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Keg Mansion in Toronto | The Legend and Ghost of Lillian’s Maid

Ghost Guide Daniel – – Lillian was the only daughter of Hart Massey. Educated at the advanced Wesleyan Woman’s College in Hamilton (where the Royal Connaught is today). 

She died in 1915. While living in today’s Keg Mansion house. Only 6 years after her husband. According to the Legend, the tragedy of Lillian’s Maid happened just after her death.

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LEGEND | GHOST | HISTORY

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Legend of Lillian’s Maid

Lillian Massey was beloved by her staff inside the Keg Mansion. So much so, it created this legend.

Did one of her maids take her mistress’s death too hard?

Legendary Stories

The maid was downstairs as a dying Lillian lay in her bed. Tension hung over the house, finally released when the doctor called out, “She’s gone”.

The maid learned of Lillian’s passing, and was witnessed walking out to the main hall. Up the stairs to the oval vestibule.

It’s a striking feature today, near the 2nd floor washrooms. A hole in the floor railed off, looking down to the main hall and grand staircase.

Also, near the very haunted woman’s restroom.

Unseen, the maid had brought in a length of rope. Fashioned a noose, wrapping one end to the wood railing. Hoasting herself up and over the side.

House staff found her swinging above the foyer, right near the grand staircase.

Most believe her death was due to grief. 

Hear about he Ghosts of the Keg Mansion

But there’s another version to this story. Given by those who can’t answer the question, “Why did the maid love Lillian so much as to take her life?”

They’ve said the maid was having a secret affair. With one of the Massey men, who was believed to be happily married.

For unknown reasons, the maid feared the secret would be exposed after Lillian’s death.

Please note, there’s no historical proof for either version of this legend.

The Maid’s Ghost

Do you trust the legend? Don’t matter. Because too many now believe Lillian’s Maid is the resident ghost of the Keg Mansion.

Maybe from history. Or built up energy from strong belief. So many witnesses to the maid’s ghost. Including Keg staff locking up at night.

Common Experience

Walking to secure the front door after a long night of serving customers. Some staff see movement from the corner of their eyes. Spinning towards the grand staircase.

They call it a “glimpse”.

A quick scene enough to terrify the toughest of employees. Too quick to frighten, but always remembered.

What did they see? A woman hanging down from the second floor. Swinging slowly on her noose. And then, she’s gone.

The woman only seen by the grand staircase. No where else in the Keg Mansion. And always hanging.

History of the Keg Mansion

Jarvis Street, the pinnacle of Victorian Toronto high society.  Where families of the city’s rich escaped their busy lives. Getting away from work, but remaining in the city they built.

Jarvis lined with strong monuments.  Unique mansions never copied… and none so impressive as the Keg Mansion.

Built for McMaster

They built the house in 1867 for Arthur McMaster. This last name is familiar to locals. It’s the same family who founded McMaster University, now located in Hamilton

The University started in Toronto in the current day building now used by The Royal Conservatory of Music. They moved to Hamilton to expand, taking over land in the old Westdale neighbourhood. 

Arthur was nephew of university founder, William McMaster.

Keg Mansion - Current Day
Current Day

Bought by Massey Family

In 1880, Hart Massey bought the house.  Hart was from Toronto. Left the city briefly, moving to Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Hart’s daughter Lillian Massey eventually took over the house and ran all family interests. 

At the time, a woman running her prominent family was rare. That didn’t matter to the Massey’s, or any of their family or friends.

Because, Lillian demanded (and deserved) respect.

Lillian Massey, matriarch of family
Lillian Massey Portrait

She renamed the house Euclid Hall after their old street in Cleveland.

The Massey’s are (arguably) the most prominent family in Toronto history.  Hart was an industrialist who founded many new buildings. Including structures for the University of Toronto. And, of course, Canada’s first ever concert hall named after them… Massey Hall.

Toronto Ghost Walks - Massey Hall

The Massey Grandson’s

Grandson’s Vincent and Raymond were also famous. But in very opposite ways.

Vincent Massey became the Governor General of Canada in 1952. Well known for helping to establish the National Library of Canada and the Canada Council of the Arts.

And Raymond Massey was an actor.

Oscar Nominated Actor

Raymond was known for great roles in Hollywood. Got the Oscar nod in 1940 for playing Abe Lincoln in “Abe Lincoln in Illinois”. 

A Canadian playing Lincoln! This outraged Americans. Who were quickly silenced by his amazing performance.

Someone once said,

“Raymond wouldn’t feel his Lincoln impersonation is complete until getting assassinated”

Someone
Raymond Massey as Abraham Lincoln
Raymond Massey as Abe Lincoln

Timeline of House History

After the Massey’s, Euclid Hall (aka Keg Mansion) was…

  • Given to the Victoria College in 1915 as the first home of radio station CFRB (now called Newstalk 1010)
  • Made into an art gallery
  • Transformed into a restaurant
  • And finally, bought by The Keg

The Keg Restaurant bought the house at 515 Jarvis Street in 1976. 

Are you not from Canada – – The Keg is a steakhouse. And is known for re-purposing historic buildings as unique dining spaces.

Like the mansion in Toronto and an old factory in St. Catharines, Ontario.

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