You can’t enjoy a city with as much history as Mississauga without expecting to encounter a spirit or two. After all, so many fascinating people have made their homes and raised families here, you’d anticipate some paranormal oddities in the mix.
Are they friendly or somewhat more malevolent? Look Local Mississauga invites you to get to know (from a safe distance) some of the more famous ghosts lurking in the dark, cobwebby corners of old inns and estates. Enter at your own risk…
Without a trace: the disappearance of George Silverthorn
Cherry Hill House | 680 Silvercreek Boulavard.
The son of Joseph and Jane Silverthorn, George was born in 1814 in what was then Toronto Township. He was raised on his family’s farm, Cherry Hill House, which was situated upon a small hill overlooking their 200-acre cherry tree farm. Carrying on the strong legacy of the Silverthorn surname, George grew to become a respected member of the community. In 1850 he headed to California to seek his fortunes in the California Gold Rush, returning to Toronto Township in early 1852 and marrying Louise Leonard in the Dixie Union Chapel in 1852.
Here’s where things get weird: After the wedding ceremony, as was tradition, the bride and groom and their assembled guests returned to Cherry Hill for a reception and dinner. Guests gathered around the hearth in the drawing room, waiting for the wedding supper. At some point that evening there was a knock on the door, and the family recalled that a male voice asked: “Can I see George Silverthorn, please?”
George excused himself and went to the door, where he spoke with the unseen visitor. At the same time the family continued their social gathering and dinner. After a short time, George stepped outside, closing the door behind him. After some time, when George had still not returned, his uncle Aaron Silverthorn wondered what was detaining him. As his new bride Louise became more and more frantic, Joseph and Aaron went outside to look for George, but to no avail. They returned to the house, expecting to find George inside, but he was nowhere to be found. Joseph, Aaron and their sons, along with neighbours, searched the surrounding areas for days. They dragged a nearby swamp and searched nearby forests, but no evidence of George was ever found.
The strange disappearance of George Silverthorn has never been conclusively solved. Cherry Hill House fell in neglect and was lost in the Depression due to unpaid taxes. Years later, the house was adopted by the city as a historic site, and after undergoing many renovations, reopened as a restaurant. It’s said to be haunted by George… seeking revenge?
The ghost of Minerva’s Bower
Cuchulainn’s Irish Pub
In 1832, United Empire Loyalist John Barnhart built a stately home along Main Street in Streetsville as a wedding gift for his daughter, Minerva, and her husband William H. Paterson. Minerva operated a school for young ladies here.
In the early 1900s, a disabled girl was trapped in the basement by her family whenever there were guests over. Over one hundred years later, the rattling sound pub staff and guests often hear is reminiscent of someone trying desperately to escape their basement prison.
Today, the building is home to Cuchulainn’s Irish Pub. The modern brick veneer hides the original character of the historic house… but the ghost remains.
Jessie, the friendly spirit
Streetsville’s Franklin House was built in 1855 by William Graydon and Peter Douglas as the private residence of Peter Douglas, who in 1859 went on to sell it to Bennet Franklin, a partner in Barber Brother’s Toronto Woollen Mills. In 2008, the Franklin House opened its doors as a pub and a restaurant and is still a staple in Mississauga’s happening nightlife.
Stories have been told that a young, friendly woman named Jessie has been haunting the building since the early 1900s. From flicking the lights to rearranging beer bottles on a pool table, there are many haunted stories to hear about her.
Those who have experienced the ghost of Jessie have one recommendation if you meet her… please, just leave her alone.
By Kristy Elik
With the help of archives from Heritage Mississauga
Cherry Hill House
680 Silver Creek Boulevard
Cuchulainn’s Irish Pub
158 Queen Street South
The Franklin House
263 Queen Street South