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Haunted hotel promises thrills, chills

September 26, 2011
By MARK J. MILLER - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

TORONTO - Thrills and chills are awaiting those who dare to enter the domain of the Goucher Haunted Hotel, 214 N. Fourth St., for its grand opening at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The cursed hotel, which will be open beginning at 7:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in October, will feature all new frights from last year's season, according to George Komar, president of the Toronto Coalition for Revitlization, co-sponsor of the hotel with city resident Buster Bowman.

"(The hotel) also will be open from 2 p.m to 4 p.m every Sunday for an open house with no scary characters," said Komar, adding adults and children can visit with no fear of being frightened. "The adults will be admitted free, while for children accompanied by an adult the admission is $5 (on Sundays)."

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SOMETHING HAUNTED — Residents of the Goucher Haunted Hotel in Toronto will be ready to meet visitors beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The hotel, a project of the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization and city resident Buster Bowman, will continue at 7:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through October.

For those who wish to be scared out of their wits Fridays and Saturdays admission is $10 at the door, Komar said. Those who wish to purchase tickets and don't want to wait can go online, to, he added.

The 115-year-old hotel has a colorful history, according to the website.

"The Goucher Hotel opened its doors in 1895 at the corner of North Fourth and Clark Streets in Toronto," according to a story on the site. "Built, owned and operated by local financier Samuel B. Goucher, the hotel had many amenities of convenience consistent with what luxury hotels offered, including fine dining, entertainment and dancing in the elegant ballroom. A variety of shops, open in the storefronts on street level, offered giftware, clothing, tailoring and other products and services. A barbershop provided haircuts, 'close shaves,' minor surgery and bloodletting, a popular practice of the era. The Toronto Bank, owned and operated by Samuel's brother George, was in the lower level on Fourth Street ."

Local legend has it strange goings on at the hotel have happened ever since, according to the site.

The actual opening of the hotel Saturday will be more down to Earth, said Komar. adding it coincides with the "Purr" fect "Hoowl"o-Ween 5K Race and Fun Walk, set for 5 p.m. Saturday. The race is a fundraiser for the Jefferson County Humane Society, and will include pet costume contests, a live broadcast by WOGH-FM from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., tarot card readings, music and more, according to Komar.

WTOV-TV also is a co-sponsor of the haunted hotel, and a portion of the admission will go toward the Coats for Kids program.

"Whatever is raised for Coats for Kids in Toronto at the haunted hotel will stay in Toronto," said Komar, adding money raised will then be directed to the Toronto Kiwanis Club for its Coats for Kids program. "uPrint Photography will be on site to take pictures of (participants) near the hearse."

Komar said the coalition will be providing information on where out-of-town visitors attending the hotel can dine or shop.

"We're encouraging people to stay in town," he said.

For information, call (740) 317-6570 or send an e-mail to

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