay, Chief Justice of Upper Canada stood at the northwest corner of Front and Yonge. The Macaulay Family held a large portion of land in what is now the downtown area on the west side of Yonge, north a considerable distance from the lake. In the early 1800’s much of this area (dubbed Macaulay Town) was subdivided for increased commercial and residential use. Sir James’ home was sold to the municipality and became the site of the fifth post office in Toronto in 1839.
In 1845, the well established Bank of Montreal purchased the land on the corner of Front and Yonge and demolished the old post office to make room for a new bank. In 1917 the branch was again rebuilt, and now is preserved in its architectural glory by the Hockey Hall of Fame. The building was modified to include additional space and connect with the surrounding buildings and officially became the home of hockey greats in 1993. BMO stopped using the facility as a branch bank in the 1980’s but continued to house some of their computer architecture group in the building.
Those employees had tales to tell. The legend was that a female bank teller, was shot during a hold up at the bank. She appeared to several of the employees, especially near the vault area where she was thought to have died. Sometimes doors would open and close-even lock-by themselves. One employee had a desk full of work destroyed when the ‘ghost’ poured out a cup of coffee.
The ghost may pour coffee but her story doesn’t hold water. No armed robberies of that particular branch was reported in the Star archives from 1894 on, although one theft was committed by a teller in 1921. Prior to 1894 it is unlikely that the tellers in the bank were female, so perhaps that legend can be laid to rest. The other legend, however, is much harder to document or diffuse. Some employees tell of a female teller who killed herself in the third floor washroom after her lover abandoned their affair. Is this ghost, reportedly named Dorothy, the one who walks the halls of the old bank? Could she be the woman reported by a young boy when nobody was near? Is Dorothy the one who scared three employees late one Halloween night when they were alone in the building after hours?
Reports that come in from the former bank employees and Hockey Hall of Fame staff appear to show the incidents happen primarily after 6 pm. She also may not stay in her current home. Reports also come from nearby BCE place, primarily near an elevator area which is very close to the location of the reported suicide. Dorothy may even be responsible for reports from as far away as the basement of the CIBC Commerce Court complex.
It would seem that there’s something going on. Is it Dorothy the jilted teller? Or did Justice Macaulay have a wife that doesn’t rest? Is this a disgruntled post office employee? We may never know. But one thing is certain—the Hockey Hall of Fame is full of legends.