Dan Aykroyd has a familiarity with the supernatural and the unexplained — at least, if you count his tenure as Ray Stantz in beloved movie franchise Ghostbusters.
Aykroyd is paranormal-obsessed for the moment as he’s taking on a narrating role for Hotel Paranormal, the upcoming TV show that follows the terrifying stories of those who claim to have come face-to-face with otherworldly hotel guests.
When it comes to haunted hotels, Aykroyd, 67, says, “When you have thousands of people in a building for more than 50, 60, 100 years, in one building, all those experiences, the residue they’re leaving behind and the wake — we all leave a wake like a boat behind us — allows the past to invade upon the present.”
To help promote the show, the Canadian actor counted down his top 5 haunted hotels in Canada.
The Fairmont Chateau Laurier (Ottawa, Ont.)
The Fairmont Chateau Laurier was commissioned by Charles Melville Hays and was built in the early 1900s. The opening of the hotel in 1912 was delayed when Hays went down with the Titanic. Legend has it that although he never got to see The Fairmont Chateau Laurier open, his spirit haunts the hotel walls.
The Banff Springs Hotel (Banff, Alberta)
The Banff Springs Hotel is over 130 years old and is believed to have residents who checked in but never checked out. The most famous of these stories is that of the ghost bride, which dates back to the late 1920s, when a bride on her wedding day descended the hotel’s marble staircase and slipped and fell to her death. To this day, it is said that a veiled figure has been spotted moving up and down the stairs.
The Fort Garry Hotel (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
The Fort Garry Hotel was built from 1911 to 1913 and is considered a National Historic Site. Many politicians, royals and celebrities have stayed there. Legend has it that, in one particular room, guests are visited by a woman in a white ball gown, believed to have stayed in the room during its grand opening in 1913.
The hotel made national headlines back in 2000 when former Ontario Liberal MP Brenda Chamberlain, a self-proclaimed skeptic of the paranormal, felt a presence and claimed her bed moved during her stay. The ghostly encounter spooked her so much she switched rooms.
Fairmont Palliser Hotel (Calgary, Alberta)
The Fairmont Palliser is yet another hotel that’s more than 100 years old and holds plenty of ghost stories. Eyewitness accounts include people seeing a ghost of a man dressed in a conductor’s uniform, guests being awoken by someone tapping on their arm, and wild parties being reported in hotel rooms that appear to be otherwise empty.
Fairmont Empress Hotel (Victoria, BC)
The Fairmont Empress Hotel, which opened in 1908, is considered one of the most haunted hotels in the world. Guests report seeing the hotel’s architect, Sir Francis Rattenbury, roaming the halls. Afternoon tea has been a tradition since the hotel opened and Dan Aykroyd says, “I’ve heard about a ghost that’s been associated with [Tea at the Empress]. For many years, people have seen a little serving lady go by, she’s a period piece lady, like 1800s or something, and that’s a great old story about the Empress Hotel.”
[This interview has been edited and condensed.]
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