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Old October 22nd, 2001, 11:01 PM   #43
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Louisville area
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Olde Angel Inn: Ontario Canada

I know Misty is lurking somewhere So I figured I would throw in a Canadian story for her!

To step through the doors of this, one of Ontario?s oldest inns, is to step back into history Looking remarkably like an English pub, the inn has lots of exposed hand-hewn beams and thick plank floors. The latter sometimes still seem to echo to the sounds of the British soldiers and townsfolk who have gathered here for food and drink for two centuries.

Small but unique, the inn is believed to have been founded around 1789, when it was called the Harmonious Coach House. At that time, Niagara-on-the-Lake was called Newark, and was destined to become the first capital of Upper Canada. Newark was the first place in the world to abolish slavery Legislators celebrated the passing of their innovative new law with dinner at the inn.

All the guest bedrooms are furnished in simple colonial style. Besides a wealth of beams, they feature four-poster canopy beds. But modern additions mean they also have private bathrooms and color TV Because the inn is so popular, advance reservations are advised. Room rates (particularly inexpensive in winter) do not include breakfast, but this is available on request.

The restaurant offers fine dining at reasonable prices. The nerve center of the inn is the English Pub, running across the front of the building and popular with residents and locals alike. The pub has a wide selection of ales and draft beers and also serves a variety of hearty snacks. A relatively recent addition is the Shaw Wine Bar, featuring fine Niagara wines.

Niagara-on-the-Lake has its own summer Shaw Theater festival. It is a charming little town, full of tempting craft shops and good restaurants. Niagara Falls is only a short drive away, and because you are on the Canadian side of the border, you?ll see the vast Horseshoe Falls close up. Especially recommended: the boat trip to the foot of the falls on the Maid of the Mist.

The ghost at the Olde Angel Inn is Captain Swayre, a local militiaman, who was either killed in action or else died of his wounds after hiding in the basement of the inn during the War of 1812. The Americans burned down the hotel to find him.

In the ground floor, English pub-style bar, townsfolk will tell you the tramp of soldiery can still be heard coming from the cellars. While you are quite welcome to pop down and see if there?s anyone there, they?d rather not join you, thanks very much.

Several people have even seen the captain, complete with blue frock coat and white trousers wearing a wig Seances held at the inn have confirmed the captain?s presence. When a reenactment of the local battle between English (and Canadian) soldiers and their American opponents was performed in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a member of the inn?s staff went down to the cellars afterward and returned upstairs to report that ?bne of them is still walking about down there.? An immediate investigation of the cellars showed them to be quite empty.

Innkeepers Peter and Diane Ling take a prosaic view of their intangible guest and whether or not he exists. But when the Lings took over the inn, and Peter was sleeping there alone, he brought with him their favorite lucky horseshoe. He was awakened by the sound of a loud crash and found the heavy iron horseshoe had been torn from the wall and hurled down in front of the front door. Perhaps the distinctly unlucky Captain Swayze didn?t care for the good-luck charm.

When Peter Ling first heard the stories about Captain Swayze, he was silly enough to say laughingly ?I?d like to meet this ghost.? Next day an old newspaper with headlines detailing the ghostly goings-on appeared on the doorstep.

Perhaps that could be attributed to a human hand. Less easily explained is the evidence of tourism executive Duncan Ross, a provincial government official. Says Ross (and remember, his job is attracting visitors-many of them Americans-to Ontario), ?Captain Swayze doesn?t like Americans. If anyone goes into the inn with an American flag on his jacket, or anything like that identifying him as an American, glasses start falling off shelves.?

All that trouble over the forty-ninth parallel almost two hundred years ago and things still aren?t settled. At least, not down in the cellars of the Olde Angel Inn. But such ?local difficulties? apart, the bar of the Olde Angel Inn is as pleasant and atmospheric a refreshment stop as any in Ontario.

Every Soul is a celestial Venus to every other soul...Love is our highest word, and the synonym of God. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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