A rumour has swirled through Toronto for decades – the Hockey Hall of Fame is haunted!
Dorothea Mae Elliott was just 19 years of age in 1953 and working at the Bank of Montreal at the corner of Yonge and Front Streets, now the home of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Co-workers described the young lady as “full of life and always smiling,” “the life of the party; the most popular girl in the bank” and “a beautiful girl, tall and buxom” who resembled actress Rita Hayworth.
But something was troubling Dorothea.
On March 11, 1953, the young lady, who lived with her married sister, Helen Myers, arrived at the bank before 8:00AM. “This was much earlier than she was expected to be in,” explained Len Redwood, the bank’s longtime messenger. Kidded by her co-workers at being in so early, Dorothea simply shrugged and smiled. Doreen Bracken, a co-worker, recalled Dorothea wearing a blue-knitted dress, looking “distressed and dishevelled.” Redwood added, “She looked pretty rough. Probably had a night out.”
That morning, Dorothea went upstairs to the women’s washroom, and seemed to stay there for some time. Redwood recounted that she came downstairs for a moment, and then returned to the second floor. A co-worker, Zeta Rushbrook, went upstairs to the second floor washroom just after 9 o’clock and rushed, screaming, to the balcony that overlooked the main floor of the bank. Len Redwood hurtled the stairs, only to discover Dorothea’s body, slumped in a Windsor chair.
Miss Elliott had quietly taken the bank’s .38 calibre revolver, hidden in a drawer in case of incident, upstairs to the washroom, where she shot herself in the head. Len Redwood and an ambulance attendant carried Dorothea, mortally wounded, down the stairs to an ambulance. “We didn’t hear a shot,” remembered Doreen Bracken.
Dorothea Mae Elliott died of her wounds 22 hours later at St. Michael’s Hospital. “Doctors were amazed she had lived so long,” reported the Toronto Daily Star.
The Toronto Telegram reported that the “attractive young brunette may have been despondent over a love affair.” The Star announced her death the next day, surmising that loneliness was the cause, as her boyfriend had left Toronto on the weekend “to take a job on the boats.” Her co-workers knew the real story. They reported that Dorothea was having an affair with the branch manager, a married man, who maintained an apartment on the second floor of the bank.
Since that date, strange occurrences had been reported with some regularity in the bank building, now home to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Lights flicking on, then off. Doors and windows opening and closing without anyone around. Faint moans and echoes emanating from empty areas of the attraction. “We all felt something like there was someone watching us, but you couldn’t see them,” Mr. Redwood recalled at that time. The remaining female staff members had even refused to use the second-floor washroom, and the bank was forced to build one in the basement. The cleaning staff claimed they heard unusual noises after dark. It took some time, but eventually, the uneasiness settled down. “Sometimes I got kind of edgy, but most of the time I didn’t worry about it,” shrugged Redwood. “I guess you get kind of used to it.”
And yet, Dorothea continues to remind persons in the Hockey Hall of Fame that she is omnipresent. Unusual occurrences like footsteps heard in the empty Great Hall, the flickering lights, an eerie presence that can’t be explained are all attributed to the ghost of the Hall — Dorothea Mae Elliott.