Saint Andrews’ Algonquin Resort keeps its ghost lore in-house

Almost 50 people huddled around the tunnel entrance to the old staff quarters, listening to the kilted tour guide share a tale about a former employee still working long after his shift was over.

The room was dimly lit with the harsh glow of fluorescent lighting, and the collection of people oohed and aahed as the story of the night watchman, who paces the grounds like he did in life, was shared within the claustrophobic confines.

There are so many ghosts at St. Andrews’ Algonquin Resort that they have their very own hour-long tour twice daily. On July 9, 2023, it was Greg leading the way, sharing the stories of the resort that have slipped through the cracks and seeped into its foundation.

The night watchman was a security guard who kept the hotel safe when the sun went down. He lived in the staff residence and allegedly passed away one night in his sleep.

“However, he did get up and he still roams the halls to these days as a ghost,” Greg said, offering to the crowd that he was going to turn the lights off in the underground tunnel. “You know he’s near if you hear keys jingling,”

The Algonquin Resort’s ghost walk is also a chance to share the history of the resort, which has called the hill overlooking Saint Andrews By-the-Sea home since 1889.

A fire on April 11, 1914, destroyed most of the original building, save for the Painter Wing, Kitchen Wing and the tower located on the northwestern wing of the main building. A piano and the bell table were saved during the inferno as well and both reside in the resort’s lobby, or close to it.

Greg admitted to the audience that he wouldn’t run into a burning building to save a piano, but the bellhop put his life on the line for some strings.

“It’s crazy, and this thing’s pretty heavy,” Greg said, as he placed a hand atop the piano, continuing with his narrative that the piano plays by itself. Guests who have spent the night on the second floor in rooms 240 through 260 check in with the concierge to say there’s a piano playing.

“They come down in the night saying, ‘Hey, there’s a piano playing, and can you please have them stop because we’re trying to sleep’,” Greg recalled. “We say certainly, we can do that, but (the piano) is locked. We can’t get into it.”

In 1915, the resort re-opened with its current Tudor-style design and red roof. It also became the place to host weddings. And what hotel would be complete without the ghost of a forlorn bride within its walls?

One such story involves a young bride who was to wed a fisherman. The day before the wedding he went out to sea.

“For all you males, that is not a good thing to do a day before a wedding, because this gentleman did not return,” Greg told the captive audience. “We don’t know if he was lost at sea or if he just abandoned the ship because he didn’t want to come back and marry this girl.”

Naturally, the bride was saddened by being left at the altar, so it is said that she cried all day and into her wedding night in Room 473. Concerned guests asked the staff to check on the young bride-to-be and the bellman found her dead.

“They don’t know if was from a broken heart or suicide,” Greg said, adding that any couple that spends the night in the room will fight and not agree on how good their night’s stay was.

 Along with the night watchman, at least three other ghosts are said to inhabit the rooms and halls within the 1915 reconstruction of the Algonquin.

The possible outcome from a wedding night brings the tour to the next spectral interloper on the grounds. Greg led the group into the resort’s sub-basement to show pictures from the past. One is said to be hiding the spirit of a young boy named Ben.

“This little boy Ben is three years old, hanging out on the fourth floor in his room, throwing his red ball against the wall,” the 19-year-old bellhop shared. “He throws it out the window and being three-years-old he chased after this ball. He fell out the window and sadly passed away when he hit the ground.”

Ben is allegedly still in the hotel playing games on the grounds, at the pool and in the halls. How guests can tell if the young boy is near if they feel something brush by them or hear footsteps run around the corner of the floor.

Just like the night watchman, there’s another former staff member who is reluctant to punch his last shift into the time clock. It is said that the main floor elevator has a bellhop in a beige coat that helps guests and makes restaurant suggestions.

“He often tells guests that they should check out this restaurant on Water Street, or go here, go here,” Greg shared. “Of course, these places don’t exist because he was staffed way long ago.”

The staff member is offered tips, but he does not accept them, and when guests inquire at the front desk, they sheepishly admit no bellman is servicing the elevator.

Brian Baker/The Superstitious Times
A piano salvaged from the original Algonquin Resort fire in 1914 still sits on the first floor of the current resort. It’s alleged to play by itself in the middle of the night.

Ghost tour after party

All the guests dispersed and explored the various cold spots shared along the way. Some gathered on the fourth floor to see the room where the forlorn bride is reported to shed tears, others gravitated to the ominous piano, and others shot photos from inside the haunted elevator.

Greg, the tour guide on this particular night, retired to the manager’s office but offered a few notes about his time at the resort. Greg had only been working at the Algonquin Resort for two months, and on this particular evening, it was his first time leading it.

“They tell you all the stories as we go along,” the 19-year-old recalled. “I had my ghost tour probably three- or four weeks in.”

It didn’t take long for any weird experiences to begin.

“I went up to the fourth floor one night because a guest came down saying, ‘Somebody’s crying (in the room) next to me’,” he recalled, adding the guest was in Room 471, while the crying was coming from Room 473.

“I go up to this room, and it was empty, and that’s when I found out,” Greg added. “I checked with the front desk first, ‘Hey, who should be staying in the room, so I can address them by their name? And they told me nobody should be staying in that room.’”

Greg admitted that it’s only happened to one other bellhop that he knows of, so it’s not entirely a rite of passage for new employees to be sent to the room.

The Fredericton resident grew up in an allegedly haunted house, so he was not new to the inexplicable.

“It doesn’t phase me anymore,” he admitted. “Coming here, I was like if stuff happens, stuff happens. I’m not going to be too scared.”

Although other staff members hate to be around the kitchen at night, as it’s part of the rounds the old watchman walks when everyone else is asleep.

Brian Baker/The Superstitious Times
An old photograph where it’s suspected the spirit of Ben is present.

Where’s the paper trail?

Shining vibes aside, the Algonquin Resort, Version 1.0, was built in 1889 by railway conglomerate, the St. Andrews Land Company. That company was comprised of businessmen from Montreal and New England, and they would later sell the property to the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1907. Railway magnate, William Van Horne, even had a summer home near the Algonquin Resort.

The CPR owned the property until 1970 when it changed hands to a local New Brunswick consortium, and eventually, the provincial government took over.

As mentioned earlier, the original Algonquin Resort burned to the ground. The estimated fire damage was $800,000. The rebuild was paid for by the CPR and was completed in June 1915. The Tudor-style structure was designed by Barott, Blackadder & Webster of Montreal. Each room featured electrical and telecommunications infrastructure for the first time.

Ask Charlotte County Archives Manager Anna Krentz about anything ghostly about the Algonquin Resort and she’ll admit there’s no paper trail. No newspaper clippings, microfiche or death certificates relating to the night watchman, bride, Ben or even a bellhop.

“The stories go back a while, as far as someone who was a night watchman or a bellboy who guests discover isn’t working there,” Krentz added during the September 2023 phone conversation. “Again, there aren’t any reports of any kind of accidents happening to the bellman or night watchman … many of the staff have been short-term staff like university students.”

That’s not to say there isn’t any evidence to anchor the resident spirits to the realm of reality, although Krentz added that the stories about the night watchman and the bellhop have had more legs than the bride, which Krentz couldn’t find any evidence dating further back than 2005.

“The lack of documentation isn’t a sure thing, but the fact that the (bride) story itself isn’t even talked about in the book about the Algonquin from 2005 is quite extensive,” the 35-year-old said, citing David Sullivan’s book The Algonquin, St. Andrews N.B: On Passamaquoddy Bay.

Although the Algonquin focused on the upper class in its early days, there was a period of decline during the 1960s and ‘70s, according to Krentz. At the same time, a boom in hotels was happening in the U.S.’s northeastern Appalachians which could have affected the Algonquin.

“It was a faded grandeur kind of place (and) I imagine the clientele did dip a little at that point, it was probably a bit more of a run-of-the-mill hotel,” she said. “Probably 38 years, they’ve been building it up again as the luxury resort that it is and originally was.”

Even the archives building, which calls the historic Charlotte County jail home, is said to have a few resident spirits. But that’s a story for another article.

Brian Baker/The Superstitious Times
The hallway leading up to Room 473,
the alleged room where a forlorn
bride died of a suspected broken

Keeping the ghost walks at bay

Felicity Cooper has been running the Ghost Walks of Saint Andrews By-The-Sea for the last nine years, and with such an iconic spot as the Algonquin Resort taking up residence in the community, one would think it would be a stop on her walks.

But not so.

Cooper would start her ghost walk on the veranda of the Algonquin Resort. All of the sites would be described in poetic verse. The walk was a fundraiser for the Charlotte County Archives. She would call herself Miss Demeanor as she would take her groups to the old jail where the archives are.

“I used to start outside of the hotel,” she recalled. “They don’t seem to like me very much. I don’t know whether they think I’m a witch, but (my tours) went from 20 people showing up to 40 and then one time I had 102 people waiting there for me.”

After a polite request from the hotel that they would be, “quite grateful” if Cooper could start her ghost walk somewhere else, she moved it to outside of where the original town office and courthouse were built on Water Street.

Miss Demeanor knows all of Saint Andrews’ darkest secrets, she shared during a September 2023 Zoom conversation. Many of which or pretty grim, especially the story of Saint Andrews’ carpenter who had to build his own set of gallows after chipping his wife up in 1796, and the fact that children would be jailed.

“It was a ship-building port, and where you have ships, you have women of the night,” she said, with a laugh.  

So, if you’re looking for more ghostly lore outside of the Algonquin Resort, look up Ghost Walks of St Andrews By The Sea NB.

“Lots of people perished in this bay,” Cooper said. “On full moons and high tides, especially king tides. It’s really weird.”

Comments are closed.