The oldest tavern in British Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario) once stood here. Called The Harmonious Coach House and it hosted many important figures when Niagara-on-the-Lake was the capital of Canada, and the location of Parliament.
These VIP’s included…
- John Graves Simcoe
- General Isaac Brock
- Famous explorer Alexander Mackenzie
- And Prince Edward, the father of Queen Victoria
Not the best version because it didn’t end slavery, just change it for the future…
- No more slaves to be brought to Canada
- Slaves currently in Canada would remain slaves
- The children of slaves would be freed at 25 years old
- Children born to slaves from this point forth would be free
Call it a compromise. And the men who signed this law celebrated at the Harmonious Coach House (now the Olde Angel Inn).
Current Building – –
The current building isn’t the Harmonious Coach House. That was burned down by retreating American soldiers and sympathizers during the War of 1812.
The building today was built on the same foundation. Run as a tavern for a while, but also serving as a library, apothecary (spiked in history again when a pioneering doctor performed bloodletting) and even a church.
Back to it’s original purpose today as The Olde Angel Inn.
Captain Swayze’s Ghost
The Angel Inn is one of a few businesses in Canada proudly boasting their resident ghost. One of many legends from the War of 1812 that remains alive because of the vivid antics of a ghost named Colin Swayze.
The British Captain delayed joining his fellow soldiers as Americans marched in. Staying back to see his love, a woman named Euretta.
He showed up at the Harmonious Coach House, but she didn’t. Maybe Euretta’s family dragged her out of town, either way Swayze’s all alone when they arrive. Three Americans see him and give chase.
Swayze runs into the building and down to the basement. The Americans follow to a room filled with rum barrels, all big enough for a man to hide. Moving around, shaking barrels and opening taps, looking for the heavy one with no rum.
They found it. Silently signaling to surround the barrel. In unison the soldiers stabbed bayonets through the wood, finally stopping when blood gushed from the open tap.
Swayze rotted. And only when the stench got too much was a young American sent down to bury it, in that basement, barrel and all.
A Restless Ghost
Still loyal to the British Crown 200 years after his death.
Captain Swayze once rose from the basement and caused havoc on the building… for 2 weeks at a time. Then stopped and it’s quiet for months… then 2 more weeks of havoc!
The owners were frustrated and investigated. They found out it only happened when the Union Jack (British flag) was taken down for cleaning, which took 2 weeks.
For this reason it’s believed the owners now have two sets of British flags. One comes down the other goes up, and Swayze stays calm.
The Olde Angel Inn is featured on the Ghost Walks of Niagara-on-the-Lake
A Ghost Story not on the Ghost Walks
A mother and daughter checked in for a restful night inside the Angel. Not paranormal investigators, or ghost enthusiast, just unaware regular folks.
The night started out calm. Turning in, sleeping soundly until a crash against the wall. In unison they shot up and looked around an empty room. More noises, it was coming from the room next door.
Both pressed their ears to the wall and listened. Chairs being dragged, feet hitting the floor as if an army of kids were running about and curtains being opened and closed so violently they worried the fabric would be torn from the rod.
It continues, but neither the mother or daughter felt comfortable in confronting the noisy neighbours. They let it go and hours later the noises stopped.
Next day, the mom stomped down the stairs to the morning clerk. Tired from lack of sleep she lost her cool and forcefully recounted the night.
“They were horrible! We demand a refund…” and as the mom talked the clerk just listened in shocked silence.
Then silence, the clerk calmly said, “You were the only ones in the building last night. That room was empty”
**Stay the night! Book The Olde Angel Inn
Poem from Our Own Sir William
(aka Bill Hamilton)
ANGEL’S GHOST (winner 2013 Rising Spirits Awards)
The torrent of wind against a storm filled sky, as the enemy sought to know, Captain Swayze, a soldier, knew his plight and where he had to go
To meet his love, as was the plan, before he made his flight
He’d hold her tight and pledge his love hidden by dark of night.
Carefully concealed, he made his way near the Inn as they had agreed. But, emptiness filled the street and time was a certain need. And then he heard the dreaded sound of foot march near this place. He hastened through the Inn front door, in panic to hide his face.
To the basement he ran and sought the shelter of an empty wooden cask. His hope was to fool the American foe and escape with this fancied mask. Alas the soldiers’ thorough search, with bayonets fixed to find. That fateful cask, that Colin chose, to take shelter and hide behind.
They found their mark and Swayze died a slow and painful demise. Our story doesn’t end here though, for our hero would again arise.
It’s said that Captain Swayze still walks the rooms of the Angel Inn. His boots make sound his moans are heard, he moves about within. He haunts the place where he lost his love and tragically died in vain.
Was it worth it Colin to suffer so and endure that awful pain! He’s harmless they say if the Union Jack flies, high above his host. Swayze lives on in his final place, as the famous Angel ghost!