Students learned that ghosts, electroshock therapy, and lobotomies are all a part of the dark past of Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus while on the Dickens Christmas and Historic Ghost Tour Monday.
The tour gave Humber students a look at the history of the Lakeshore Campus dating back to when the grounds were used as an insane asylum. The festive and spooky event was planned by students in Humber’s post graduate event management program to raise money for the Children’s Book Bank.
“We started planning this at the beginning of October,” Melanie Baird, an event planning student, said. “We learned that preparation is everything.”
The tour allows students to travel through the underground tunnels, normally off limits to students, that connect the cottages on the Lakeshore campus. The tour is hosted by Steve Bang, a business professor at Humber, who started doing ghost tours three years ago soon after he started teaching full time at Humber.
“I’ve always been interested in history” Bang said. “I came down here and saw how beautiful and historic it was. I got dared to do a tour [and] it just ballooned from there.”
Bang now does roughly 50 tours a year for Humber, all while wearing a cape and top hat.
“It’s a lot of fun and I get to meet a lot of wonderful people,” Bang said.
The Lakeshore Asylum opened in 1889 and housed people with mental disorders that were rejected by society. The asylum remained open until 1979 and was the site of over 3,000 deaths. The bodies were buried at Horner and Evans but some still think the Lakeshore grounds are haunted.
“If you talk to any of the cleaning staff a lot of them will tell you they have ghosts here,” Bang said. “I haven’t personally [seen any ghosts].”
The most interesting part of the tour was when it passed the closed off G building, closed down because of asbestos that Humber discovered when it purchased the property. It was where patients underwent radical procedures such as electroshock therapy, insulin therapy and frontal lobotomies. There are plans to clean and renovate the G building in the next two years.
Lindsay Elliott a fellow post grad event management student, was impressed by her colleagues work.
“It is cool because you get to see a part of the campus that you don’t usually get to see,” Elliott said. “I really liked seeing the history of the buildings.”
“I would love it if we were able to use the tunnels,” Amanda Soriano, a second year student in the advanced public relations program, said.