31 Days of Ghosts: Darke Hall, Regina, Saskatchewan
Enough of the nostalgia! Back to haunted places, not being haunted by memories.
Today, we head south, to the capital of Saskatchewan, Regina.
In the heart of Regina, you may think there is a football stadium that’s seen many a game since 1909, but there’s something more there. The University of Regina, which is in the middle of Wascana Park, North America’s largest urban park. The U of R boasts nine academic facilities, twenty five departments and offers bachelor, master’s and doctorate degrees. But the U of R also boasts some paranormal activity.
Being built within the first decade of the 20th Century, the university was home to many who suffered from the typhoid outbreak. There are whispers of apparitions of former nurses, doctors and patients who continue to walk the grounds to this very day. The now closed Fine Arts Building also is said to have a soldier, always seen in shadow, walking through the halls and grounds of the area. And then, there’s Francis Darke.
Francis Darke, for whom the hall that bears his name was subsequently named for, had his funeral at the hall, and is said to still wander the halls of the building.
Darke was a prominent Regina businessman, who arrived in the prairie city from Prince Edward Island where he was born. Considered one of the first citizens of Regina, he would go on to become one of the youngest mayors of Regina at the age of 35 in 1898. He would also serve as Member of Parliament for the city in 1925. Darke did not serve for very long in parliament, being elected in 1925 and stepping down in 1926 in favour of former Saskatchewan Premier Charles Avery Dunning.
Darke was instrumental in the formation of the University of Regina, as he donated $85,000 and later raised another $40,000 to the construction of the Regina College. This would eventually become the U of R. To put that in perspective in today’s value, Darke donated over 1.9 million dollars, and donated another $900,000 for the construction of the university. Darke also donated money in 1929 to establish the Darke Hall for Music and Art which housed the Regina Symphony Orchestra for 41 years.
It is said that the ghost of Francis Darke still resides in Darke Hall. There are those who have said they have seen a pleasant looking gentleman dressed in early 20th Century clothing wandering about the halls. Perhaps Francis Darke just feels at home on the grounds he helped build.