The Fairmont Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City is one of the most famous hotels in Canada. Like most Fairmont properties, it was built in the late 1880s as a railroad hotel to attract wealthy tourists to cities on the newly built Canadian Pacific Railway.
It succeeded at that in a big way. With its chateauesque architecture, it’s 79.9 metres (262 feet) high and sits prominently on a hill in the historic district of Quebec City. It’s been called the most photographed hotel in the world and dominates the city’s skyline.
But we’re nearing Halloween and let’s cut to the chase. It’s what you’ll find inside Chateau Frontenac that lends itself to the ghost hunter inside many of us. And sure enough, with its storied history and drama unfolded within its walls, there’s a chance you may see one of two ghosts at Chateau Frontenac.
Ghosts of Chateau Frontenac
It’s uncanny how Fairmont hotels have so many ghosts. While the myth behind Banff Springs Hotel Room 873 has been debunked, Banff Springs has at least 3 ghosts. Fort Garry Hotel Room 202 in Winnipeg has its crying woman (and that whole blood soaked walls thing). The ghosts of Chateau Frontenac don’t appear to be tied to any one room, although one travel report put some of its activity on the second floor.
So why is Chateau Frontenac haunted, and what ghosts want to meet you?
Ghost 1: Louis de Baude de Frontenac
Chateau Frontenac was built on the former home of Louis de Baude de Frontenac. He was the third Governor General of New France, from 1672 to 1682. And your reading is correct. There is a ‘de Frontenac’ at the end of his title, which he lent two hundred years posthumously to the hotel’s name.
Maybe he’s stoked or maybe he’s pissed. But either way, there’s a chance you’ll see our friend Louis at Chateau Frontenac.
What You Might See: A 17th century gentlemen pacing the halls of Chateau Frontenac. The reason? Frontenac died in his home, Chateau St Louis, on which Chateau Frontenac was built. His death instructions were to have his heart sent to his fiancé in Europe (nice, Louis!) in a decorative box. Too grief stricken to open it, she sent it back. Poor Louis hasn’t fully accepted that, even in death some 350-ish years later. So he waits, and paces, and does ghost stuff at the Chateau Frontenac.
Where You’ll See Him: Frontenac isn’t linked to any one room. There have been some reports though that he tends to linger on the second floor, where you may see him by a windowsill, only to vanish in front of you. Also, you might see him in the ballroom.
Ghost 2: The Woman in White
Many haunted hotels have a ‘woman in white’. Chateau Frontenac is no exception. She’s often a mystery, and that holds true here as well. Unlike our friend Louis, we know very little about the woman in white at ‘Le Chateau’ other than she’s sad, she’s in a nightgown and, well, she might join you in bed. Yes, really.
What You Might See: A ghostly woman wearing a night gown. And yes, she really might get in bed with you, or at least check you out as you’re dozing off.
Where You’ll See Her: When you least want to – in your room, although like Louis, she doesn’t seem to be attached to any room in particular. We don’t know who she is either. Your best response is likely to nod and smile. Well, if you haven’t shat your bed by that point.
If These Walls Could Talk…
Keep in mind that Chateau Frontenac is a world-class hotel. It’s designated a National Historic Site of Canada and a popular stop among the world’s elite and influential, ranging from politicians to film stars. This is a very grand hotel, certainly one of the top 10 hotels in Canada, and one that should definitely rank high on your Quebec City itinerary, whether there are ghosts here or not.
Still, with that kind of history, and with some of the drama that’s gone down in these walls over 125+ years, you know the place will have a few kinks in the form of ‘the other worldly’.
So is Chateau Frontenac haunted? Yup, it appears that way. Keep an open mind and enjoy the experience if you’re privileged enough to stay here. And, er, maybe don’t be surprised if you don’t wake up with someone you didn’t expect.