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Haunted Places in Vancouver, BC

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Deadman's Island, Stanley Park
Haunted Places in Vancouver, BC

Deadman's Island is one of the most storied historical sites in Stanley Park.

© Chloë Ernst

The location of First Nations graves and a smallpox internment camp, Deadman's Island has a history that's as chilling as its name. The island is the setting for a tale in the 1911 book Legends of Vancouver by Pauline Johnson. The Mohawk woman, who adopted Vancouver as her treasured home, wrote of tense battles for the island between northern and southern tribes. When the southern people captured 200 elders, women, and children from the north, they negotiated a hostage exchange for northern warriors. Once the 200 northern warriors stepped ashore, the southerners sacrificed them.

Local First Nations used this small island off Stanley Park as a burial site. When European settlers arrived, cedar boxes containing bones sat in the tree boughs. In later years, the island was bought, sold, and used as smallpox quarantine camp before becoming a naval base.

You can't visit the island as it's off-limits to the public, but the Stanley Park Seawall provides a good look.

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