Haunted Simcoe: The Gravenhurst Opera House

Well, haunted Simcoe Muskoka

With over 120 years under its belt, The Gravenhurst Opera House has seen more people walk through its doors than the entire population of Canada in 1901 (the year it opened). With such a deep history, local lore and ghost stories were almost a guarantee.

History of the Gravenhurst Opera House

Back in 1901, Gravenhurst was in need of a new Town Hall. Canadian architect John Francis Brown had the idea to build a dual-purpose building. It would serve as both a Town Hall and an Opera House. People in town were skeptical and questioned the need to spend so much money (a whopping $12,000) on the building.

However, when opening night arrived on March 12, any doubt melted away. The Gravenhurst Opera House would grow to become one of the Muskoka region’s most beloved buildings.

In fact, the building was so beloved that it was saved, not once, but twice from possible closure. The first was in 1967 when the town voted to maintain the building rather than tear it down. Following that in 1993, the town raised the necessary funds for an extensive renovation that was required to keep the building up and running.

Is it haunted?

Whether the building is haunted or not, one thing is certain: The ghost that may reside there is definitely friendly.

The story goes that an old theatre operator named Ben was walking the bridge (the equipment and lighting walkway above the stage) when he suddenly fell to his death. The exact reason for his fall is very much up to speculation. Some say he was adjusting lights and fell by accident. Others claim that a broken heart caused him to jump from the bridge willingly.

Many guests of the theatre have experienced goosebumps, cold spots, and a few have even claimed to have seen Ben himself walking around behind the stage. Others, however, have spent years at the theatre without so much as a whisper from old Ben.

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The good news is that Ben won’t have to wander the theatre alone for much longer. The Gravenhurst Opera House is set to re-open in early 2022.

Known for musical performances, plays, and even playing host to local festivals, keep an eye on the Gravenhurst Opera House’s website for more details about their upcoming shows.