mjj (flemmings) wrote,

But what I really came to talk about was ghosts. In Toronto. In daycares.

The UofT has two daycares that once were situated across the width of a parking lot and now are situated around the corner from each other. The university's official daycare was Margaret Fletcher; their red-haired stepchild of a daycare was us, Campus UnCo-operative Community Daycare. The northern third of our building was an adjunct of the old Meteorology Building, a small 2-storey stone tower and hall, onto which a later addition got put. MF was in the old carriage house of one of the stone Victorian mansions on St. George that were torn down in the 70's to make way for, yes, a parking lot.

There were stories about CCCD, never substantiated. One parent doing a clean-up shift said he saw, out the corner of his eye, a figure in a cape in the hallway of the new portion, which is odd, because that part of the building probably dated from the 40's or 50's when capes weren't worn. Someone else said they felt something on the stairs at night, going up to the second floor of the old building, which is a bit more rational: but the someone else was two young teenaged girls and no one else reported anything.

I found the place a bit uneasy at night, but that was in later years and probably no more than other people's suggestion. When I first started (when the daycare was only partly renovated) I used to stay there happily at night painting our basement section with never a thought that there was anything odd about the place. Certainly our early raucous daycare parties must have scared any spooks away. People, alcohol, and loud music: better than holy water.

It was an old building and it creaked and the creaking sounded, famously, like footsteps. The only truly odd moment I had was one day when I'd come early for my opening shift. Got to be 8 o'clock, I heard the mid-kid staff upstairs crossing her section, I went up to talk to her, and no one was there. Yeah, it sure sounded like footsteps. Yeah, it could have been the floorboards expanding. And it was still in the newer section.

Whatever, they tore the building down five years ago (yes, to put up a parking lot) and nothing showed up in the rubble and that was that.

Not so Margaret Fletcher, but that I only learned about accidentally last month, from a replacement staff we got who'd worked there for a few years with our (present) business co-ordinator. 'Oh yeah, and I think I once saw the Margaret Fletcher ghost. Saw a kid out of the corner of my eye, sitting at the table when I was by myself, turned around, the kid wasn't there.' So I cornered the BC when she got back from vacation and heard the whole story.

"There were always odd things happening, like taps turning on by themselves, and occasionally after we'd come downstairs we'd hear a kid running around upstairs, and think 'we missed somebody'- but when we counted heads everyone was there. The feeling on the second floor was different- not creepy or anything, just different. In the late afternoons we tended to tidy up there and all go down to the main floor, just because. And people putting toys away outside sometimes said they felt like they were being watched. The toy bins were at the end of the yard and in sight of the windows."

"But then one day a staff had to go upstairs for something and a minute later she came running back down. You know that saying, 'like she'd seen a ghost'? That's what she looked like. She had. It was a little girl, about ten, with dark hair and a Victorian style dress. And that particular staff was very Catholic and didn't believe in anything of the sort but--- Anyway, it was a happy ghost and didn't really bother us. But what was frustrating was that we couldn't find any record of who might have lived in the carriage house at the time. I mean, it was a carriage house so it'd have been the grooms who lived in its upper floor, but there were no records at all."

Anyway, the building is still standing and I think being used for something, and I wonder if the little girl still hangs around now there aren't any more children there.
Tags: rl_07

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