The Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake was established in 1789. Originally known as the Harmonius Coach House it hosted a variety of patrons, including politicians, military personnel and writers. Among its more esteemed patrons were Prince Edward ( the father of Queen Victoria), Irish poet, Thomas Moore and even the Scottish explorer Alexander MacKenzie, best known for being the first person to traverse the North American continent from West to East.
At this time Niagara-on-the Lake was known as Newark, and was chosen by Governor Lieutenant John Graves Simcoe as the capital of Upper Canada in 1792. However due to its close proximity to the American border Simcoe changed his mind and York became the capital in 1797. Newark was officially renamed Niagara. Being a meeting place for many prominent citizens, that had political influence, it is said that the First Act Against Slavery was enacted in 1793 and celebrated at the Coach House.
In 1815 John Ross rebuilt the Coach House after it was razed by American troops in the war between the British and the Americans of 1812. The Americans conquered the town and burnt many of its buildings. John Ross renamed the Coach House, The Angel Inn, for his wife. In 1826 Richard Howard bought the establishment and it was then purchased by a John Fraser in 1845. The Angel Inn become known as Frasers Hotel or the Mansion House. After serving as a library, apothecary, a billet for soldiers and a dental office the Ling family purchased the building, refurbished it and rename it The Olde Angel Inn.
It was as early as the 1820s, when John Ross owned the establishment, that stories of ghostly occurrences began to circulate. The ghost was said to be that of a British soldier called Captain Colin Swayze. Captain Swayze was apparently given orders to flee the town, with a raid by American soldiers imminent. It is said that instead of leaving he stood at the intersection of Regent and Market Street till 10 o'clock waiting for his love. When she didn't arrive the American soldiers were already swarming through the town. Captain Swayze sought refuge in the Couch House. He was forced to hide down in the cellar in one of the wine barrels as the American soldiers ransacked the town. Three soldiers went down into the cellar and started to stab at the wine barrels with their bayonets. It's said one of the wine barrels started to " bleed". They had killed Captain Swayze. Leaving his body in the cellar the soldiers burnt the Coach House to the ground.
The ghost of Captain Swayze is said to click silverware, clink glassware, and rearrange table settings. Most of the paranormal phenomena allegedly occurs in the cellar where Captain Swayze was murdered. Guests of the Olde Angel Inn have reported hearing phantom footsteps, whistling and whispered conversations. Several guest have sighted Captain Swayze standing in one of the rooms they have hired at the top of the Inn. It is said that the Union Jack must always fly in The Olde Angel Inn. Many owners have tried to take the flag down and the paranormal activity has increased. They believe Captain Swayze is angered if the Union Jack is removed.
I love the Olde Angel Inn and I have been there many times. It's a cozy place with low beamed ceilings and the feeling of a bygone time. I do think that the long staircase down to the women's washroom, which is situated next to the cellar, has a strange feel about it. As you descend towards the cellar there is something electric in the air. The Olde Angel Inne is a wonderful place to visit.