Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Ghost Coin - Only in Canada, you say?

Ghost Bride coin
Yep, we Canadians now have a collectable coin featuring the Ghost Bride from the Banff Springs Hotel. Apparently, it's the first in a series of coins and stamps that will feature other spooky and haunted Canadian people and places.

Now, I don't remember stories of a ghost bride when I was at Banff Springs but I do remember other spooky things about the place while working there as a chambermaid in the early 80s. I remember stories about a mysterious death on the 8th floor and the 'lost' room that only appeared in blue prints. And then there was that grand staircase (in one of the dining rooms, I think) that led up into the ceiling! More likely evidence of bad remodelling than any past tragic 'event' but still...

This was back in the days when staff lived in stone barracks referred to as the lower and upper annexes. Me and two other youngsters from Montreal shared a small room in the lower annex. It had bare stone walls, two bunk beds, a sink, a cracked mirror and maybe a desk? We hung our clothes from the exposed pipes that ran through all the rooms and used milk crates as storage units. Every day (and night) we had to traverse the spooky, dim and drippy service tunnel that connected the residences to the hotel where we weren't allowed to be unless we were working.

There were other slightly less supernatural but still strange things about the place...things that happened to us as chambermaids. Like the day I was cleaning a suite and stumbled across a trousered leg sticking out from underneath one of the beds - turned out to be someone's prosthetic. Or the day one of my bunk mates found a man dead in his bed. There were the other more day-to-day concerns, too. Like the bears that hung around the dumpsters or the shared bathroom facilities that meant we had to put a "girl in shower" notice up on the bathroom door. Most people respected it but there were others that felt this was an invitation to kick the door open. However, nothing was more troubling, to me anyway, as the strangely intense security guy who used to open the door to our room at night and stand there watching us sleep. Now THAT was creepy. Also one of the reasons I left.

Photos of the people / hotel in the 80s
Hotel Staff Reunion (Crap! I missed it!)

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