Sketches of Parliament

Article 13 / 13 , Vol 42 No. 4 (Winter)

Sketches of Parliament

War Hero Charles Rutherford

David Bogart, a communications officer with the Legislative Assembly’s parliamentary protocol office, often leads tours of the building. In a conversation with journalists from the Toronto Star he revealed that he once had a medium on tour who sensed a spirit named Charles. Further research led Bogart to conclude that the spirit haunting the legislature was none other than Charles Rutherford.

Born in Colbourne, Ontario, in 1892, Rutherford was a member of the 23rd Battalion during the First World War. He earned multiple military medals during his service, including the Victoria Cross for bravery. Known for his sharp wit and ability to lead assault parties, he was also the last surviving Canadian soldier to receive the medal of valour for the Great War. Some have qualified him as a “regimental soldier,” and others as a scowling man in a red military uniform. He is rumored to haunt the main staircase.

An Unknown Number of Female Asylum Patients

Way back in 1849, King’s College became the University of Toronto, and the building standing where the Legislature now sits was converted into a Lunatic Asylum for women called the Auxiliary Female Asylum. Even though the Asylum was completely razed to make way for the new building that would become the Legislative Assembly, some of the Asylum was used to construct the foundation of Queen’s Park. Many visitors have reported sightings of ghostly female figures – sometimes alone and sometimes in small groups of up to four. One of them is known to be malevolent; residing in the fourth-floor attic, she has been described as “frenetic and disturbed,” and those most in touch with their psychic tendencies have reportedly heard her screams.

Speaker Richard Scott

At the end of the first-floor east hallway, visitors might stumble upon the ghost of Richard Scott, an Assembly Speaker who died in 1913. His role as Speaker lasted only a few weeks in December of 1871, before he accepted another offer to be Commissioner of Crown Lands within the provincial cabinet. It is therefore unknown as to why he would haunt the Legislative Assembly buildings; but

These spirits in these sightings are just a few of many reported in the building’s long history of hauntings. However, sightings appear to have decreased over the years and there have been very few recent sightings of ghosts on record. As time passes and these stories and the lives of the people thought to be involved are forgotten, memories of the Queen’s Park ghosts may become as ephemeral as the catching a glimpse of something strange out of the corner of your eye.

Sources: park/