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Kinsmen Park Saskatchewan | 28th St Jail and Hangings

Kinsmen Park has Mature trees, playgrounds, and water parks.  Also, violence, hangings and ghosts.  Now that’s a park!  The site of a brutal prison now a park where the little kiddies play.  Featuring dark history of two hanged men.

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Hangings | Hoo Sam Murder | Murderous Mountie

Kinsmen Park is Haunted - Hangings and Ghosts in a Park

by Ghost Guide Daniel – – Kinsmen is a large park in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  A city with over 30,000 people getting to enjoy nice walks among the mature trees. 

A playground and water park for the kids.  Squirrels freely running about seeking nuts. And also… a history of violence and hangings!

This was the site of the 28th Street Jail.  A surprisingly notorious prison for a small town in the lesser-known province of Canada.

Haunted Kinsmen Park - 28th Street Jail
28th Street Jail, once on site of Kinsmen Park

If seeking reasons for a haunting, Kinsmen Park has them.  As the jail hosted multiple hangings.

Canadian Hangings

Canada hanged people until 1962.  The last two men were in Toronto.  Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas.  Both accused murderers.  Fell to the noose inside the city’s Don Jail, featuring in the last Ghost History main show.  It’s worth a listen… if I do say so myself.

Canada had public hangings too.  However, they fell out of style in the 1800s.  Moving into private local city jails.  Witnesses were officials, along with family of the victim(s) and condemned.

By the 1960’s most Canadians hated the barbaric practice. As many demonstrators picketed outside the Don for hours before Turpin and Lucas.  Calling officials “Murderers” and “Killers”. 

For fairness, the last woman to hang was Marguerite Pitre.  1953 in Montreal, Quebec.  Was for taking part in the bombing of an airplane in 1949.  Caused the deaths of 23 people.  Done to collect insurance money.

Haunted Kinsmen Park - Last woman to hang in Canada was Marguerite Pitre.
Last woman to hang in Canada was Marguerite Pitre

Former Prime Ministers Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau fought to pass a Bill to get the ball rolling on abolishing the Death Penalty.  Dragged on, ending in 1998 with the passing of Bill C-25.  All death sentences replaced with life in prison.

Now, back to Saskatchewan…

Hoo Sam the Murderer

One man to hang on the site of Kinsmen Park was Hoo Sam.  A Chinese immigrant who came over in 1900.  He’d make it too, only 9 years later getting money to open a restaurant in Downtown Prince Albert.  Did this with an associate named Mark Yuen.

The friendship faltered when Hoo Sam accused Mark of skimming money from the restaurant. 

The old, “… one for Hoo, one for me…” sorry, I suck!

Hoo Sam bought a gun.  Confronting his partner in a back alley behind the restaurant.  The conversation went south and ended with a bullet. 

An employee in a nearby shop heard the gun go off.  Looked outside to see Hoo Sam walking towards him.  The gun held down at his side. 

Seeing the witness, Sam raised the gun as the employee ran off.  Chasing the man down 10th Street, firing and missing.  Caught up at the old City Hall building on Central Avenue.  The employee was shot on the steps, just as a brave bystander jumped in and restrained Sam. 

The employee survived and testified against Hoo Sam.  Who was found guilty and eventually hanged at Kinsmen in 1912.

Afterwards, nobody claimed his body. 

So, as was the policy, Hoo Sam was buried beside the jail.  An area now part of Kinsmen Park!  He’s still there.

Many think the energy in the park is because of Sam.  Or maybe not, because he’s said to haunt the old restaurant building at 1008 1st Avenue West. 

Haunted Kinsmen Park - Site of Hoo Sam's restaurant
Site of Hoo Sam’s restaurant, witnesses to the ghost

One-time occupant, The Catholic Family Services attested to it.  Saying it was normal to hear footsteps, and have doors slam on their own.

Murderous Mountie

John Wilson was a former member of the North-West Mounted Police before being hanged at the 28th Street Jail in 1923. 

Haunted Kinsmen Park - John Wilson and Mistress Jessie.
John Wilson and Mistress Jessie

The once responsible guard of the Canadian way fell off just before coming to Canada from his home in Scotland.  Leaving his pregnant wife, Polly, and his first child behind.  This was after being accused of stealing money from his brother-in-law to pay off his actual brother’s debts.  Go figure. 

He joined the military, wanting to do his service in World War 1.  But was rejected.  Leading him to service with the Mounted Police.

Then he got sick with TB.  Tuberculosis, a disease of the lungs claiming thousands back in the early 1900’s. 

He came under the care of a woman named Jessie.  She was a nurse working at the hospital.  Helped bring him back to health as John fell in love.

Here’s what I’d assume before researching on.  John divorced his wife and married his mistress. 

Wrong!  Instead, he waited for Polly to arrive in Canada.  Dreading the idea of asking Polly, his wife of 10 years, for a divorce.  But also, was unable to move on while she was still around. 

John Wilson Murders his Wife

What’s the solution?  John Wilson shot her in the head.  Driving the body to a remote part of a small town called Waldheim, about an hour outside Prince Albert.  Then burning his car to hide evidence. 

2 days later he arrived to marry his mistress, Jessie.  Showing up late for the wedding and acting strange. 

Taking a ring from his pocket, which only 2 days before was pried off his death wife’s hand. 

The reverend coming to the line, “… till death do you part”, and John seemed nervous.

In November of 1918, they arrested him for murder.  During the trial he tried committing suicide.  Maybe done as a reason to plead insanity and avoid the death penalty.  It didn’t work.

Soon after Polly’s body was dug up and John was convicted.  They hanged him in 1923 at the Jail. 

His body was claimed and taken to South Hill Cemetery.

Haunted Kinsmen Park - Grave of John Wilson
Haunted Kinsmen Park – Grave of John Wilson

Remains the first and only time a Mountie was hanged in Canadian history.

Ghostly Experience

Always hard to get specific stories from people who’ve experienced something in the park.  Partly because it’s outdoors, and many make jokes around it being haunted.

As proven by a couple of Facebook replies I found…

  • “People mistaken all the drunks that sleep there for ghosts er what?”
  • “It’s haunted because of all the crackheads that appear out of nowhere asking for a dollar and disappear right in front of your eyes.”

Being outdoors always makes the experience hard.  Surrounded by folks, and no confined space to allow for tools to pick up sound.  Much natural dust and bugs to create orbs. 

If ever taking a night stroll through Kinsmen Park, you may hear the past coming back from the dead. 

Very common for folks to hear disembodied groans and voices.  Leftover from those forced to stay inside the jail’s walls.

And even though the ghostly experiences are limited to such general statements like that… the dark history is sound and real.

I had no doubt when hearing this park is considered one of the most haunted places in Saskatchewan.  There really should be a trophy.

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