Auchmar Mansion is called the Dundurn Castle of Hamilton Mountain. The lord of Auchmar was the Honourable Isaac Buchanan, who in turn had run-ins with Sir Allan MacNab (of Dundurn).
From friendly encounters in both stately homes to competitive face offs over the love of Hamilton’s people.
Like MacNab, Buchanan was a businessman. He successfully proved wholesale was a thing, became rich and opening in Toronto, London and Hamilton. Hamilton was in the middle and a perfect home.
Two houses were built. A row house on James St S in the core (now Radius Restaurant), and his summer home… Auchmar Mansion, still located at the corner of Fennell Ave and West 5th on Hamilton Mountain.
With money to burn, Isaac saw value in the emerging railway. Investment yielded more money to his family. His confidence at an all-time high, which could have been his downfall.
New challenges —
Something forced Isaac to seek new challenges. Next in line was politics.
He’d run against a long-time adversary… Sir Allan MacNab of Dundurn Castle. Many thought Buchanan would be embarrassed. Nobody at all expected him to win.
They were wrong. Isaac won by a landslide.
Do you agree a person can make many great decisions in life, then a few wrong ones come along to ruin it all?
Isaac would tempt fate with new investment. The Southern Railway. East-to-west worked. Made him a fortune. So why not south, with a line running into the United States.
Along the way, he made poor wholesale business decisions and focused on unpopular political ventures. Customers and supporters turned away. Then the Southern Railway died and took Isaac’s multiple investments with it.
In 1865 he resigned from office and 2 years later his business had failed.
Isaac sold off his beloved Auchmar and move into the row house full time. Shamed, he’d live out the rest of his days in obscurity.
He died in that row house on James Street South Monday, October 1, 1883, at 73 years old.
The Mysterious Resident Ghost
Not much chance was given to exposing the ghosts of Auchmar Mansion. Today we only know of one, active energy.
Finding the ghosts —
Ghosts are hard to come by due to the house’s history…
- Built in 1855, no ghosts yet
- Religious man moves in, he’s not going to talk ghosts
- Isaac’s son James takes over in 1900, no ghost talk about family
- The Young family in 1926, renting the house as a military hospital. Hospitals are sacred in the paranormal and rarely discussed
- Then the nuns in 1945, they’re not going to talk. Nuns stayed for decades
When they moved out, that’s when the real fun began.
YTV’s Strange Days at Blake Holsey High —
In 2002, YTV of Canada made Auchmar a school of magic. Like Harry Potter, sort of, this enjoyable show would film at the house for 3 seasons.
Many actors and staff spent nights in Auchmar to be fresh for early shoots. Some sleeping in general areas, others in dressing rooms once located just behind the house on a path to the nun’s chapel.
Animals were frightened by unseen activity. One dog walked from a dressing room barked at the empty hallway. Later the same dog refused to go back down that hall.
An actor spending the night in his dressing room woke to the sound of his locked door opening. He opened his eyes to see the once closed door now ajar and nobody in the room.
The Little Girl Runs Auchmar
2 grips (fancy speak for lighting techs) climbed stairs from the basement with equipment for a shoot. They knew the house was empty and worked quickly before the crew arrived.
Both handling a large machinery, balanced, careful, one grip looked to the next step and noticed a figure at the top. He saw a little girl staring back at him.
The grip shot a look to the other man as if to say, “do you see her too?” They both looked back and the girl was gone.
Power of the Web — from Daniel
“I posted about the little girl many years back on another website. An email eventually arrived from a local woman who believed she had met this ghost girl.
“As a child, her father worked for the city. He was an official trying to sell the house to investors. One day he lacked a babysitter and she tagged along.
“Her dad talked up a storm with the real estate jargon. His daughter got bored and wandered the house. She ended up on the second floor.
“It’s a Gothic structure, long hallways like tunnels. The daughter stood at one end and heard creaking from the old wood floors, closer until they stopped at her feet.
“A voice broke the silence as another little girl whispered without breath into her ear, “Play with me”.
“The daughter screamed, ran downstairs and jumped into her father’s arms.
“Who is this little girl? That remains a mystery.”