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.
But 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 funds they needed for an extensive renovation that was required to keep the building up and running.
Is The Gravenhurst Opera House Haunted?
The story goes that an old theatre operator named Ben was walking the catwalk (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 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.
A medium named Jay Lane attended the opera house for a show a few years back. While there, she sensed a bothersome spirit following her around and causing trouble. Theater employees thought it must be Ben but Jay was insistent that his name was Walter.
Throughout the day, Walter closed a door in Jay’s face, got her to dance like Michigan J Frog and insisted on talking about his plane and showing her images of Snoopy and the Red Baron.
It turned out Walter was just visiting. He was the father of one of the show attendees who had asked him to follow Jay around and bug her so that the pair could connect at the show.
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If you haven’t had a chance yet, be sure to check out the Gravenhurst Opera House. It’s not only known for it’s ghost stories, it’s also a great venue for musical performances, plays, and local festivals.