Christie Mansion

100 Wellesley Street West, Toronto, Ontario

Completed in 1881, for William Mellis Christie (1829-1900) and his wife, Mary Jane McMullen (1830-1909). Situated on the corner of Queen's Park Crescent and Wellesley Street, if the stories are to be believed the mansion once concealed a dark secret resulting in in it being haunted today. Having been a residence for female students at St, Michael's College for close to 80 years, since 2008 the University of Toronto has leased it to Regis College, the theological college affiliated to the university.
William Christie was a Scots-born baker who rose to become President of Christie, Brown & Co., the largest manufacturers of biscuits in Canada. He purchased the land on which he built this mansion from the University of Toronto and moved into the new Tudor-style mansion in 1881. Coincidentally, his eldest son-in-law, John J. Palmer, later took up residence at Lawton Park, renaming it "Huntly Lodge" for William's Scottish birthplace.

William Christie died at his family home on June 14, 1900. He left both his business and mansion to his only surviving son, Robert Jaffray Christie (1870-1926). He lived there - ostensibly - with his wife, Emma Louise Lee (1875-1954), their three children and an obligatory retinue of servants. But, if the rumours that circulate about the old house are to be believed, they were joined by one more...

According to an urban legend, Robert was devoted to his wife but nonetheless he had a mistress with whom he became so infatuated that he smuggled her into the mansion to enjoy her at his own leisure. He placed her in a room with a bathroom hidden by secret panels keeping her out of sight and sound right under the nose of his family. Food was brought to her by a paid-off servant, but she was unable to leave and to make matters worse Robert eventually began to tire of her. Unvalued, unloved and unable to leave, his mistress apparently hung herself in her chambers and her ghost is said to still haunt the house:

They say that if you enter Room 29 all by yourself at night, the door will swing shut behind you. You will find it locked; nothing you can do will open it. And if there’s no one on the other side of the door to hear your screams, you’ll be trapped all night, just like Robert Christie’s mistress all those years ago.

In regards to the story, a word of caution before swallowing it hook, line and sinker: From 1926, the Christie Mansion was the female residence building for St. Michael's College - rife ground for a such a story to evolve!

As it was, Robert died at the house in 1926, which by then was the only freehold property on Queen's Park. But, shortly before his death, he'd sold it for a reported $125,000 to the Sister's of St. Joseph who ran both the St. Joseph's College School next door and the previously mentioned St. Michael's College. In 1927, his widow, Emma, commissioned John McIntosh Lyle (1872-1945) to build the Mrs R.J. Christie Mansion at 3 Frybrook Road in Toronto's Forest Hill neighbourhood, where she lived for the remainder of her life.   

In 2008, The University of Toronto bought the site from the Sisters of St. Joseph and since then have leased it to Regis College, the university's theological college. 

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