Whether or not you believe in ghosts and the paranormal, Nadine Bailey of Edmonton Ghost Tours has something for you. She’s a storyteller, producer, tour guide, performer, podcaster, writer, and researcher—tackling local history and true crimes with a haunted twist.
When Nadine Bailey first strolled through Old Strathcona looking for ghost stories, she had no idea she’d be talking about it as a popular
founding tour over 15 years later. “I wanted it to be 100% authentic, and all of my stories come from research,” says Bailey. “But some of my best stories come from the people who work in the area because originally, in the beginning, I very naively went around to the businesses and knocked on the door—and people told me their stories.”
Her self-labelled skeptical nature has made her thorough over the years, with her research including local folklore, personal accounts, newspaper archives, and historical records. Edmonton Ghost Tours’ signature tour of Old Strathcona includes her first big scoop, uncovered on that door-knocking expedition when theatre employees told her about the resident ghost. “Nothing had yet been documented about the story of the Princess Theatre and the Woman in White,” says Bailey, who shares the sad details in the first episode of her new podcast as well.
Like many others during the COVID-19 shutdowns, Bailey found new ways to keep busy—and like others, that was with podcasting. “I had always wanted to podcast. It’s one of those things where I’ve done a lot of writing, slowly getting my book together, and when I unearth these stories, I tell them on my tour,” explains Bailey. “Then what happens is someone comes on the tour, and then they end up in other people’s books… I always kicked myself for that.” Now, Bailey is able to share her discoveries with the world. Launched in May 2021, Haunted Canada is starting to unearth local legends, ghost stories, historical hauntings, and true crimes from across the country, though the first episodes focus on stories from across Alberta. The new medium lets Bailey branch out from Edmonton, though she is still finding new ways to discover and share locally.
A historical walking tour of Mount Pleasant Cemetery, a hilltop burial place on the southside since the 1880s, is another new project of Bailey’s for 2021. While it’s part of the Edmonton Ghost Tours’ roster, she stresses that the tour is purely historic and completely respectful. “It’s not a ghost tour. It’s a historical tour to learn about the people who are buried there, learn about the immigrants who came to Canada, the historians, the founders, some of the murderers—the great stories of the people who are buried in that cemetery,” shares Bailey. “The stories that I’ve dug up have been fascinating.”
Edmonton Ghost Tours generally run from spring until early November, breaking for the colder months, with year-round opportunities to book a private tour. The lineup includes the Old Strathcona Ghost Tour, U of A History & Haunted Hike, Haunted Pub Tour, Haunted Trolley Tour, and the new Historical Walking Tour of Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Learning something new doesn’t have to be boring—or scary.
This article originally appeared in The Info Edmonton Seasonal Guide. Our November-December-January issue is now available at newsstands across Edmonton!