The Haunted Fairmont Algonquin
As today’s ghostly instalment, I picked a place you can visit while still bringing along those less enthusiastic about meeting visitors from the afterlife; the very lovely Fairmont Algonquin Hotel in Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick. The 250 room hotel, first established by the St Andrew Land Company in 1883, had it’s grand opening in 1889 when word got out among the upper classes about the restorative saltwater baths for which the Fairmont Algonquin is now famous. Distinguished guests from across Europe and the Americas booked suites so that they could experience the reputed healing properties of submerging themselves in tubs of Passamaquoddy Bay water. After being purchased in 1903 by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a spa destination to pair with the luxury trains, the original wooden hotel structure was destroyed by fire but quickly rebuilt and once again open by 1914.
The Fairmont Algonquin Hotel stayed property of the CPR until 1970, when it was sold to consortium of local residents who then leased the hotel to the Province of New Brunswick. Since 1984, the province has become the sole owner of the grand, Tudor-style resort. The setting is one that befits a hotel of The Fairmont Algonquin’s stature; the nearby Bay of Fundy offers guests the veiw of a shoreline carved by the world’s highest tides, the award-winning Algonquin Golf Course and Academy – designed by Thomas McBroom – is available for recreation, and of course there are the therapeutic saltwater baths. The hotel even offers an Canine Ambassador, Smudge, who you can book if walking a dog is your preferred form of exercise.
But we aren’t here to talk about ocean vistas or rent-able pups; what about the ghosts? There are two, male and female, and both seem to have been employees at some time in the hotel’s past. The lady, an older woman believed to be the spirit of an older woman who died on the premises, is said to appear almost nightly, rearranging the silverware in a second floor dining room. No one, to my knowledge, has spoken with the lady or interrupted her as she neatens the table settings but the same can’t be said for the other ghost-in-residence.
Unlike his female counterpart, this fellow keeps a restricted schedule. Winter guests have been known to contact the front desk, full of praise for the fine, older gentleman who escorted them to their rooms. The uniformed bellhop amuses newcomers with chit-chat about local attractions, the hotel amenities and even the history of Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea when he meets them at the elevator while carrying their bags. The problem is, The Fairmont Algonquin Hotel doesn’t employ a winter bellhop. Furthermore, no current staff member fits the gentleman’s description.
Winter is coming. You might want to book your room now.
The Fairmont Algonquin Hotel Website