Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Five Things Literary (& Haunted!): Hallowe'en Edition, with Mark Leslie

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Mark Leslie

It's Hallowe'en and Open Boo(k) wants to scare you silly with the spookiest literary spots in Ontario, courtesy of Mark Leslie, the author of Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries (Dundurn Press). Mark's paranormal volumes will delight readers who love a little scare with their story. In addition to Tomes of Terror, he's also the author of Spooky Sudbury and Haunted Hamilton, so he's the ideal guide to take us a bookish tour of haunted Ontario today as part of our mapping of literary Ontario in our Five Things Literary series.

Read on to hear from Mark about the book buyer who got a free ghost with purchase, haunted cigar smoke and much more.


Five Things Literary: Haunted Ontario Hallowe'en Edition

  1. Waterdown Library (Hamilton Public Library, Waterdown)
    • In the beautiful and historic original location of the Waterdown Public Library, a pair of tombstones from Waterdown’s first settlers (Alexander Brown and Merren Grierson) hanging adjacent to the elevator are thought to be the catalyst for the elevator moving on its own and even trapping people inside despite repeated inspections finding nothing wrong with them.


  2. Rivendell Books (Barrie)
    • Bookstore patron Derek Ellis got more than he bargained for back in 2009 when he purchased a book about World War One from this used and rare bookstore in Barrie. The first night after he brought the book home he woke to find the ghost of a man standing at the foot of his bed. The ghost continued to appear, often in a long brown coat down to his ankles and with a rope wrapped around his waist, until Ellis finally returned it back to the bookstore.


  3. The Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto)
    • There is a debate that the eerie and shadowy presence moving about the library of the building formerly known as The Grange might be the ghost of one of three people: Goldwyn Smith (1823-1910), one of the last residents of the property before it became a museum; William Chin, a butler, who after 50 years disappeared after, on September 30, 1910 writing in his ledger “Left dear Old Grange at 1:00 pm to be a wanderer,”; or the prolific ghost story writer Algernon Blackwood who assisted Smith in the study between 1890 and 1892.


  4. Thornhill Village Library (Thornhill)
    • Literature describing this literary locale, which represents one of the few remaining buildings in the GTA built in the Classical Revival with no alterations to the front façade includes mention of its resident ghost. The spectre of an old woman has been spotted looking out the second floor windows and spotted in a rocking chair.


  5. Attic Books (London)
    • A ghost who has been nicknamed “Roland” by the staff, is known to have a penchant for cigars and good books. Roland’s presence is felt in the scent of cigars (without any actual visible smoke wafting up from the basement to the main floor), causing the basement lights to flicker for no reason, and books to mysteriously drop from the shelves. Staff have provided Roland with a wooden chair from the 1930s with a nice selection of books to help keep its otherworldly activities to a minimum.

Mark Leslie, whose full name is Mark Leslie Lefebvre grew up north of Sudbury, Ontario, attended Carleton University in Ottawa and that is where his career as a bookseller began. Mark has worked in virtually every guise of bookselling since 1992, has been President of the Canadian Booksellers Association, sat on the board of directors for BookNet Canada and considers himself a true book nerd. Mark's work includes One Hand Screaming, Evasion and I, Death. He also writes a series of paranormal explorations for Dundurn, including Haunted Hamilton, Spooky Sudbury and his latest Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries. Mark lives in Hamilton, Ontario

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