The Hermitage Ruins
Tel: 1 (905) 529-4327
Website : www. hauntedhamilton. com/ local_hermitage. html
From the depths of the Dundas Valley emerges a beautiful tale of love lost at the Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster, Ontario. The town itself is very rich in history and is the third oldest community in Ontario, the other two being Kinston and Niagara-on-the-Lake. The land surrounding the Hermitage Ruins have been connected with much folklore and legend, and people from all over Canada have heard the stories that surround this historic site. Disembodied voices are said to be heard by the sensitive visitor. If you listen very carefully, you can hear the death all around you. Some say that pain, suffering, sadness, and death echo forever like a lost soul trapped in time.
The first owner of this alluring land was Reverend George Sheed of Presbyterian faith, who came to Ancaster in 1830. He bought the land that same year and had a small, humble home built soon after. The home was then sold to Colonel Otto Ives, who immigrated to Canada from Greece as a result of eloping with the daughter of a high-ranking dignitary. Along with them, they brought her niece. Twenty-two years later, the land was sold to George Leith, who financed the building of a new two-story mansion on the property. The house was then bought by his youngest daughter, Alma Dick-Lauder, who continued to live on the property until 1942—even after several fires devastated the home to its current state of ruins. The ruins were eventually transferred over to the City of Hamilton, and plans were made to secure the falling stones and preserve it as a tourist attraction.
The Hermitage, along with the strip of road called Lover’s Lane, has its own elusive and enduring ghost story. In the late 1800s, a coachman named William Black lived on the property and caught the eye of Colonel Otto Ives’s niece. A torrid love affair blossomed between the two, and when William Black approached her uncle to ask permission to marry his niece, Otto Ives became enraged and denied it. The coachman, distressed and heartbroken, headed to the back of the property and hung himself from the wooden rafters of the carriage house. When Otto Ives found William’s dangling body, he immediately cut it down and buried it at a nearby crossroads, which is now known as Lover’s Lane. To this day, local lore states that on the night of a full moon, you can catch a glimpse of William Black walking between the carriage house and the ruins, calling out and grieving for his lost love.
Glowing corpses that sink into the ground, a woman walking on a no-longer-existing second floor of the building, and seeing the ruins of the mansion completely back to its former glory—glowing candlelight and all—are only a few of the reported sightings that haunt this obscure land. Founding Partner of Haunted Hamilton Daniel Cumerlato believes he experienced firsthand the ghosts of William Black and his beloved, walking as dark silhouettes, arm in arm, toward the trees, then vanishing into thin air. Ghost walks are conducted regularly at this location, where you can hear many more haunted tales on eerie, moonlit nights. Perhaps you might want to partake in them one evening—unless, of course, you’re afraid of the shadows that lurk in the trees!